Taking advantage of blue sky between rain storms, my husband, son and I headed out for a few hours of fishing this afternoon. My son has repeatedly told me that, “Nothing is more fun than fishing together with family.” I could not agree more.
Today we were in for a surprise when we reached our favorite bluegill pond; the bullfrogs were out in force! As I approached the water for my first cast I was startled by a large frog at my feet that had yet to retreat into the water. I have to admit that I jumped a bit from his loud croak and almost fell face first into the pond. That is not how I wanted to start the day! Fortunately, I caught myself and was saved of any humiliation.
Not many people out West fish for bluegill; many prefer trout or bass fishing and question our tactics. They obviously have not had a meal of freshly fried bluegill filets, corn on the cob, and sautéed morel mushrooms. YUM! For all of you doubters, I suggest you give bluegill fishing a try.
I recommend a light weight rod. I use an Okuma SST 6′ ultra light rod, with a Shimano spinning reel. For good action and fun, I use a 4 lb test and fairly light drag. I find fishing for bluegill best with a slip bobber, and my secret weapon… an ice fishing jig. Yep, an ice fishing jig! (Ice fishing jigs are not that easy to find in our area so I special order them or stock up when we are visiting family in Wisconsin.) If the jig is not weighted, I place a BB size split-shot sinker on the line about 8-12 inches above my jig. I top off my secret weapon with a Powerbait Crappie Nibbles. Bluegill cannot resist this tasty morsel!
The best time to fish for bluegill (at least in the temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest) is late May to early July when they spawn, preferably after several days of warm weather. Any later than early to mid-July then the ponds are too weedy and the fish are more difficult to catch. Bluegill will be found in warm water ponds and a number of Northwest rivers.
Hopefully you will find a few extra “surprises” when you are out fishing, as we did this morning. Not only were the bluegill and bullfrogs cooperating with our adventure, but the water was full of pollywogs. (Okay, they are still bullfrogs, just in another form.) My son and I took a short break from fishing to catch a few of the giant tadpoles that had been dancing with our fishing line in the water. He could not have been more delighted, and I happily welcomed the educational opportunity presented. It was a great chance to show my son first hand the life-cycle of the frog.
(Who says you cannot learn and have fun at the same time?)
Next time you enjoy the great outdoors, I suggest you give bluegill fishing a try. Also take a moment and observe the wildlife around you; you never know what you might find!
My favorite bluegill recipe:
Cleaned bluegill filets (skin off)
Your favorite seasoned salt blend
Place a generous cup of white flour (all-purpose) in a zip-lock bag. Add a few dashes of pepper, and a few heavy dashes of your favorite seasoning salt. Put the bluegill filets in the bag, zip it up, and shake, shake, shake until the filets are well coated. (I suggest patting the bluegill filets off with a paper towel first to remove any excess moisture. They will take to the flour better.) Remove the filets from the flour bag and place them carefully into a frying pan with about a 1/2 inch of warmed oil. Fry the filets (turning as needed) until crispy and golden brown. Remove the filets and let them rest on a paper bag or small pile of paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Season as necessary and enjoy!