Bluegill fishing can be odne in a variety of ways that will leave you with a boat load of bluegill. In particular though, many anglers have started ice fishing for bluegill and its quickly growing in popularity as years go on. More often than not, the further south you go; the less anglers you will find who have ice fished. Ice fishing as a technique will obviously further your fishing season even in the dead of winter.
If you are lucky enough, you will be ice fishing for bluegill in a heated house and out on the lake. The key benefit to having a ice house is that you are constantly warm and out of the heavy winds. You could also be outside though too.
ice fishing for bluegill
Photo by Jami.1022 / CC BY
Sitting or standing on a side of a band in the middle of the winter may not sound like a fun thing for the majority of the angling population but it’ll get you out in the outdoors and catching some of those beautiful bluegill.
Ice Fishing for Bluegill Gear: Top Factors To Remember
One of the biggest factors that you should remember when you are ice fishing is that you need to stay warm! Simply throw on several layers of warm clothes such as jackets, sweatshirts and more. Along with that, layers will keep you warmer than just one solid layer. Most anglers agree that wearing too much clothes and have to peal off a layer than freezing your butt off and being miserable. You will want the following to comfortably going ice fishing for bluegill:
Several pairs of gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm. Bring extra in case some end up getting wet.
Multiple pairs of wool socks
Rubber boots and or chest waders
Multiple layers covering your chest
Warm hat to cover your ears
Ice Fishing For Bluegill Gear
Depending on how serious you are with ice fishing, it can easily change the type of gear that you bring. Basic gear you should bring ice fishing for bluegill includes:
Ice Dipper (Will help remove the little pieces of ice)
And finally, a sled
ice fishing for bluegill house
Photo by Jami.1022 / CC BY
If you are fishing in extremely cold conditions though, you most likely will want to invest in some protection or a shelter so you don’t get stuck out in the cold too long. This could just be a piece of plywood or you could go as far as get a shack that is even insulated and heated.
When selecting your ice fishing rod, you will usually fin that they are made of fiberglass, short n stiff and often already have four pond test monofiliment rigged up too. This type of ice fishing rod is perfect for fishing for bluegill and will be one of the cheapest that you can buy. For the sake of the trip, its best that you should grab at least two rods so you can have multiple rods rigged up. Its not required but simply recommended.
Lure wise, make sure you end up getting small lures that are bright such as green and red. Smaller is better in the winter months unlike in the summer.
Make sure you use something to float it such as a bobber that is just barely large enough that it will float your bait. When ice fishing, you will need to use live bait as it usually is the most successful. These include: mealworms, minnows, waxworms, larvae, grubs and more. Its best to bring a few different kinds of baits though in case you need to try something different.
Personally, nothing beats the old classic when ice fishing for bluegills: small minnow sitting under a bobber. Simply hook the minnow through the tail so there is more action from the minnow trying to swim. Countless bluegill have been caught this way.
Bluegill Ice Fishing Locations
Ice fishing on lakes or rivers for bluegill will often be in the same places that you caught them in during the fall or summer. You will find the best ice fishing though will be right after it freezes, or in the freeze up. They will be found near weed beds and at moderate depths. As the winter gets colder and longer, you will often bluegill towards the deeper water though. If you are new at ice fishing though, simply look at where the rest of the fishermen are at and you’ll quickly know where to start.
If you are fishing on a river, don’t get stuck fishing one spot too long. If you aren’t getting any bites, try to move to a different area every 15 minutes. Just don’t get stuck trying to hit up when hole too long when ice fishing for bluegill as you will only find them in decent size schools in the colder, winter months.
Once you find your spot, its time to start cutting a hole in the ice. Do not and I repeat, DO NOT be that guy out on the ice trying to hack through it with an axe. It simply won’t work unless the ice is thin. If its that thin too, you might not want to even be out there. We recommend you use a auger or spud bar to cut a hole.
After you cut a hole, use your dipper to clear it out. Pick out your favorite lure and drop it down the hole to see how deep it actually is. Once you figured out how deep it is, set your bobber so your lure sits roughly a foot off the bottom. If you are having trouble finding the right depth, try to use trial and error. Simply drop your lure or jig to the bottom and slowly bring it up a few inches. Wait a few minutes and then real up 5-12 inches. Keep repeating this until you either have some bites or that you end up reaching the surface. Once you find the height that all the bluegills are biting at, just set your bobber to that surface.
You will find that the biggest bluegills will be found near the bottom in the winter and will have a light bite. Make sure you pay attention to your bobber for bites when ice fishing for bluegill. Right when you see a bite, try to set your hook as soon as possibly and hopefully you’ll get that big bluegill on your hook!
Ice fishing for bluegill is a classic activity and easy to catch! They are one of the best fish to get into for beginners and getting people into the sport. Thankfully you most likely won’t find too much of a shortage of bluegill fishing spots and they are once great fish to eat.