The bluegill is one of the most popular species of fish in the United States. It is widespread and often kept as food for largemouth bass, but it is a respectable sport fish itself. In fact, it was likely the first freshwater fish you or your children caught. Although they can be overlooked at this time of year, fly fishing with bluegill in the fall is fun and relatively easy.
There may be confusion in identification with other sunfish. Depending on the spawning activity, these fish are often pale, silvery green, or even purple. And despite their name, bluegill don’t show any blue on their gills or gill covers, like the green sunfish, for example. If anything, a light blue appears along the lower jaw region, so a more appropriate name might be the “Bluejaw”.
Bluegill fishing tips
The bluegill fishing tips for fall are similar to those for spring and summer. Start by looking for them in clearer water with no current like lakes and ponds, near cover like aquatic plants. They have relatively small mouths and therefore require small baits, such as those used in fly fishing. And if you can find a bluegill, you will likely be around a bunch of them.
If you’re rusty, fly fishing on Bluegill is a great way to prepare for fly fishing for other species like trout. Because they’re in calm water, you don’t have to worry about the current or the exact drift of your fly. These fish are hover feeders so fly fishing with bluegill fly fishing polishes response times as a quick hook is needed immediately after detecting a bite, which can be a very light hit.
The bluegill diet consists of insects, invertebrates, and small fish. When fly fishing on Bluegill, you’ll find that they’re almost always feeding on something and are likely to overlook any misplaced, sloppy cast that could scare a trout. Children often learn how to fish by baiting bluegill, but a fly lowered from a dock can be just as fun without re-baiting.
Autumn bluegill fly fishing can be done with almost any small fly. The trick might be to find a hatch that they focus on. Throw a dry fly when you hear it peck on the surface of the vegetation. Fast-moving guards can indicate they are hunting underwater prey like minnows, so a fast-sinking nymph or bright minnow pattern can trigger a reaction bite. Finding the correct size fly is important when fly fishing with bluegill in the fall, but it may also require handling different colors and sink rates.