Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For a Thrill (and Bite) a Minute, Go for Bluegill

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For a Thrill (and Bite) a Minute, Go for Bluegill

Article excerpt

Fishermen talk about it a lot, but most rarely experience it. "Fish-at-every-cast" is a mere dream to most anglers. Some have never seen fishing that good.

But in May and June on most area ponds and lakes such fishing is available to those who know where and how to do it. Bluegill often provide such fast action during their spawning period.

The spawn brings the little fish out of their all-over-the-lake haunts into the shallows where they are easy to find and catch. Most anglers, apparently, don't even realize such opportunity exists. Where else, though, can a person catch 50-100 scrappy, tasty fish in a few hours?

Most, but not all, of the area's lakes contain bluegill sunfish and their less-common cousins, the redear. Some lakes contain mostly small bluegill. Big bluegill are the most fun to catch, but all bluegill are fun to eat. A quick, easy method for dressing small bluegill is given on this page.

The area's best bluegill fishing is in farm ponds and lakes, almost all of which are privately owned. Bluegill grow best in pond habitat, characterized by an abundance of shoreline shallows with aquatic or emergent vegetation. Most of the giant bluegill on the Missouri Department of Conservation's Master Awards list were caught in farm ponds.

Almost all of the lakes at the Busch Conservation Area contain bluegill. Because of heavy fishing pressure there, probably, most of the bluegill caught there are small.

In most lakes bluegill and redear spawn in water 6-24 inches deep. On some super-clear reservoirs, such as Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Stockton and Norfork, they may spawn at 2-4 feet or even deeper.

Fanning with their tails and fins, red-chested males clear round openings on clay or fine gravel bottom. From above, the nests look bright, like scattered coins. Females come to deposit their eggs and males then defend the nests and fan silt from the ripening eggs.

The fish are easy to catch then because they will grab any baited hook thrown over the nests. …

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