Spring is the best time of the year to get out on the water. The weather is phenomenal, flowers are blooming, and critters of all persuasion are following cupid’s arrow to create the next generation of deer, birds, and fish.
From a fishing perspective, spring fish are usually hungry, aggressive, and shallow – which makes catching them easier and more fun than other times of the year. Because of that, it’s easy for anglers to focus their springtime energies on catching popular species like bass or crappie.
That’s an understandable focus. Springtime bassin is one of the more enjoyable ways to spend a relaxing day on the water, and collecting a stringer of nice crappie is downright sublime.
Unfortunately, anglers that focus their springtime energies solely on bass and crappie are missing out on one of the most rewarding spring bites there is, the bluegill.
Often overlooked by their more famous cousins, bluegill are aggressive, frisky fighters on ultralight tackle, and one of the finest eating fishes that swims fresh water. And there’s no better time to catch bluegill than spring.
Bluegills spawn much later than bass and crappie, so their aggressive prespawn period is one of the longest on the lake. Because of that, anglers looking to target springtime bluegill should be able to find willing biters from Washington State to Washington D.C., and at all points in between.
The best places to target spring bluegill are on the outside edges of grass beds, in flooded timber, and around any cover adjacent to the large, sandy flats that they spawn on later in the summer.
To catch bluegill, there isn’t much more effective than a chunk of nightcrawler or a waxworm threaded on a gold hook or 1/64 ounce jig, although artificials like tiny curly tailed grubs, flies, and even small crankbaits can also be effective (particularly when targeting bigger bluegill).
Bluegill fishing is also one of the best ways to introduce a kid to fishing, so the next time you’re on the water, consider spending some time bluegill fishing; you’ll almost certainly have a great time.
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