Catching bluegill

For beginners there could be no better fish to learn how to catch than the bluegill, also know as bream, a.k.a. Brim.  Some of the best bluegill fishing tips and tricks will be discussed for both the novice and experienced.  Not exactly the notorious big trophy sought after fish by professional anglers, the bluegill is still popular among anglers primarily for two reason.  Number one(1) being that they are just darn good to eat.  One of the tastiest fish you can eat and will have you coming back for more.  The other big reason they are so popular is the action.  If you can catch them on a feeding frenzy you can catch quite a good stringer of blugill in a short period of time.  And don’t be surprised when the fight you get does not correspond to their size.  They fight like crazy and will be loads of action and fun.  No doubt that bluegill or bream should be on your fishing list of some of the best species of fish to catch.


It belongs to the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes.  In Greek it is known as Lepomis, which means “scaled gill cover” and also macrochirus which means large hand, which is a description of its body form or shape. The bluegill has a bright blue edging visible on its gill rakers. Another significant marker is the darkened spot that it has on the posterior edge of the gills and bottom of the dorsal fin. Its head and chin are a dark shade of blue. Most of the time it has five to nine vertical stripes on the side, but they are not always noticeable.  Another characteristic is a yellowish breast and abdomen.  A breeding male will have an orange breast. The most distinct body characteristic is their deep, laterally compressed, flattened bodies.  The bluegill typically ranges in size from 4-12 inches, and 16 inches is the maximun size.  The record size bluegill is 4 lbs and 12 oz.


The bluegill possesses a tiny mouth, even if it gets to adulthood. Young bluegill, like most small fish, feed on tiny, aquatic invertebrates called zooplankton. When bluegill mature, they’re able to eat bigger critters, such as insects. Bluegill are sight feeders and feed primarily throughout daytime hrs.

Bluegill will not mature to massive sizes, so select your rod and reel accordingly. An ultra-light rod and reel with light line will assist you to sense the bluegill’s bite far better, and you will catch more fish. The St. Croix Premier Spinning Rods Model: PS66MLF2 (6′ 6″, ML, 2 pc.) is one the best rods for bream you will find. It is complimented perfectly with one the best panfish reels, the Abu Garcia Cardinal Spinning Reel in the STX10 series.  In crystal clear water, light line is less likely to be recognized by fish. Line weights from 2- to 6-pound test perform best.

Hook and Bait

Whether or not you use live bait or lures, you will need to keep them little if you wish to catch a lot of bluegill. Hook sizes from number  six to number ten are most effective. Hooks with longer shanks will allow you to more easily remove them from the bluegill’s small mouth, and thin wire hooks perform best for keeping small baits. Live bait performs particularly well for bluegill. The most popular baits are worms and night crawlers because they are easily accessible and bluegill really like them. The trick is to use only a piece of a worm; just a sufficient amount to cover up the hook. Additional productive baits include crickets, grasshoppers, red wrigglers and meal worms. Man-made lures also work nicely for bluegill. One of the best is the Mister Twister Micro Shad, Pearl Black, 1-1/8-Inch Some of the other best lures are tiny spinners like the Mepps Aglia and Black Fury Spin Fly Wooly Worm Fishing Lure, 1/12-Ounce, Gold/Brown Tail and black jigs (1/32 ounce and smaller).  Tiny flies and poppers are extremely effective and can be used whilst flyfishing or along with a bobber for effortless casting.


Bluegill or bream can be caught with a variety of techniques, any of which may be efficient under the appropriate circumstances. The trick is to use a technique you’re secure with and have fun with.

  1. Bobber fishing—The hottest method for catching bluegill in springtime and summertime is the bobber and worm. This technique is not only popular since it is easy, especially for kids, but because it works. Bluegill don’t want to pursue their meal, thus a slow-moving or almost motionless presentation is often best. A tiny bait hanging below a bobber is usually more than a bluegill can resist. Be sure to use a small bobber—just big enough to float your bait. In the event that your bobber is too large, the bluegill would feel the resistance and spit out the bait. Setting your bobber from one to three ft deep will usually do the trick, but when fish are deeper you have got to fish deeper. Slide bobbers are essential for the serious bluegill angler since they enable you to fish at any depth.
  2. Bottom fishing—Another effective technique would be to cast your bait and allow it slowly and gradually sink to the bottom. Use as little weight as possible to ensure that your bait sinks slowly and so bluegill don’t feel resistance whenever they bite it. Utilizing an ultra-light rod and reel with light line will allow you to cast your bait with no weight at all. In the event that your bait sinks slowly and gradually, bluegill will frequently bite as it is sinking. In the event that your bait makes it to the bottom without a bite, watch your line faithfully for a sign that a bluegill has picked your bait off the bottom. If you don’t end up getting a bite in a short time, reel in and cast to a different place. This method is especially effective when bluegill stay in deeper water in early spring or following a cool spell.
  3. Drift fishing—A very effective method for catching bluegill, particularly in late summer time when bluegill are often hanging in open water, is to drift across the water in a motorboat with baits down 10 to fifteen ft. Because bluegill will likely be found in schools, continuously drift through those places that you have caught fish.
  4. Fly fishing—Although you might think fly fishing is for trout, it is also among the most successful, exciting ways to catch bluegill. Since tiny insects are a major part of the bluegill’s eating habits, an artificial fly similar to these insects is usually irresistible. Bluegill are not nearly as picky as most trout, so the majority of fly styles is effective. The ideal flies are typically tiny and black.

Where to Fish

Using the appropriate tackle, bait and technique is critical in catching bluegill, however it is vital that you understand where to find bluegill in a lake, based on the season. Because bluegill use different habitats at different times of the year, the best locations in springtime most likely won’t be as good in late summer or winter time.

  • Spring and early summer—Bluegill spawn in spring and early summer, and this is an excellent time to catch them. When water temperatures go over 70F, start trying to find spawning bluegill in shallow water. The tell-tale “elephant tracks”—groups of practically round craters that mark spawning nests—will give away their location. Once you locate a spawning colony, be careful not to spook the bluegill when you fish. Cast beyond the nests and retrieve your bait through the colony. Male bluegill would probably guard nests against intruders and will intensely take small lures.
  • Late summer—You can easily capture bluegill after the spawning season, when they go into deeper water as summer proceeds. In summer, bluegill can be found along the borders of weed beds, around brush piles, stake-beds and flooded timber, particularly if deeper water is close by. Bluegill are commonly found in water more than ten ft deep in summer and typically suspend just above the thermocline (the depth in which water temperature changes substantially and below which oxygen levels are generally low). Best fishing is normally in the morning and evening while the fish are most active.
  • Fall—Look for bluegill in the same areas as late summer and also fish shallower water close to weed beds, brush or other types of cover. While early morning and evening are the most effective times to fish throughout summer season, midday angling results often improves as water cools in the fall.
  • Winter—Look for bluegill in water twelve to twenty feet deep. They gather close to submerged structures, usually close to the bottom. Bluegill usually do not eat as actively in winter, so be sure to use small baits and slow presentation. Using light tackle and line is also essential because bluegill bite rather lightly in winter season, and these bites would go undetected with less sensitive gear.

Bluegill Fishing Tips and Tricks

These are basically some excellent bluegill fishing tips and tricks you can utilize which will drastically boost your success for all different sizes of bluegills.

  1. When bluegill fishing, it’s wise to use 4 lb test line for most situations. Bluegills possess incredible eyesight and can see fishing line.  Large bluegill aren’t stupid like the little ones; they reject baits that seem suspect. Large bluegills got large by being careful and wise, and they choose to stay alive!  Knowing this, a few anglers go a stage further and use  2 lb test line. This is a smart move when you’re targeting trophy fish which are cautious. It also helps whenever bluegills are choosy, and in crystal clear water in which line is more visible.  You’ll get substantially more bites on tiny diameter line. However,  a huge bluegill may break your line if you lift him out of the water. The smartest thing to do is always to net the large bluegill instead. It’s no fun whenever a trophy bluegill escapes.  You will need a stronger line around trees, brush, and thick weeds, in the event a fish tangles you up. Yet, you don’t want the bluegills to notice it. A robust fluorocarbon line is a good choice for these areas, because it is almost  invisible underwater.
  2. The second key would be to learn to fly-fish. Thereby, as you’re on the water, you’ll need to keep your eyes open for bluegills and bream eating at the surface. They do this in the time of insect hatches.  In calm or relaxed water, you’ll see circular ripples on the surface where the fish are popping up to slurp in these insects. When that occurs, it’s time for you to pull out the fly gear and go get’em.  You ought to be able to catch a stringer full.  Fly-fishing is by far the most effective method for catching shallow-water bluegill or bream.   I learn that it really is often 10 times improved compared to still-fishing with live bait.
  3. Another good trick is to chum.  Throw out some old bread, crackers, or similar food items to lure the schools of bluegill to you. This can be done from a boat or at the shoreline where you want to fish.  While they feed on the free stuff go ahead and toss out your line with the bread, or maybe even an insect bait, and catch the bluegill while they are in a feeding frenzy and not so cautious.
  4. It is very important  to remember that most huge bluegills don’t inhabit the shallows throughout the summertime. Instead, they may be out along deeper weed-edges, making use of cover in ten to twenty feet of water or maybe even deeper.
  5. Other places that should be taken into consideration are streams and small rivers. Even small streams can offer outstanding action. A point to remember about rivers and streams is to fish in spots with slack water and pools. You’ll get best success in spots where the current is broken or slow-moving. The fish don’t usually live in runs, riffles, or fast-flowing water. Among the best bluegill fishing tips I could give you is to fish for bluegill and bream in the right ponds. The key is to pick ponds that also have a predator species like largemouth bass; if there are not enough predators, the pond produces tons of small bluegills.

Learning how to catch bluegill or bream can be an exciting time for a beginner.  Many experienced in fishing knows some tips or tricks for catching them.  Hopefully you may have some to share yourself.

Bluegill or Bream Fishing Resources

Big Bluegill Discussion Forum A great forum to communicate with other anglers about catching Bluegill or Bream

Excellent video by Informative Fisherman on Beginner Bluegill Fishing below:

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