Are You Fishing Where Big Bluegills Are?

Are You Fishing Where Big Bluegills Are?
Vegetation density in summer in Enemy Swim Lake, South Dakota.

Researchers at South Dakota State University compared areas fished by bluegill anglers with habitats used by large bluegills in Enemy Swim Lake, South Dakota.* The extent anglers and bluegills overlap, along with angler catch success, affects harvest and can drive the effectiveness of regulations. The study also provides information on locations used by large bluegills across seasons.

Enemy Swim Lake is 2,150 acres with average and maximum depths of 16 feet and 28 feet, respectively.

Substrate is mostly silt, muck, and sand, with smaller areas of gravel, pebble, and cobble. Aquatic vegetation coverage peaks at 37 percent of the lake surface area in summer with less than 1 percent emergent vegetation.

Bluegills 8 inches and longer were tagged with radio transmitters and located several times per week over the course of a year, while over the same period anglers were interviewed and their locations recorded. Habitat also was inventoried throughout the lake and characterized at bluegill and angler locations.


//content.osgnetworks.tv/infisherman/content/photos/10-30-19_Art1.jpg
Vegetation density in summer in Enemy Swim Lake, South Dakota.

During summer, bluegills and anglers used nearshore areas throughout the lake. In summer, depth and vegetation did not differ between anglers and bluegills, although bluegills used harder substrates than where anglers fished. In winter, bluegills and anglers were concentrated in shallow vegetated bays and nearshore areas. One particular large bay was extensively used by bluegills and anglers. In winter, bluegills occupied more heavily vegetated areas than anglers fished. Winter anglers fished deeper in areas with shorter and less dense vegetation than bluegills.


The researchers suggest that the use of heavily vegetated habitats in winter may create a refuge from angling, and anglers may have less of an effect on bluegill size structure during winter compared to summer when anglers and bluegills had more overlap.


Rob Neumann

*Weimer, E. J., M. L. Brown, and B. G. Blackwell. 2014. Quantifying differences in habitat between anglers and large bluegills. The Prairie Naturalist 46:4-10

Recommended for You

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites. Walleye

Spring is Prime Time for River Walleyes

Dan Johnson - February 22, 2018

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites.

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley. Bass

Sensational New Softbaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - April 22, 2019

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley.

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat! Bass

Topwater Lure Secrets for Bass

Jim Edlund - April 26, 2018

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Changes for Smallmouths

Tactical Changes for Smallmouths

Doug Stange deploys an one unique in-line spinnerbiat option for smallmouths.

Trailer Bass

Trailer Bass

Doug Stange introduces us to some terrific jig trailer lures for largemouth bass.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and other Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

See More Stories

More Critical Concepts

Here's some important information regarding holding trophy bass. Critical Concepts

Holding Bass the Right Way

Ralph Manns - September 12, 2019

Here's some important information regarding holding trophy bass.

The causes of barotrauma are based on two important laws of physics. Critical Concepts

Barotrauma: It's All About Laws

Steve Quinn

The causes of barotrauma are based on two important laws of physics.

A short-hand version of what we know about walleye vision goes like this. Critical Concepts

What Walleyes See

In-Fisherman - December 04, 2019

A short-hand version of what we know about walleye vision goes like this.

See More Critical Concepts

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.