Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Create a Big Bluegill Lake

Deep infertile lakes with limited bluegill reproduction and bunches of skinny hungry stunted bass seem to naturally produce monster bluegills consistently. In the deep clear water there usually aren't many bluegill per acre, but on average they are big. Fertile lakes tend to grow lots of bluegill, but typically on average they aren't very big. I have noticed this time and time again while out electrofishing lakes across the midwest and have been using that information to grow big bluegill in lakes that don't naturally grow them. Here are some guidelines to follow to consistently grow big bluegills:

The recipe is to take out all the largemouth bass over 14 inches and to stock extra 10-12 inch bass. Keep em stunted and hungry. Also a few other things to do is to take away all the cover and structure in shallow water less than 10 feet deep so baby bluegill get eaten up right away. We don't want them to live and eat up the big bluegills food supply. If you wanted to grow fat would you want to share your pizza with a bunch of kids? In regards to good structure for a bluegill lake, simply add just a couple HUGE reefs in deeper water about 15-25 feet deep. These will be your year round fishing spots.

Also don't get crazy by stocking tons of species of fish and never ever let a catfish go when caught. Catfish are the absolute worst catch and release fish on the planet. You can always catch em once or twice, but very very rarely will you catch the same catfish more than twice in a pond. They are actually the smartest fish in the whole pond, old wise fish are not easy to catch. If they can't be caught they are just wasting space and resources.

For people who like catfish fishing in their pond just simply eat the ones you catch and then stock more every year or two, they are very cheap to buy and easy to grow. Catch rates will actually go up by using this method, plus I make more money when I can convince people to stock fish regularly........thats what most of you are thinking anyway so I might as well go out and say it.

So there are few tips to creating a big bluegill pond, now here are some pics from a lake that naturally follows suit with all of the above specs: It is deep, clear, relatively infertile, has limited shoreline cover and bunches of skinny hungry bass, and it produces bunches of big 12-15 ounce bluegill every year! Ice fishing today on the lake was no exception. Here are some pics:

The lake is completely full of these pesky bass. There is very rarely ever a bass over 14 inches caught out of this lake, they all are 13.5 inches long and perfect for wiping out yoy bluegill.

Here is the catfish being caught and kept for dinner!

So this lake is consistently pumping out 3/4 lb bluegill. Now what to do to grow even bigger bluegills? Well, at this stage of the game for this lake now its time to start supplementally feeding high protein fish food to these gills to push them over the one pound mark. Starting in April I will feed them aquamax 500 twice per day all the way through September. Also I wouldn't remove any bluegills from the lake over 9 inches for this year and take out a couple hundred of the 6-8 inchers. Next year at this time when I go back to this lake ice fishing we will be holding up 16-20 ouncers instead of 12-15 ouncers!

Two years from now we will be holding up lots of 20-24 ounce bluegills! This is a very fun project to say the least, I absolutely love growing boone and crockett bluegills!


  1. hey, that guy looks kind of familiar...
    has he talked to you about aerial photos yet?

  2. yep. he said all he could drum up was a podunk camera but it will have to do cause time is running out.

  3. Nate
    Great information, A question for you, I fish a small lake in Jasper Alabama, in early spring for the gills. They are all decent size, in the 8 to 10 oz. size. I stop fishing the lake in mid April, because the caretaker starts fertilizing the lake. He dumps fertilize into the lake when he can see 2 foot down in the water. This is pretty often. I fish it with a fly rod. I stop fishing the lake in mid April because the fish can't see the surface fly anymore with heavy amounts of fertilize in it. I guess what I am asking you are there a need to fertilize a lake that much? The lake is 160 areas, and has weed beds on the east bank and is roughly 30 ft. deep. He fertilizes the lake all the way through mid October. Enjoyed the post.

  4. Ideally a fertilizing program is most effective when the visibility from the bloom is in the 20-28 inch range on the secchi disk. A thick bloom causing visibility to be less than 18 inches is very unhealthy for the lake and will cause problems during stressful times for the fish.