Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

     Using the analogy that the sport of  Bluegill Fishing is similar to Baseball... we are in the off season and the ice will be off the lakes and opening day is coming up soon. you've probably made some adjustments to your tackle... traded some stuff and added some improvements. Maybe...possibly hitting the lake first and doing some scouting...surely something as important as this you must have a solid game plan. whats your opening day of BlueGill season going to be like?

Im first:

During the off season ive upgraded my drop shot and jigging rigs spinning reels from Lews to Shimanos…. I’ve had the Lew’s now for over three years and the bail springs fail continuously for me. Hopefully the Shimano s will prove more durable. Ive also made some improvement in my live well by increasing its capacity to hold true trophy fish and keep them alive and healthy.

I plan on hitting a trophy lake just north of me. The initial look at the mapping available ive selected large expanses of reedy sandy flats that I know should be very good for possible spring spawning sites. The plan includes an initial scouting trip as soon as the ice clears to check out the breaks along this flat and develop a detailed map with my sonar. Hopefully I’ll be able to spot some schools of fish which would probably be crappie as well as gills. I’ll have my dropshot rig as well as a jigging rod to test and identify these fish.

At this point I’ll be marking these fish on the sonar and developing a pattern of waypoints recorded on the sonar and mark them as gills or crappie etc. I will then take this data home, develop the map through Insight Genesis study it and set a fishing date with a good forecast of weather on a warming trend.at that time the water warms pretty quickly into the mid 50's.

On this trip I’ll be taking some ultra light jigging rods as well as a slip bobber rig and some drop shot rigs with different weight setups. Bait will include night crawlers, waxies and gulp products highlighting Pink Gulp Maggots. Starting the trip early hopefully ill be able to last till dusk.

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Carl, I would love to see that roll cast in action. Can you roll it under cypress trees? I am new to the fly game and the roll cast gave me fits in the beginning with a regular fly. I can' t imagine doing it with a quill and bait. I am starting to get better at it and I would rather roll cast than make an overhead cast. It seems to take a lot less energy and time. I don' t want to hijack the thread but when are you guys going back to Reelfoot?

hahahaha Maurice;;  yes sir;; i can roll cast under a tree;; or;; if needed;; make it go side ways to cast under a boat dock  or a tree limb!  it takes years to get the hang of that one tho!!  you will not learn it in a single season!!  practise- practise- practise!!  if you know the general way to roll cast;; just keep at it is all i can say;;  gradually you get better and better!!  judging distance is a real key to it to!!  but also try to understand-- i been fly fishing;; for around 30 or more years!  my Uncle;; is the one that got me into fly fishing;; back in the 60;s!!  and with a quill float!!  all casting-- is done with the wrist-- dont over power it!!  load the rod ;; cast the line!!

Thanks Carl. I will definitely stay after it.

So would it be an accurate assessment that to many, opening day equates to the BG spawn, or perhaps pre-spawn?

Opening day for me equates to a couple weeks of warming weather during the day and the temps at night reaching into the mid or upper 50s. I don' t care what the warming temp during the day really is. 50 is warmer than 40 and 60 is warmer than 50. You get the idea. I am more concerned with the nighttime temps being above 50 for a couple of weeks. That is when I get excited because the fish will be on the verge of getting active. Sometimes this takes place toward the middle or end of March. Sometimes it happens in April. I just keep an eye on the weather and start out fishing along the north shore when it happens. It usually works for me.

im really going to hit it early this year Tony... as soon as the ice leaves i'm going mapping and then the first warming trend im hitting them hard ... Ive noticed it doesn't take much to get these waters into the fifties.

our spawn for gills starts late may early june. hopefully ill be on the prespawn as they are bulking up

Opening day for me is whenever I can get out for the first open water outing. I enjoy ice fishing, but I really look forward to open water fishing. Once the ice is off and I can find time I'll be wetting a line. It'll probably start either at the family pond or a local water around school in SE Ohio, depending on whether I'm home for a weekend when the ice melts.

hey guys;; here something to think about!!  if there is a power plant close to you-- there will be a in-take to the plant-- it also-- makes the water a few degrees warmer !!  usually about 5 or so degrees warmer than any other area !! so;; generally-- fish are attracted to it!!  if your lucky enough-- there might be a small channel leading up to it--  fishing  right at the opening;; produces really good,  drop shotting;;  bottom bouncing;; best tactic  !!

we have nuke plants here carl that have cooling lakes.they open in march.water temps can be in the 70s near dis charge.since they started selling power out of state the water gets over 100 in the summer so the fishing went from world class to so so the last 10 years.many species cant survive the high temps in the summer and the ones that do get so stressed that a bass that should way 8=9 lbs only way five and are long and skinny.they were a lot of fun and an early start to the season.was great times while they lasted

thats a good tip Carl... read about them but never actually fished one. have you had any good experiences?

i wish we had a neighborhood nuke with a warm water discharge up here... maybe the ice would only be 10" thick

Jim  thats a problem about those nuke plants;; at peak times-- the water seems to boil for sure!   have you checked surrounding area water??  somewhere  should be a cooling point;; makes for some better fishing.  i use to work at nuke plants around the country ( including  braidwood; lasalle; cant think of the other two there i worked at tho right now in Ill but generally-- power plants create warmer water always!!  and if not over fished;; will give good fishing  for many years. and yes slip stinker;  i have caught many-- different types of fish close to them!!  sauger;; stripe; bass; catfish; blue gills; walleye.  close to my home;; is the Gallatin  Steam Plant;; fished close to it for many years in cool weather!!

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