Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

How about it Huskers? I realize that most of us who are lucky enough to stumble onto a big bluegill honey hole keep it as a closely guarded secret. Most of us don't even tell our best friends about them for fear that the word might get out, and all the big fish will be gone before we can return. But isn't that what this site is all about. Talking about bluegills, where and how we catch them, sharing photos, videos and ideas. Well I'll get it started I hope that some of you will join in this topic.
My favorite bluegill spot is Redtail WMA in southeast Nebraska near the small town of Dwight. I grew up only four miles away, so it was not difficult finding time to make the quarter mile hike to the lake. It is a small lake (about 20 acres) with good water quality, moderate weed growth and an excellent population of six to nine inch(with the chance of an actual one pounder) bluegills. There are also big largemouth bass and channel cats in there. My favorite time to fish there is in the late spring early summer period. I will usually arm myself with a three weight fly rod and a small popper or floating spider. There is usually a good ring of weeds around the lake at this time of year and the bluegills are spawning. If fly fishing is not your preferred method for catching bluegills, anglers with light to ultralight spinning gear can do almost as well. Just tie on a small jig or plain hook tipped with a garden worm, peice of night crawler or some sort of powerbait below a slip or fixed bobber and let the good times roll. So there you have it. I gave up my big bluegill husker hotspot. I hope that some of you will do the same.
P.S.
Remenber to use CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) These fish are not an unlimited resource. Keep a few smaller fish for a meal, but let the bigger ones go for someone else to enjoy.

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I heard a lot about Pelican Lake in Nebraska....over 800 acres and shallow! Food is everywhere.....big bluegills! I would love to fish there and maybe someday on my vacation during no moon...I have 10" telescope and look at sky at night. Real dark sky in Nebraska! Bright milky way!
Lower Otay in southern Calfornia, Deep Creek Lake in Maryland and Nelson Lake near Hayward in Wisconsin have some mobster bluegills but maybe not as good as in the past.....we need catch and release big 'gills like release over 50" muskies!

One farmpond near my uncle's home in southern Illinois....about 40 miles from St. Louis bother me a lot! I fished there several times when I am teenage that I am serious bass fishing! Caught and released lot of bass between 16" and 21" but never over 5 lbs! I SHOULD fish there for bluegills but I don't that much! Me stuipd! I never forget I hooked a real big bluegill and I don't see it clear but its like large plate size and the hook came off! That's about 20 years ago. Recently I asked my uncle about that pond but new owner that he don't know him! Maybe I will try to ask a new owner to see if he let me fish!
Two lakes near my home that I can't name it because it get heavy fishing pressure and close to Chicago! Nice 8" to little over 9 inch in May and June out off shore. Large live leafworm at between 8 and 10 feet deep! 9" is big for around Chicago and I always let 7" and larger back to water!

Other good number over 8" to 9.5" is below private lake where my parents live. I guess that lot of food come down to feed the bluegills. Below dam is more like a large pond and average is 6 feet deep with small outlet creek.

Only half acre pond near my parents have some over 9" and lot of weeds! Few people fish there because it look small and lot of weeds! Some bass there to keep bluegills number to stay low!

Best to look for big bluegills is always keep eye on fishing reports, newspapers, outdoor fishing loacation and take your light rod for bass fishing....see if good number of bass and not many small bluegills then big bluegills is possible out in deeper water! I have my notes since 1983 and few big 'gills show up on the same lake several times! When big bluegills go down because people keep it then become forget.....lake can come back in 5 years later...never know....keep your mouth shut! Share with serious blg bluegills fans!
Well, up until last year, It had been Memphis lake by Ashland, but a bad storm roared through and caused a major fish kill, I was on the verge of tears when I went there two days after the storm and I saw loads, and loads of big 9 and 10" gills belly up. I'm going to try and get out to Pelican lake in 09' I've heard wonderful things about it. If I'm fishing with my 3 girls, nothing can beat Jenny Newman lake at Platte River State Park. It's a lake for kids, or those fishing with kids only, total catch and release, loaded with a bunch of small 12" bass that are very willing to bite, big gills, and just a sprinkling of nice big channel cats. That place is a blast!
Yeah I know what you mean man. Memphis was a great bluegill lake. I felt like a little part of me died the day I found out about the fish kill. Hope it bounces back soon.

Great responses lets keep them coming.

Andrew
I absolutely love ALL of the I-80 chain of lakes. Most of them have excellent quality bluegill fishing.

I think the main reason is the general water clarity; Don't forget that bluegill are predators! They sight feed for living animals, whether it be zooplankton, midge larvae, dragonfly nymphs or fathead minnows. Bluegill like to hunt down and eat things that they can see. For that reason, all of the Interstate-80 lakes are great fisheries.

Another reason is the general low pressure on these water bodies. Many of them you can go to on any weekday and have absolutely no competition when bluegill fishing. It's great to be alone on a Wednesday morning, with 10 acres all to yourself. The drone of the 18-wheelers eventually becoming so much background noise--a symphony of tires on concrete with the bluegill as the stage actors, and you the angler as the audience.

The best I-80 lakes are situated between Gothenburg and North Platte. It's worth the time and gas to pay a visit.
I would have to say holmes lake here in lincoln is my favorite place to catch gills. There are some pretty nice bluegills in there, I have caught lots of bluegills up to 8 inches and above.
I usually just use a little 1/32 ounce jighead with a 1 1/2 inch white twistertail grub or I take my fly rod, the will eat just about any fly. I especially like using poppers.
Hey Alex. Do you ever make it over to Wild Wood? There are some nice gills in there, not to mention some of the biggest green sunfish I have ever caught. (see my pics)

Good luck.

Andrew
I have fished wildwood a couple times and only found the small gills... very small gills. you would catch one every cast but they were all dinky... I have heard of lots of nice gills and greensunfish caught out of there but never caught any myself... could yah give me a couple tips to find some bigger gills out there? feel free to send me a PM if you don't want to post on here.

Thanks,
Alex
If you go into the south entrance below the dam. Go to the area west and south of the bridge. Find downed trees or submerged trees in the spring time. Thats where I caught the fish in my pics.

Hope this helps

Andrew
Living in the Nebraska Sandhills it's hard not to appreciate huge bluegill. Pelican Lake is only one of hundreds of these fertile bodies of water. The trick is learning how to locate "Mossy Gill" from these lakes.

Due to excessive summer weed growth throughout entire lakes during the summer, ice fishing is my preferred method for obtaining bull gills in Sandhill Lakes, (or any lake that forms walkable ice for that mater).

Ice fishing requires far less equipment than open water for accessing an entire body of water, but my favorite type of ice fishing is "sight fishing" which requires a portable shelter. Sure a shanty provides protection, but the reason I use one is to darken the sky for peering through an 8 inch hole cut in ice hunting these huge Sandhill gills.


The excitement of watching gills react to a jig less than 3 feet below you, (sometimes just inches under your boot), is more like hunting than fishing. Big gills get that way for a reason. Many times there may be multiple gills within striking distance of the lure, not all of them within view. Avoiding smaller more aggressive fish that will inactivate a spot requires precise presentation, stealth, and a lot of luck, and even then it may not work. Many times "Mossy Gill" will turn on the lure only to nudge it with his nose, inhale and spit in a millisecond, turn and swat the jig with his tail, turn sideways and view up at you, or simply use pectoral fins to backpedal away from the lure. But every now and then things go your way.



My description does little justice to the incredible enjoyment of this sport.
I thought that was an excellent description!

That's even worthy of it's own blog post.
Move if needed.

Don Cox
Mullen Ne
Thanks Bruce.

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