On March 1st, the first cooling lake in Illinois will open to fishing. All Winter I have been thinking about an article I read here (but can't find anymore) about spoon fishing for bluegills. I'm ready to go out and buy some (spoons) but I need to know if it is worth the trouble since I mainly fish from shore. Can anyone with bluegill spoon fishing expertise give any helpful advice ?
Hey Josh...it may be best to learn the spoon gig at a local pond or water that has an abundance of gills and some sizable fish to boot. It's a good idea to tip the spoons with the preffered bait of the region and be willing to stick with it, even if the old reliable tactics are working for other anglers. And you'll catch other stuff, like bass and crappies, right along.
I just bought $30 worth of spoons from overstock. com, didn't feel cheated after the sale. I'm stocking up because I'm sure to lose a few before I get the technique correct and score some fish. Chomping at the bits to get out there 3/1, to see what happens. Again, I'll be fishing from the shore so that does present a challenge. I'm up for it, I will of course have the slip bobber as back-up. Any tips from the big-guys?
Joe - Which cooling lake are we going to? I am up for some shore fishing.
I have never fished the cooling lakes but have friends who do fish them. I understand that it can get windy out on those lakes so depending on your slip bobber, we will have better setups for you. I should have some of the new ground bait with me if all goes right.
What are we going to catch there? Can you email me a link to that cooling lake so I can start making plans?
Thank you for the update!
Nice to have some fish on the line I bet.
My wife is just out of day surgery - I am out of action for a couple of days... will have to go next weekend if I can't get out Saturday.
The walk to the shore fishing is long at Braidwood huh? Is it muddy - or will it be muddy?
I went to the opening as intended, kind of cold that morning. I wasn't able to cast any spoons because of the high winds blowing toward shore. I changed equipment and went with an adjusting float tipped with a bee moth on the hook. I hooked a nice gill on the first cast (7 in) then the small catfish took over. Those small cats were so persistent at hitting the falling bait that I finally gave up (after three hours) with unhooking and releasing them with few opps to catch gills I quit, and went home with five bluegills worth keeping. A Good Day !
I fished the same spot but about 30 yards down the rock dam.
A lot of miniature catfish and a few gills. I also had a massive school of mini shiners in front of me. They were the things hitting your bait on the way down.
I ended up hooking about 6 of those shiners:
I think if we want bigger cats on this water, we need to go with baits that won't fit in the small cats mouth (and possibly fish on another end)...
Have you ever fished at the other side? How far down the rock dam did you fish? The day got windy and the waves were tough to fish. In the picture you posted above - did you go to the right or did you head down the dam?
I want to fish there this week early in the morning before it gets wavy. I fished the late afternoon and there were some 2 foot waves from the bass boats with steady foot waves. That water was HOT! Next time I am bringing some scrambled eggs in a ziplock so I can cook them.
I want to find the East shore so that the waves aren't so bad.. Have you been back since? My 4 hours there got me 48 fish. I know I can do better there but those small channel cats were a pain in the rumpus.
Pain in the rumpus for sure. The whole while I was thinking that if I were after catfish as my desired catch, not one would be biting ! So anyway, I went to the right down about 50 yards into the tall grasses. Those tall grasses really make a difference when the wind is blowing hard. Yes, I have fished the other side (East) down the road by the High School and graveyard, both sides can be quite windy because of the size of the lake.
I do intend to go back one day this week on a sunny day so I can warm myself as I fish.
Oh yea, I put together a 10ft rod combo to see what I might experience in the casting of a slip bobber for distance and adjusting for depth as I read you telling a person about that method. I will report on what happened.
The surface temperature rose to 68 degrees there- it is a Nuclear Power Plant cooling lake.
I was there yesterday and caught 123 fish - that's the good news.
I am sad to say this lake is mismanaged and the stocking program there is all based on one species - the bass. It is obvious to me when there are a billion shiners in front of me- (I know because I hooked around 35 of them)- that they are stocking this bait fish for their bass or they stocked way too many of these fish. They also appear to have been stocking channel catfish because I caught 62 miniature channel catfish. My hands are all cut up from unhooking these freaks. I don't know how many nice bluegills are there because I couldn't keep my bait in the water long enough to get it in front of the gills I caught 5 nice gills and a few small ones but I couldn't sustain a bluegill bite. The shiners were batting my bait around like a volleyball. If I return to that lake I will head down the grassy trail next time with a longer telescopic pole.
Joe- the water was well over 12 feet just 15 feet out off the rocks.
I would have rigged it slip float had I known how deep it was.
The coolest thing I had going was I was hooking and landing shiners. I then rigged them up on a float an caught a decent bass and the two largest cats on the day. Small-to-medium shiners is the way to go there on the rocks.
I also saw a Korean lady with a large rectangular cooler which I helped fill to the top with channel cats. She was well on her way without me helping. She had a huge son so she was able to lift that cooler out of those rocks to her truck.
Joe, most of my spring spoon fishing begins when surface temps rise above 47 degrees...Northern shorelines with available downed timber always seem to draw in the earliest panfish action....see my video "spoons" for a how to on spoon fishing.