Pond 0010

The bluegill is probably the one species every angler has sought at one time in his life. For most it was a first fish caught.  It is especially a favorite of kids and those seeking a tasty addition to the evening’s menu.  Besides being tasty, the bluegill has a reputation for being a feisty battler.  Just imagine if he were 5 pounds instead of ½ pound, what a tussle he would present.

Light tackle is a must in bluegill fishing. Spinning reels on ultra-light rods spooled with 2 to 6-pound line is best.  Lighter line is preferred on clean water.

The most popular location for finding bluegills is a pond.

Small ponds are excellent locations to find fish if one pays attention to detail. Besides tackle the most important aspect of bluegill fishing is the presence or absence of vegetation.

Very dense vegetation has an adverse impact on fish populations by reducing predation rates. It increases the young-of-the-year survival leading resulting in an increase of stunted fish.  Owners of small ponds might consider using a garden rake to remove some of the vegetation.

Plants are important in that the microscopic ones form the base of the aquatic food chain.  Larger algae and plants provide spawning areas, food and protective cover.  They provide habitat for insects and snails upon which the bluegill feed.

Plants near shore protect against erosion. All plants produce oxygen without which no animal life can exist.

Algae growth is the main vegetation that presents problems to good bluegill growth. It comes in two forms phytoplankton and in mats of filamentous algae.

Bluegills prefer water that is deep and clean as well as having a pH or 7.2. Vegetation likes the same conditions.  In southern Illinois the ponds and strip mine pits provide excellent water conditions with a pH factor of 7.2.

Vegetation is important to finding fish due to the lack of structure in small bodies of water.  Most have a smooth bottom with no distinct cover other than vegetation.  As a result the fish are usually scattered.

Wily anglers spread their efforts until they can locate fish. They cast to different areas and adjust the depth at which they present their offering.  If an overflow pipe is present it is a good area to check.

If a dam forms the pond in an area between two hills, then there should be a channel in the middle. There may be rocks and stumps near the edge of that channel which will attract fish.

An angler can cast his lures or pitch a live bait offering to any piece of structure.

If the fish are feeding in the shallows anglers should stalk them. Bluegills feed slowly so they will spend a lot of time in one location.  A slow presentation of small spoons like those popular with ice fishing anglers works well in such situations.  Small jigs also work well.

Natural enticement is added in the form of spoons and jigs with spikes, wax worms, etc. attached. Another presentation can be a salmon egg hook with a single split shot about 12-inches above the hook. Live bait is placed on the hook.  As the presentation is moved deeper the split shot is moved further from the bait up the line to a maximum of 20-inches.

Scientists tell us bluegills tend to prefer water in the 77 to 79-degree range but will be active in water up to 86-degrees. Smaller fish are not active feeders at lower temperatures.

Finally remember to work the edge of cover, work heavy vegetation, set the hook quickly to keep the fish on the surface until you can get it to open water. If the sun is high, work the deeper areas.  Move to the edges as the light becomes low.



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