Bluegills spawn after species that largemouth bass and crappies do. Bluegill prefer the water temperature to be warmer than many types of fish before they begin to become active, meaning late May and into June the bluegill bite will be at its best. Look for bluegill in ponds and lakes near the shore, where they dig out shallow beds in the gravel to use as "nests" in the shallows, usually in much less than 6 to 8 feet of water. The bluegills will overpopulate such areas, especially if there is any cover provided by such things as weed beds or downed trees. The water near a submerged tree or old log will usually yield bluegills, as will the region close to stumps and brush piles that are in the water. Since bluegills spawn in large groups, it makes little sense to continue fishing where you are not getting any bites. Move around along the shore or in your boat until you find a bunch of bluegills rather than waste time hoping that some come to you. In rivers, bluegill can be found in the spring in the calmer waters of coves and inlets or in places along the shore, where they can get a break from fighting the power of the current.
Bait and Tackle
In the springtime, a bluegill is not particularly fussy about what it will attack and consume. Among the best baits for bluegill are night crawlers and earthworms, as well as leeches and red worms. Wax worms will also entice a bluegill to bite, as will crickets, corn and even bits of bacon. Artificial lures should have small hooks due to the smallish size of a bluegill's mouth. Smaller spinning baits, artificial flies, tiny crank baits, poppers and jigs will all work when the bluegills are spawning. For the ultimate bluegill experience, use the lightest possible tackle, such as an ultralight spinning rod rigged with 2 to 4 lb. monofilament line. Keep hooks small to accommodate the bluegill's mouth.
To catch bluegill one right after the other, hook your live bait, such as wax worms or night crawlers, on the hook underneath a small-sized bobber. Cast out and wait for the bobber to indicate a bite before setting the hook. A bluegill gives as good a fight as any freshwater fish, and it is imperative that you steer it clear of any structure in the water, such as branches or stumps, or you risk the line becoming tangled. Artificial lures such as jigs can be tipped with a small chunk of a worm or with wax worms to get the bluegills to bite. If you are catching many small bluegills, it is unlikely that you will tie into any big ones, since overpopulation by this species tends to affect the availability of food and thus the size of the bluegill. Look for bigger bluegills in farm ponds that are not overstocked with fish and where extremely fertile soil eventually drains into the stream or pond.