Bluegills are a favorite quarry of ice fishing anglers since these members of the pan fish family are readily available in many northern states. Their willingness to bite both live bait and artificial presentations during cold conditions makes these hard-charging fish enjoyable to catch. With their small mouths and keen eyesight, specialized techniques are needed to consistently catch bluegills while ice fishing.
Small jigs imitate a wide range of aquatic creatures that bluegills feed on extensively throughout the winter months. Lindy Tackles Genz Bug, with its small jig head and plastic body, moves seductively in the water drawing strikes from even the most wary bluegill. Be sure to work this jig at different depths until you find active fish. Also, vary the jigging motion as well. Some days an aggressive technique is best while other days the jig just barely needs to move.
Wax Worms for Bait
Wax worms are small worms that bluegills find irresistible thanks to the worms' slow, wiggling action. Use one or two wax worms in conjunction with a small ice jig and suspend this combination off the bottom with the use of a small ice fishing float. Watch the float for a bite and be sure to add a jigging motion if the bluegills are just pecking at the bait.
Finesse Them with Spikes
Spikes are similar to wax worms, but are even smaller and work well later in the season when big bluegills are more wary. Use a small hook, size 14 to 18, and light line, 1- or 2-pound test, to present the spike in a natural manner. Add a small spilt shot rig 12 to 14 inches above the hook to get the bait down to the fish. Be sure to use a sensitive spring bobber to watch for light bites.