The ice is off the lakes and your ice fishing gear is back in the shed. There’s no sense in waiting for better days. Get that boat cleaned off and in the water!
Ice out can be one of the best times to target bluegill. Without the ice darkening their world bluegill begin seeking warm water with bountiful forage.
Schools of bluegill will leave their deep water haunts and stage up at the mouths of shallow bays. On sunny calm days these staging fish will begin to venture into the shallow waters. The sun is the key element in such scenarios. Not only do the fish seek the warmth itself they also seek the insect activity the warmth promotes. Warm sunny days awaken new life in shallow waters where the temperatures rise the fastest. This can create the recipe for a fantastic bluegill bite.
Target the mouth of these shallow bays. As the sun gets higher and warmer work your way into the interior of the bay. Activity will increase as the temperatures rise. Cover a lot of water with the trolling motor on a low setting. As you creep along fan cast in all directions.
Long ultralight rods offer the best casting distance when paired up with your favorite four pound monofilament. With the fish still being fairly lethargic start out using a small vertical ice jig tipped with a tiny plastic. Fish this bait under an adjustable bobber to help it remain in front of the fish for longer periods of time. Fish with a slow presentation and adjust your depth accordingly.
When you get bit focus on that areas for a reasonable amount of time. Where there is one, there is more. Fish are traveling in schools at this time. When you discover a school you’ll need to remain mobile. Follow the school and keep on the bite.
When the ice is gone and the sun is shining get your boat wet. This has the making of one of the most satisfying bites there is. Hard pulling panfish that offer amazing table fare will surely get your spring blood pumping!