Well, next weekend I'm going out to give catching gills on a fly one last college try. I've only ever had marginal luck at best when going after gills, so wish me luck. I'm going to start off subsurface with some size 12 yellow soft hackles I tied just for gill. If that doesn't work, I'll go to some damsel nymphs I'm tying up tonight. As a last resort, I've got some peacock dragonfly nymphs i'll try. I'm taking some poppers, but with the cold snap here in central KY, I'm going to wait till I get to the lake to see if the water temperature has warmed up (and if I see any surface activity.) If anyone can offer me any advice, I could surrrrre use it. It's weird to me that I can do a fair job catching trout, but by thunder bluegills are kicking my but when it comes to fly fishing.
I fish in MA and won't pretend to know what works well in KY, but I was killing it with little black foam beetles yesterday. Peacock hearl wrapped around the shank, black foam body over that, small piece of green or yellow foam where you tie down the head as an indicator, and some small barred sexy legs on the sides.
I don't understand....they always say that you can catch bluegill anytime on anything. .....shows you what all the experts know. Just stick with it. It is probably a little early for heavy surface action. After cold fronts gill tend to bunch up in deep areas and become difficult to find. If you find them though you can catch a bunch. They are usually slow and the fly needs to get down to them and they don't chase. A lot of times no fly movement is the trick. Patience is the key. It takes a long time to get a unweighted fly down to 8' and you gotta be quick because they normally won't mouth it very long. I like yellow too. You just gotta find them.
I was with a group of 8 fishing Reelfoot many years ago and we had some great early spring weather and was catching the heck out of gills. A cold front came through and we had a temp drop of at least 30 degrees. Probably more. The gill bite just quit that next morning. We all met for lunch and one of the boats had found a gather place in the middle of the lake so we all set our boats around the spot and fished the one hole at about 8' on the bottom and we all caught a bunch that afternoon. It was the only place any of us caught any fish that day.
At the right time in the season, I think gill really CAN be caught on anything. I remember one day last year that I caught about 20 gill in about 22 casts, with each one hookup up about 3 seconds after the fly hit the water. When they start to bed, they will attack anything (I've even caught them on bare shiny hooks). It's still a little early in the season though.
Weather report for next week here calls for mid/high sixties to mid seventies. Hopefully, that'll be enough to wake them up. I'm still gonna go slow and deep. Just a slow 1"strip-1"strip, pause type of retrieve. Hopefully that'll get their attention.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: One more try
jor fly, the best fly I ever found for Bluegills and their panfish relatives is a very simple fly. I take a small wet fly hook, like 16 or even smaller, use red thread, tie in a marabou tail about 1 to 1.25 times the length of the hook. Use just the straight nonbarbed portions so it looks like very thin hair and have just a very few pieces of crystal flash. If you over do that it inhibits the movement of the tail and overly flashy stuff often does not work as well. This tail should not be a really bushy thing. Just a thin straight 'wiggly' thing.
Tie in a piece of chenile so that you have a distinct red band between the tail and the chenile. Wrap it forward and then tie it off. I often then use black thread or thead to match the chenile, and make the head out of that and bury the red at the head.
You can wrap a bit of weight on the hook if you want to get deeper but generally, you really don't need to. I just let it slow sink and twitch twitch twitch it.
My best colors going tail first have been white/chartreuese, white/pink, purple/pink and all black. they don't represent anything, but I used them once on Crappie in a lake about 4 hours South of here and actually angered the spinning rod guys. I clobbered the snot out of them Punpkinseed and Bluegills, releasing more than the rest of them hooked put together. Always fun to outdo the gear guys.
One more thing you do with them is to put a bit of weight in the fly, don't need much in fact you are better off using very little. Put a float/indicator up about 2 or 3 feet from the fly. Let the fly sink till it is dead still under the indicator, then twitch it towrds you making the fly rise up in the water column then just rest it as it swings back to below the indicator. Many panfish find this almost irresistable.
They will start to spawn at the 65* mark, so they will be active at about 55. mine in the aquarium are usually always active and feeding when its in the 50s, they are just dont like it much cooler then that
I'll definitely tie some up. At that size, I'll have to substitute some dubbing for chenille as I don't have any chenille for a size 16 hook. I also wonder, would some bright green of hopper yellow floss frayed out make a good tail? (I only have black, brown, orange, and red marabou. Maybe some pink, i'll have to look.) Plenty of flash, I'll keep it at a minimal as you suggested. I'll let you know how it works. Thanks for the tips!