How to Catch Bluegills With a Dry Fly

Sight fishing for bluegills along a lake shore through the spring and summer is just pure fun. Here's how to do it with a light three weight fly rod.

Steps

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    Be on the water ready to cast for the first hour after sunrise or the last hour before sunset.
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    Tie on a 4X leader and about 18" tippet. Don't use fluorocarbon tippet it sinks and costs $12.00 a spool. The leader can be 7 12 or 9 feet (2.3 or 2.7 m).
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    Tie on a size 16 black gnat dry fly.
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    Cast right to any small school of bluegill you might see. Do not put your fly line or your leader down over them, though. They will spook. Place your fly where they can see it.
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    Let the ripples fade. Be ready for an immediate strike! Meanwhile, lower your rod tip to the surface and slowly bring in slack. Twitch the fly gently by light, short retrieves. This can bring a strike. Keep at it.
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    Cast to structure if no fish are in sight--along the front of cattails, by woody structures, rocks. Look for rises and cast nearby.

Tips

  • Letting the fly sit for 30-60 seconds can improve your hookups as bluegills can be slow risers from deeper water.
  • Another great fly to use is a small "popper". This fly also floats but makes a "popping" sound when sharply pulled through the water. Try varying your retrieves: very slow, intermediate, erratic, fast.
  • When dry flies aren't working, a very productive method is to use a small bead head wooly bugger. It's best if you can cast it parallel to shore, and then each cast cast it farther away from shore. This is also known as the fan method.
  • A fly that has worked countless times for me and my father is the Renegade. Not just does it work on Bluegills, but Largemouth Bass and other species of Panfish.

Article Info

Categories: Fishing