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When the ice starts coming off in spring, is it better to wait for the water temp to get up around 50 degrees or better? Or is it better to go out as soon as you can. At what point or temp do Bluegills start spawning? What conditions should we start looking for, for the spawn to begin?

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I believe bluegills begin to spawn when the water temp. is around 70 deg. When I lived in Ind. years ago that was around end of may, or first of june. Florida was Feb. and Tenn. is in May. I found that the fish in Percy Priest spawn almost all summer though. I have caught females in August that still had eggs they hadn't laid yet. There is a rocky mound in shallow water off the marina that always seems to be full of beds. Its no surprise the gills are so prolific on this lake. There are so many I believe they are somewhat stunted as it's hard to get any bigger than about 8". As for when to start fishing, if you can get on the lake, it's time to fish. Since my lake gets no ice, I fish all year. The biggest factor is just wind or ice on the ramp.
Wow, 70 degrees I would have thought a lot less. But I guess that is why they move to the shallows. Finding eggs in them all summer makes since, from what I have learned they spawn once a month. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but unless they are a hybread they spawn on a monthly cycle, and the hybread's is around 20% less.
Hey Mark, I live in central Maryland where we usually do not get ice, but some cold years we do. I have caught big bluegills in Jan, Feb with some ice cover on the ponds and some open water available. We have caught them up to 11 3/4 in in mid Jan in open water with 38 Degree water temps and skim ice around the shorelines. Don't be afraid to 'ice fish without the ice' by suspending tiny jigs below sensitive Thill Waggler floats near the bottom with maggots or Gulp! baits as soon as the ice comes off. Contrary to what evry body may think, I actually catch more bluegills in excess of 10 in in mid-winter, ice or no ice, than at any other time of the year. Try it! Go to the photos in my page and you will see several big fish caught in harsh, winter conditions but with open water. Good Luck!
i would think the end of april would be the earliest start, depending on where the pond is
Well, I fish whenever my sanity requires it ! If you wait for the "optimum" time and place, well, when is that ? I should take my own advice. steve b
My area in northern Illinois that most bluegills spawning is from late May until end of June! I saw bluegills nests in early July in the upper Michigan.
Early spring that I would fish a small and shallow pond because its warmer water than large lake. Northwest section of lake is where I like to start to fish in the late afternoon. That section get a lot of heat from the Sun! Shallow soft bottom bay close to deepwater is a good place in early spring! I fished in Florida in the late of March and most bluegills already spawned!
You can catch big bluegills all year around!
As soon as the north bank loses ice, you can catch 'em. Stealth is neccessary as they are skittish. I usually use a mini shy bite float early season, switching to quills and wagglers later on. Ice may come back on and then off again, making location an easy find, every time the ice comes back off. I've been doing some catching this past week, with only a 15 - 20 foot wide strip of open water. They are there to get warm and feed on other things getting warmed. So--don't wait, go now. My observations show me that the spawn is connected to the full moon periods. The largest fish in the system spawn first and often deeper. I believe the temp, measured at the actual spawning site can vary greatly. I believe the photo period and moon phase can trump temps. Here in central and southern IN, I have seen spawning activity as early as March (mid to late month full moon period). The best spawn is usually in April and conflicts with chasing those wild turkies. I also see spawning in may, june, july and august. A september spawn would not surprise me. Like many others, I have changed my ways and don't attack the spawners anymore. This a good time to put on your polarized glasses and see what size and how many fish are in that body of water. I like to ambush them before they get to the beds and find them after they leave. Bed fishing can be a good management tool to control populations in smaller bodies of water, and I couldn't fault the guy who is desperate to feed his family in these challenging economic times. There are always exceptions.

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