More Bluegill Comments

More Bluegill Comments

Last post we discussed a reader's questions regarding the search for bluegills in early spring. Specifically, we talked about "the elevator," that last sharp drop between winter and spring habitat that acts as a pivot point, where bluegills progress back-and-forth after cold fronts and again as weather stabilizes.


This year we're finding them farther from the bank than ever before during this period between ice-out and spawning. We think it's because the mild winter left so many healthy, bright-green cabbage stands on the shallow flats in depths of 4 to 6 feet. The tricky part is hauling them out of there. One reader asked how we go about that. We've been using 7- to 8-foot fast ultralight sticks and 4-pound braided line with tough, abrasion-resistant, 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon leaders. A 4-pound braid like Berkley FireLine has the breaking strength of an 8-pound mono, but it cuts through weeds better. Added length on the rod, combined with almost zero stretch in the FireLine, allows us to reel down to the fish, lift the rod high overhead, and pull them right through the tops of the plants after they bury themselves.



The ultralight sticks have the right amount of give. In combination with low-stretch lines, they give you all the leverage you need plus the forgiveness required to keep hooks from ripping free and to keep leaders from breaking.

Another reader asked me to explain my comments about "grooves created by wind-driven ice." Up in the North country, we take it for granted that people understand how much force can be generated by big sheets of ice on big lakes in spring. When the ice starts to break up, open water forms. Those remaining sheets of ice now have room to move behind wind-driven currents. The ice might only be moving at a couple miles per hour, but it has tons of mass and weight behind it. Meaning nothing is going to stop it anytime soon.


When these sheets of ice hit the shoreline, it's a classic "irresistible force meets immovable object" scenario. Something's gotta give. Sheets of ice can slide up on shore and slowly, inexorably, sheer telephone poles and push houses off foundations. That's an extreme case, but "sublimation" is pretty common, wherein a moving sheet of ice slides underneath a stationary one near shore. The moving ice hits bottom and eventually stops, but usually not before creating a new groove or trench in the bottom of the lake. Because these troughs tend to occur near shore they can be very important to panfish seeking a little extra security when they move back-and-forth from shallow areas where they're visible to birds, raccoons, humans, and other predators. In summer these trenches continue to provide shaded cover after the weeds come up where fewer bass, pike, muskies, and catfish can find them — so it pays to note the position of these spots in spring when it's easier to see them. Some of the biggest bluegills move deep into the slop in summer, and chase the smaller fish out to the fringes where bigger predators lurk. Troughs cut into the bottom by ice create key hiding places for those ever-challenging slop bulls.


Keep those cards and letters rolling in. Meanwhile, Master Shoggie and I have been on some impressive crappie bites we'll bring to the table next time around. Or not. I have a comment or two on one of Ned Kehde's recent blog posts we all need to chew on, but we'll get around to those slabs soon enough.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Which of the ten is the best? You decide. Bass

10 Best Bass Fishing States In America

Matt Straw - November 01, 2017

Which of the ten is the best? You decide.

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free diet friendly. Fish Recipes

Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad Recipe

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free...

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading and HotMaps Platinum. News

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading to its Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cartography

In-Fisherman - April 29, 2019

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading and HotMaps Platinum.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Travel Destinations on Ice

Travel Destinations on Ice

The In-Fisherman staff targets all fish during each and every season, with many of our favorite winter option are on the ice.

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

'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...

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...

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

See More Stories

More Panfish

A dropper line offering a secondary lure has proven deadly on shallow panfish and bass. Panfish

Tailgunner Rigging for Panfish

Rob Neumann with Jeff Simpson - June 25, 2019

A dropper line offering a secondary lure has proven deadly on shallow panfish and bass.

Panfish opportunities are boundless during the Summer Period. Fish are active, moving and feeding Panfish

7 Summer Panfish Hotspots

Steve Ryan - May 18, 2018

Panfish opportunities are boundless during the Summer Period. Fish are active, moving and...

Bites are one thing, but bites alone don't get it done. Panfish

Softbait Hacks for Hardwater Panfish

Cory Schmidt - February 27, 2019

Bites are one thing, but bites alone don't get it done.

See More Panfish

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.

×