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Bluegills are arguably the most fun panfish, and you can enjoy your fishing trips even more with the proper techniques and equipment.
Where to start?
First, you need to know your prey and determine the tools that you will need.
Keep reading to learn more about ice fishing for panfish and how to choose the best ice fishing pole for Bluegills.
With these tips, prepare to ice more fish and have a blast with your friends and family.
What to know about ice fishing for bluegills
Where to look
One of the most crucial steps of ice fishing panfish is to actually locate your targets.
How do you do this?
Follow the seasonal migration of the fish.
You will most likely find bluegills in deep basin areas that are close to frozen weeds and bedding locations.
As the ice begins to freeze, the bluegills will move into deeper water. This happens in the late fall and early winter. Once the vegetation starts to die for the season, you can expect bluegills to begin their migration.
If the fish are deep in the lake, how do you know where you are likely to find them?
This is easier to do if you are familiar with the lake that you are fishing.
In the summer months, take note of deep areas that have hard bottoms. These areas lack vegetation so they will not be a hotspot for fish.
Instead, look for areas of the lake with soft, muddy low-lying basins. These basins are ripe with dead vegetation, and they draw bait fish and panfish alike.
Seek out areas that generally contain any decaying plant or animal matter. Phytoplankton, blood worms, larvae and other small creatures are drawn to these areas, and bluegills will follow these food sources.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your location. It can really pay off in the long run, even if it seems like more work in the moment.
If you are not having luck in your current hole, try fishing a new hole for awhile.
Even if you just move a short distance between holes, you may find that your new hole is a much richer fishing spot.
Keep in mind that you should be fishing the entire vertical water column- do not fall into the trap of only fishing one depth.
Bluegills are known for hovering in a specific band of the water column. If you are not fishing the entire vertical band, you run the risk of missing out on a large part of your catch.
Jig from the bottom to the top of the lake to cover the entire column.
Technology can be a powerful tool as you locate bluegills in the water.
An underwater camera or sonar can help you navigate the water as well as view fish that you cannot see below.
If you do not currently use technological tools while ice fishing, look into adding these to your repertoire.
Bait and twitch
Once you are successful in locating the bluegills, how do you give them an enticing presentation?
Bluegills can be nervous creatures, and you don’t want to spook them by dropping your jig directly into a school.
The best way to present your jig to fish is to hover it 1 to 2 ft above the school, not disrupting their natural movement.
When the fish are ready, they will strike.
Once you have mastered the art of placing your jig, then it is time to perfect your twitch.
Small, easy twitches usually work best with bluegill. Avoid a large, hard jerks that may scare them.
The best way to improve your twitch is to practice.
Experiment to find a twitch that the fish are attracted to, and don’t be afraid to switch it up based on the mood of the fish.
Your goal is to entice the fish to leave the school and follow your bait.
If a certain color of lure or type of bait is not drawing as many strikes as you would like, you sure that you were tackle box is full of other options and colors.
Line, hook, and pole
Keep your hardware light. As opposed to some of the other ice fishing brutes, bluegills are relatively dainty eaters.
This means that you will need the most sensitive of materials in order to feel their slight touches.
Use small hooks and small bait to accommodate their small mouths.
If your hook is too large, you will not catch a bluegill no matter how excellently your presentation appeals to their tastes.
Your line and pole also need to be lightweight in order for the vibrations to travel from the fish to your hand.
What to look for in a good ice fishing pole for bluegills
To find the right bluegill ice fishing pole, there are a few important factors that you will want to consider in order to ensure you find the right product to position you for success on your next fishing adventure.
Most ice fishing rods are composed of solid carbon, graphite, or fiberglass.
Well all of these materials will make high-quality rods, you should be aware of the price and quality differences.
Graphite and fiberglass are much more affordable than solid carbon rods but they do not carry quite the same sensitivity as their higher priced that counterparts.
When choosing an ice fishing rod for bluegill, look for sturdy compositions that will give you a good balance between durability, affordability, and sensitivity.
Your rod is an ice fishing investment, and it needs to be durable enough to hold up against strong fish as well as maintain its performance in cold, wintry temperatures.
Look for rods that are engineered using durable materials and reinforced components. Feel the rod and inspect it before you make your purchase. Read the reviews, and talk to experts.
Purchase rods from reputable companies that have a background of producing excellent ice fishing products.
Sensitivity and tip
Bluegill are small fish, and they thoroughly enjoy teasing your jig.
When they exhibit such behavior, you may be unable to feel very slight strikes.
Your rod determines the amount of vibration that you will be able to feel when a fish does strike your jig.
Look for sensitive tips and lightweight construction so that you can have maximum sensitivity without compromising the strength of your rod.
Clear or colored tips can sometimes help you pick up on visual clues of a strike. This may be more reliable than solely lying on your sense of touch to detect a fish.
Best ice fishing pole for Bluegills
There are a number of poles that will work well when ice fishing Bluegill. It’s important to take your time and consider your personal fishing needs before making a selection.
Always talk with an industry professional before using any new product. The following rods may offer you a good place from which to begin your search.
Vexan Ice Fishing Rod Multi-Species Walleye Perch Panfish Bluegill Crappie Pike Musky Largemouth Bass Smallmouth Bass Lake Trout Salmon
Vexan leads the front on innovative, high quality rod manufacturing and design.
Their Vexan Ice Series rods are no exception, and they have tailored their species specific designs for maximum effectiveness.
They give you responsive actions designed with each individual species in mind, and they will help you catch bigger, better fish.
This bluegill rod features a high visibility tip that alerts you to the slightest strike so that you won’t miss your catch.
It offers you incredible sensitivity, and a terrific start for landing the feistiest bluegill. It also comes with a top-notch hook set that will exceed your expectations.
To make this rod even more awesome, it includes a custom ICE fly rod tip top for less ice buildup.
This rod series has you covered no matter what species you are fishing. Vexan offers high quality rods that will keep you icing fish for many seasons in the future.
And, Vexan practices free, fast shipping so that you will not have to wait for your new ice fishing rod! You can order your rod and it will be at your doorstep when you need it.
Vexan also gives back to the community. When you purchase a Vexan rod, over half of the profits from your purchase will be given in support of veteran’s and children’s charities.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this rod may work for ice fishing for Bluegill.
- Free, fast shipping
- Blank rods are designed for individual species, including bluegill
- Durable and well-made
- High sensitivity
- Great hook set
- Custom ICE fly rod tip to reduce ice buildup
- Profits benefit veteran’s and children’s charities
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo
The Ugly Stik Ice Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is the perfect set for your bluegill ice fishing needs.
Let’s start with the rod: it is built on the principles of Ugly Tech construction and is equipped with one-piece Ugly Tuff Guides.
Centered around a unique graphite/fiberglass hybrid blank, this rod is sturdy and ready to perform. The rod is built with only the highest quality core materials.
It also has a clear tip that is designed for sensitivity and strength.
The 1 ball bearing size 20 spinning reel is composed of a durable, reinforced, lightweight graphite body. It features a cold forged, ported aluminum spool that will remain strong in the coldest of temperatures.
And, it is fastened with a twist lock reel seat with EVA handles for your convenience.
You are accustomed to the reliability of Ugly Stik products in the open fishing season, and their ice fishing line carries the same strong qualities.
This combination is built to withstand the toughest elements and perform in extremely cold temperatures, making it a great tool for your bluegill ice fishing trips.
View at Amazon for more information on the potential to use this rod and reel for Bluegill ice fishing.
- Ugly Tech construction
- One-piece Ugly Tech guides
- Durable graphite/fiberglass blank
- Clear tip
- 1 ball bearing spinning reel with a reinforced graphite body
- Twist lock reel seat with EVA handles
- Made to perform in the coldest of temperatures and harshest winter elements
13 Fishing One 3 Thermo Ice Combo
The 13 Fishing One 3 Thermo Ice Combo is another desirable option for an ice fishing rod for bluegill.
With its newly redesigned paint, it looks as cool as the ice with added white and green accents.
It features a solid graphite construction that is ready to perform.
This size 19 rod features a solid graphite blank that will alert you to the smallest strike. No more missing out on catches due to a lack of sensitivity! It is also fitted with stainless steel guides and polished inserts.
The strong graphite blank can easily take on the coldest winter temperatures without compromising on performance.
The 2BB reel also prepares you for success. With instant anti-reverse technology you will be more prepared for the water than ever before.
This reel features strong aluminum spool with a lightweight graphite body and rotor.
Also the reel has soft touch knobs for a comfortable, smooth catch every time, and your hands will not tire as quickly. So, you can bring more bluegill to the surface and be more comfortable while you are fishing.
It also comes with a cork cushioned reel seat for added comfort and support.
View at Amazon for more information on the potential of this rod and reel to work for your next Bluegill adventure.
- Solid graphite construction
- Size 19 rod
- Very sensitive at stainless steel guides and Polished inserts
- Fit to endure the coldest winter temperatures while maintaining strong performance
- Durable aluminum spool
- Instant anti-reverse technology
- Soft-touch knobs
- Evolve cushioned reel seat
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com