How to Catch Bluegill Throughout the Year
Bluegill are generally shallow in the spring and move into protected coves/bays or inlets that provide warm water and suitable spawning habitat. Shoreline areas with emerging weeds are good places to target as they provide cover from sunlight, protection from predators, and hunting grounds for food. The largest bluegill will generally be found in areas where there is quick access to deep water, so weedy shoreline flats adjacent to drop-offs are also good areas to try. Ice jigs tipped with a waxworm or mealworm under a bobber, small 1/32 or 1/64 ounce hair jigs tipped with a small piece of night crawler, tiny spinners, and micro crankbaits are good options to try. A slow retrieve is the most effective. Small minnows are a good option if targeting larger fish. Fly fishing with wet nymphs or poppers can also be effective. Bluegill form schools, so move quickly if you aren’t getting any bites.
In summer, bluegill move out to the deeper water of coves/bays and main-lake areas but are still generally oriented to the shoreline and available cover. The deep weed line and any edges and pockets of deeper weed beds are good areas to try. Weed covered structure such as points and ledges of drop-offs can hold some nice bluegill as well as the flats next to drop-offs. Casting small hair jigs, jigs with plastic curly tails or shad bodies, or small spinners are good options as well as slip-bobber rigs with small jigs, crickets, grasshoppers, leeches, or worms. Trolling/drifting small spinner rigs with a small worm or leech along/over weeds, points, and ledges of drop-offs can help you locate concentrations of fish. Once a concentration is located, casting lures, using slip-bobber rigs, or vertical jigging are more effective. Fly fishermen can have fun using poppers during lowlight conditions.
During fall, bluegill can be found on sharply sloped shoreline structure such as points and inside bends. Areas that still have healthy weeds are good to focus on. Baits/lures to try include: small jigs; small spinners; micro crank baits; and bobber rigs with minnows, wax worms, meal worms, or jigs. A slow retrieve is recommended.
As winter progresses, bluegill will locate in deeper water as shallow vegetation dies off. Focus on finding any remaining healthy weeds around shoreline points, inside bends, and flats adjacent to drop-offs. During the mid-winter/ice period, fish the deeper end of the winter depth range. Jig ice jigs tipped with wax worms or other larvae or place the ice jig under a bobber. Keep the jig just above or outside the weeds. Experiment with jig colors and types of larvae until the right combination is found. Also be sure to put fresh larvae on frequently. Finally, move frequently to find concentrations of fish.