Slaying Bluegill and More in Winter Creek Fishing with Creek Fishing Adventures and my724outdoors.com!
Found a hot spot of aggressive bluegill that were hammering my little swimbait I was using. Really good feeling to just go out in the winter and catch a bunch of fish.
Bluegill fishing is synonymous with warm spring days and sultry summer evenings, not conditions that produce ice in the guides of your fly rod. But there are fish to be caught when the weather turns frosty. When woolen stocking caps, insulated coveralls, and a thermos of steaming coffee are necessary accessories, bluegills may well be warmwater’s best bet.
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In late autumn when water temperatures begin to dip below 50 degrees, bluegills leave the shallows. The first stop in their transition to wintering locations is the first breakline, which is often the deepest edge of the weedline. As water temperatures plummet, aquatic weeds begin a state of decline, but they still serve the needs of the fish by providing protective cover for bluegills and their prey. This first breakline may be in water from 4 feet to 15 feet deep. Bluegills may spend from several days to several weeks in this transitional location, and they are usually in a positive feeding mood as the need to build reserves for the cold times ahead remains strong. Heavily weighted flies and sink-tip or full-sink lines will be necessary to get and keep your offering in the fish zone.
Small streamers up to 1 ½ inches long that feature lots of silver and white are often the ticket to success. Allow the fly to sink to the desired depth, then retrieve it using either slow strips or a hand-twist retrieve. On larger bodies of water, trolling or controlled drifting can be the best method of locating pods of feeding fish. The bluegills can be located at any depth along a weed bank. Water temperature, sunlight penetration, and available food sources will help to determine the exact location. In this situation a good fish finder will be valuable in staying on the weedline’s edge. Crustaceans and insects will still be active during this time, so small crayfish imitations and nymph patterns will be most successful.
As the water temperature continues to drop, nutrients and sediments that suspend in summer sink to the bottom and the water becomes clearer. Light-colored flies become more visible, and patterns that contain reflective materials such as Flashabou, Krystal Flash, or tinsel chenille do a good job of getting the attention of the fish.
By the time the water temperatures reach 42 degrees, a bluegill’s metabolism will be noticeably reduced. Lower temperatures prompt yet another move, this time to wintering areas. Nearly always these fish will school tightly and suspend. Often suspended fish will relate horizontally to a piece of structure and, although their location will constantly change, they won’t move very far from a favored area.