Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

From here on in, there's likely to be a certain amount of good-natured bantering going on between the members of BBG, regarding the sport of ice fishing. And while I would guess that the majority of folks here are not active on the hardwater, there are still a few diehard ice heads among us.

I've been thinking a lot lately, about what it is that drives a person to take up ice fishing. And while I can't speak for anyone else here, I do believe that I have isolated a few components that make the experience special for me.

I think the biggest thing, for me, is the time factor. I'm self-employed, have been for years, and I work a lot during the warmer months. A 55 hr, six day workweek is the norm, with many weeks exceeding that number. There are no vacation days, sick days, personal days,or paid holidays. As a sole proprietor, if I'm not there I'm losing money. In addition, like most of us I have chores and projects outside of work. This year, I finished my folks' cabin, built a fish cleaning station, cut all the firewood for three families, and totally revamped the sugarhouse for maple syrup season. And that doesn't include the regular chores such as mowing, brushcutting, clearing dams, etc.

I don't list this stuff hoping for pity, as a great deal of it is self-inflicted. I'm merely saying that I don't have a lot of free time for fishing during the warmer months. And to be honest, my ponds and my fish are showing it. They both need my attention.

But the cold months are another story. My business is seasonal, so I can reduce my hours. All of the summer projects are finished, (hopefully), there is no brush or grass to mow, and things slow down.

I'm not finished yet this year, but I can see the end of the tunnel....just a little more and I'll be done.

So for me, ice fishing means having the time to simply go fishing, without feeling guilty about it, or thinking my time might be better spent accomplishing something more material. There is a lot more to it of course, and as I get time I will add to this discussion by listing the other qualities that attract me to the hard water lifestyle. In the meantime, if anyone would like to share what they enjoy, or do not enjoy about ice fishing feel free to do so....I would enjoy reading it.

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Good call on the auger, Adam.

There's a certain pucker factor associated with swinging an axe or a maul, at the plate glass surface that's holding you up over 18' of ice cold water.

They say fewer people are fishing now. With all these improvements, that's probably best. Winter is no longer safe for the fish; it's a year round onslaught!

wow i love ice fishing.i have learned a lot about gills and how they react to your baits.early season we fish a shallow lake and sight fish ,its truly amazing at what goes on under you.i was just thinking of ice fishing just the other day as here in northeast ohio the water temp is down to 50 deg and a major cold front is on the way for next week .last year was the earliest i fished in late nov but last year was brutal from start to finish .i guess im just one of those fishnuts who loves to fish year round

I can remember about 10 years ago when, on back-to-back drops in 20 ft of water, I jigged up a 10.75 and a 10.5 inch bluegill from Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. I let out some war whoops that must have awakened everybody in Garret County on that 16 degree morning!

But the party was just starting and at the end of the day I had caught 40 fish including trophy class bluegills, crusher pumpkinseeds to 10 inches, yellow perch to 14 and a couple legal walleyes. To cap it off, at sundown, I caught the largest bluegill I had ever caught in my home 11 1/2 incher that is still my personal best bluegill from any public venues.

Yes indeed...I have a passion for ice fishing!

Ice fishing lies at my core. I have jumped in with both feet. It is an addiction to say the least. To ice a stud gill or a bull redear is an adrenaline rush with an ice rod. Getting out on the frozen lake and pinning down a school of Seeds is what us northern ice fisherman do to get through the hard winter. Today's gear just makes it that much better for the thrill of the chase.

Well, since it was -10 this morning and there is 10" of snow on the ground(both way too early even for northern Wisconsin) ice fishing will be not far away. For me however, it will be like new again since I have not ice fished for over 40 years and have not one piece of gear, except an ice spud. So I have lots of purchases to make before I can go fishing for gills on my favorite local lake where I caught them pretty easily in open water.

Here is the gear I will need:

Portable ice shelter that can be pulled by hand(am too long in tooth to brave the elements)

Ice auger


some more ice jigs although have quite a few from open water that will work.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated?

Thanks, Kelly

None I can make except make sure you get some ice spikes and be safe.
4" of ice is minimum safe, you know. 6" would be better.

4 decades away and long in the tooth.... Use that wisdom you've gained.
Lotsa gear is nice. Getting home safe is nicer.

Respect the Ice.

Not to worry here-won't even think of venturing forth until I see people out there with snowmobile or car. Lake is only 100 acres and pretty sheltered. We have not been above freezing here for 2 weeks with the past 4-5 days 10 to minus 10 for lows.

Good news.

In used to live in St. Croix Falls and various points in MN.
I don't envy you but in one thing - you get to go ice fishing.


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