Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

This may have been discussed before, but hey...its almost that season again!

I had contacted our local Fisheries Biologist about where I might find large redear sunfish in our area. He gave me a couple of lakes where they have sampled 12"-13" redears. One lake I fished probably 27 years ago, and the other lake I have never fished. I've got some learning & exploring to do.
I'm considering hitting these lakes this winter.
Does anybody have any tips for ice-fishing for redears (where in the lake to find them, for example), and what baits/lures might work best. Any stories you can share?
Thanks!
--David

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19 foot over soft bottom...interesting.

Makes sense.

I'll bet if you took a water temp reading that you'd see 39 degrees at the bottom, and decreasing shades of mid-thirties as you ascend.
Soft bottom or sticky bottom as Dave Gentz calls it is what it's all about.Five star eating at it's finest.Gills all love this type of bottom.I find it mainly at the base of drop offs in the lakes I fish in Kansas.
I can tell ya that where I fish, the average depth to catch redears is about 12-14 feet during summer and fall. and at times they are in shallow water, but you have no way of knowing which one it's gonna be. shallow or deep. we don't ice fish, but the best bait by far is redworms. two or three on a size 4 crappie hook, and enough split shot 3 feet up the line to hold bottom in the wind. wish they sold waxworms and maggots around here. I'd like to try them.
also, wherever you find shellcrackers, they will most likely be on the bottom, and a place with debris and roots etc. is even better. cause they eat alot of bugs that crawl around on submerged wood.
You can ORDER waxworms and maggots on-line. One place is called Vados Bait, located in Minnesota.

Here's their website address:
http://www.vadosbait.com/
Kip nobitt.

You can get spikes (maggots) and waxworms on order online and I got it several times no problem!

www.wholesalebait.com

Or call 1 800 733 2380 for free price list.

Also you can find several other companies that sell waxworms, etc. in google!
There is one small lake in Iowa that I have icefished and caught redears. All were caught 12" from the bottom in the deeper sections of the lake (12-15') and the maximum depth of the lake was 18'. There were caught on small teardrops with one or two maggots hooked just through the tip. The wiggling action was too much for them to resist!
David,
I am not sure where you will be fishing for redears this winter, here in southern Michigan the DNR has stocked a few lakes that have high populations of snails and pumpkinseeds. I have fished for them through the ice in Brooklyn Michigan on Wamplers lake, a 750+ acre body of water that has weeds growing down to about 15 feet. Most of the fish caught are on the bottom in the weeds close to drop offs, small ice jigs with a wiggler, or two or three waxworms. Most of the guys sight fish for them in the winter, they are not as active as bluegills..at least when I am trying for them..... Hope that helps you a little bit. Bruce Yinger
what lakes did they say to hit?
chris
Hey Guys...a couple of years back we caught some impressive red ears in Rocky Gap Lake in West Maryland...got them in about 5 ft of water on small Kastmaster and Swedish Pimples w/waxworms and maggots, near dead and dying weed beds and about 6 in to 12 in off the bottom. Some of them were between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 lbs, which is big for shellcrackers this far north. This lake does not freeze over every year, so we have not been back since for ice fishing there but hope to as it has recently locked up. Got em with slow jigging and deadsticking, which is just leaving our ice rods sit still on the ice and watch our wire strike indicator to detect those light strikes.

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