Does it feel like the whole world is on fire? Too soon? Definitely not a joking matter, but we can’t get a break from the heat waves and fires. Well, minus the rain storm we had last week, hopefully that aided in putting out the Summit area fire. Regardless, we’re adding onto our series of alternative styles of fishing during the dog days of summer. We have mentioned a few alternatives and this one highlights fly fishing for Bluegill in Utah
Growing up in Florida, I loved fishing for all types of panfish. I fished for them because it was one of the species that was readily available. Trout aren’t a native species in Florida , mostly due to the higher temps. So when I moved to the West, I noticed how my years of Bluegill fishing in Florida helped with my overall fishing in Utah and why it’s important.
Bluegill are fun for everyone, and a great way to get new fly fishers into the sport. Bluegill enjoy structures and therefore hang close to the shore and weed beds. That should be your first place you look because they are relatively easy to see and truly, if you can get the fly infant of them, you shouldn’t require much more skill than that.
In Utah, they become more productive in May. With this year, the cold spring, they didn’t come out until June though.
Since you are generally sight fishing for them, I use a 7.5′ ft 4x leader. Again, they aren’t shy of shadows, or leaders, just get it in front of their face. My go to flies for extra warm and grassy areas are dry flies, I use nymphs in the colder months (ie: April/May).
- Nymphs: Frenchies and Midge patterns
- Dry Fly: Any small terrestrial will work
- Streamer: Small black wooly buggers, and olive colored.
If any of my hooks have a barb, I make sure to crimp the barb, because those dudes SWALLOW the flies. You definitely need a pair of forceps on hand.
Bluegill are resilient and can survive in most warm conditions Trout can’t. I know that we have yelled from the mountain tops at this point how hot the summer is and with the temps high, constant fishers hitting most trout waters, here is my reminder to give the trout a break and enjoy some summer days fishing for these fun panfish.
Because most Bluegill tend to be around structures and weed beds, that means that your casting areas may be limited. This will be challenging, but it can help you become that much better of an angler in general. Learning where your rod tip and line are is essential for most fishing, so use this time to better your casting for the spring and fall. Those 22″ trout will reward your new casting skills.
Bluegill fishing also helps improve your stillwater game. If you don’t have a boat, you will have to sometimes take long shots with bobbers “indicators” and double nymph rigs. Detecting tics on your bobber from 50 feet away can be difficult. Bluegill fishing can help improve that as well.
My conclusion, Bluegill are fun, great practice, and a great way to get new people into the sport. Save a trout, fish for Bluegill.