Welcome to Panfish!

Part Seventy-nine

Catch Bull Bluegills on Flies
Early Spring Thru Summer
By Kevin Wright

Almost anyone can catch a bluegill with fly-fishing gear, but catching big bluegills with consistency takes a little more skill and knowledge. I define big bluegills as fish measuring at least 9 inches and running near the 1-pound mark. Of course, bluegills that weigh less are great fighters and good eating, but once a bluegill reaches that 1-pound mark, things take on a little different perspective.

The type of water and the fish it holds should determine fishing technique. Some lakes seem to hold nothing but big bluegills, while others have an overabundance of stunted fish. The techniques I use should work in waters that have a good mix of both large and small fish.

My favorite time to fish for big bluegills is in the spring of the year when the fish are heading to their spawning beds. The fish are on the move, active and overly protective.

This is also the time of year when sight fishing can help you target the big 'gills. Look for the largest fish in and around the spawning beds. Target large fish seen swimming alone.

Often times when a fly hits the water, it is bombarded by small fish. But once the smaller ones know that the big guy is interested, they often back off for an instant. An accurate cast should give you a shot at the big fish.

When smaller bluegills take over the shallows, the bigger fish are still around, but usually in slightly deeper water. You must pay attention to this. If you see and catch small fish in the shallows, then you must give up on sight fishing and try deeper water.

Don't dismiss any depth when searching for spawning bluegills. A change in depth of one foot can make a big difference. Keep working your way deeper until you hook a big bluegill. Then concentrate on this depth. The big fish often hang together, and I usually catch more than one bull from the same area. ~ Kevin Wright

Continued next time!

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