Most productive bluegill lake in USA? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Most productive bluegill lake in USA?

09-08-2002, 01:08 PM
Hi guys.

Sometimes we need a change from trying to match wits with the wily brown trout. Sunfish/bream (bluegills, shellcrackers, etc.) are a fun little fish for kids to catch (big kids too, on a fly rod!)

My question is: nationwide, what’s the very best lake/pond for sunfish fishing, in your opinion?

Let’s limit this discussion to waterways with either “normal-sized” or "larger sunfish," and not ones with only “real tiny stunted sunfish."


Dale D.

09-08-2002, 06:23 PM
Don't think any body could say with any confidence which specific body of water this would be, as far as I know I have never seen these written up, since Blue gill are so pervasive in all of the states.

It would have to be some wheres in the southern US where they can feed year round.

They are a lot of fun on a light fly rod and surface poppers when you find a lake with big ones though. Have some good boy hood memories on them from back in NYS and NJ waters.

Dble Haul
09-09-2002, 08:10 AM
Pickwick Lake, Alabama. There's plenty of predators to keep the population from getting stunted, and while it's a big lake it has very good access to the large bluegills.

Contrary to what has been stated above, there have been articles written about this (albiet not recently).

John Desjardins
09-09-2002, 08:35 AM
The magazine InFisherman does those sorts of lists for most freshwater species on a regular basis. I can't remember when bluegills & sunfish were last done.

My own experience is that often it is the location in a lake or river that determines whether you get a stunted or large panfish. For example 1 lake (~90 acres) I fish on a regular basis has a public swimming area and no other development. If I fish near the swiming area stunted fish are all I'll get but if I go to the dropoff by the dam nice sized gills are the catch of the day. On another river I stop off at times 1 spot will give up nice 9" sunfish with regularity, while other spots are lucky to give up a 4" fish.

Oh and the 9" fish are picky like trout!!!

09-09-2002, 08:38 AM
I've heard rumors from many different sources that there are a few lakes on the Oneida reservation in NE wisconsin that produce 'pan-sized' bluegill.

Fishing is of course limited to invite only.


09-09-2002, 10:16 AM
Bet they have some secret musky lakes on the Onieda reservation also.

I have not caught a big bluegill in probably 20+ years, the local lakes out here all seem to have stunted populations.

Gills are a great beginner fish for a new fly fisherman and lots of fun.

09-09-2002, 06:30 PM

A world renowned big bass and bluegill fishery. This is the Florida lake I was thinking of , I am sure there are more. Check out the size of these.

P.S. Some sleeper big bluegill locations are the many private farm ponds across america. If you can get access to them and the ones where the farmer manages them for big bluegills you have a real find. Good luck hunting.

09-17-2002, 08:18 PM
I'll have to agree on lake okechobee(sp)My dad has a place on the lake,he tells me 2 lb gills are easily attainable.I am looking forward to gettin some this spring when the family goes down to visit.I guess the crappie are a blast on the fly too.

09-17-2002, 09:10 PM
and how about the fight on those gills. with a light rod, they are battlers. that wide body makes them tough to turn around once they get perpendicular to you. Also, it's been a while, but I remember them tasting pretty good.

09-19-2002, 08:27 PM
Got me interested in what the world record blue gill was

Check this out it, is larger than the world record gill, get some of these, stock your private pond and you may be on your way to a trophy blue gill fishery.

On a light fly rod could like stalking permit on the flats, but with a less selective fish then permit.

John Desjardins
09-20-2002, 09:30 AM
Hal catch that fish on a 3 or 4 weight and you'd have to change your signature to "Bream build character..." ;)

09-26-2002, 06:31 PM
My vote goes to Wachusett Reservoir. TOO MANY OF THEM if you ask me! ;)

Some of them easily 1 pound.

09-28-2002, 08:11 PM
That is one big bream, I would need my 8 weight for that big wide body. My 8 weight has landed 25-30 lb king salmon, after quite a battle though.