Spring is the time to clean up on bluegills, especially large males in spawning mode. Males move from deep water to the shallows for spawning when water temperatures move above 60 degrees. Bluegill fishing in Pennsylvania is at its best in the spring during the spawn. Bluegill spawning activity is the greatest when water temperatures are between 70 and 75 degrees. This is when males dig spawning beds, or redds, in anticipation of a suitable mate. The bite during this time is intense. Males attack anything entering their redds and as soon as one male bluegill is caught another is waiting to take his place.
Well by now the spring spawn has come and gone. Bluegill fishing in Pennsylvania is more difficult as summer drags on and autumn approaches. However, do not think that because spring is gone you cannot catch bluegills in Pennsylvania.
Where to Catch Bluegills in Pennsylvania in August
Most Pennsylvania lakes hold bluegills but not all hold keepers. Those bluegill fishing hoptspots have just the right balance of food, predators and population size to grow big, frying pan ready bluegills. Small lakes and private ponds typically hold big numbers of bluegills. Generally, larger public lakes produce more quality bluegills and have better overall big bluegill fishing. These lakes have more consistent food sources, better spawning options and a predator base that regulates the bluegill population effectively. Some of the best bluegill fishing in Pennsylvania is on large, public lakes because of their sheer ability to have all the right conditions for great bluegill fishing.
Commonly, bluegills can be found near grass and weedbeds after the spawn and throughout the summer. Bigger bluegills will seek out these areas for a constant food source and as a means to avoid predators like walleyes and bass. Grass and weeds are full of aquatic insects, minnows and smaller bait fish, who like the bluegills are trying to avoid predation. Look for open areas in dense weedbeds or grass patches where you can get your bait or lure in.
One of the best bluegill fishing tips is to think like you are fishing for smallmouth bass. They have similar transitioning patterns after the spawn in that bluegills move out of spawning grounds towards food sources to setup summer locations. The only difference is that bluegill fishing lures are much different than those for smallmouth bass.
Bluegill Fishing Tackle for Late Summer
Bluegill fishing in Pennsylvania requires tackle that can vary from a simple rod and bobber setup to a spinning combination with an array of different artificial lures. Much of it depends on your preference when fishing for bluegills in Pennsylvania. A good setup is an ultralight spinning rod and reel filled with a clear monofilament or fluorocarbon line between 2 to 6-pound test. This combo works well for handling big bluegill fishing or if you are out for quantity. For youth anglers, spincasting combos are a good choice because they are easier to use than spinning rod combos when fishing for bluegills.
Live bait dominates many angler’s hooks when fishing for bluegills. Wax worms and red worms are the staples and hardly ever let you down on the water. Rig these up with slip-boobers (reduces line tangles and gives you more depth control than fixed bobbers) to detect more bits using live bait. Although for large bluegills, soft plastics (like tubes and twister tails) specifically designed for panfish sometimes work better than live bait. Pick natural colors and pair them with 1/32 to 1/64-ounce jig heads to improve your chances of hooking into larger fish while bluegill fishing in Pennsylvania.
Many of us will be out fishing for bluegills in August but few will be considering how the season and water changes have impacted where the big bluegills will be located. If you stay focused and think like a bluegill, your late summer bluegill fishing in Pennsylvania can be as good as it was during the spring spawning period.