Thursday, May 29, 2014

Popper Color Does Make a Difference When Fishing For Bluegills

I’ve always assumed that bedding bluegill would hit anything thrown their way regardless of color, nymph, dry fly or popper. Well Tuesday I got a lesson in just how finicky bluegill can be on Smith Lake. My buddy Ivan was fishing with me at daybreak yesterday for the large spots using the big poppers, which by the way never panned out for any major hits. I did land one spot in the slot at 13 inches which was the extent of the bass trip. I attribute the slow spot action to all the Memorial Day boat traffic, which really churned the water up for three days.

So we started searching for the bedding bluegills in all the nooks off the main channel. The first 4 or 5 nooks different produce anything but small fish in the form of little females and some little spots out of the slot, which is below 12 inches. As we moved from nook to nook we finally connected with a small band of gills bedding out from the bank near the overhanging tree line on the right side in the image below. Ivan landed the first of 6 nice bluegills in this area using a popper that I didn’t have in my fly box.
The bluegill were bedding 10 to 12 ft. deep here in this area and the minute they nailed the popper they would take off for deeper water. Ivan’s 4 weight really got a workout. I didn’t land a single fish here using a black Bar Nun popper. These fish were so aggressive that they were coming out of the water like a bass to take the pale colored version of this popper, which is very unusual for bluegill on Smith.
I tried a number of flies trying to get a hit as we sit there fishing for this group of bedding bluegills, but nothing work for me. I tried nymphs, dries, grasshoppers, even different colored poppers which proved to me that these fish were taking nothing on this day but this size 8 pale chartreuse Bar Nun Popper.  So yes color and pattern makes a difference when fishing for bedding bluegill.
I did manage to land one bull bluegill using the Black Bar Nun version of this popper that I will count for my quest. To prove to me again that the pale chartreuse popper was still taking fish over everything else, Ivan landed a couple bass where I had just place the black popper. Ivan has been using these poppers for years, and yes I have been using them too, but today the Bar Nun brand made a believer out of me. Can you guess if I ordered a few???


This bluegill will get counted for my quest which puts me at 34 away from making the quest for this year. Congrats to Ivan for finding this fantastic popper that enabled him to have one of his better bluegill fishing days on Smith.
 
 

 
 
 


 

 

 

 

18 comments:

Kevin Frank said...

I've never had really good luck with black. Green or white have always been more productive colors.

Daniel said...

Have you factored in time of day? The way the light goes through the water changes how the fish see color. Many bass fishermen I know only use black buzz baits because the theory goes, it is the only color they can all the time. where other colors may be harder to spot in different conditions.

Justin Carfagnini said...

I've had some very good success with black, and blue. It's funny that people think bluegill will hit anything, but I tell them, there are days I have to try and figure it out. They laugh at me, but they don't fish for bluegill.

That's a really nice one you caught! Good luck on your quest! You're choppin' away!

Howard said...

Thanks Bill, I'm still learning. I have some poppers that someone sent me, but I've never fished with one in my life. Maybe I'll just send them to you.

Mark Kautz-Shoreman said...

I guess that's why we have a gazillion flies in our boxes. You never know what is the right color until it catches a fish. Good job guys.

Bill Trussell said...

Kevin
Chartreuse is a good color, and yes I even tried that color and it didn't work---thanks for the comment

Phillip McCutchen said...

Bluegill can be very picky! Thankfully, there are a lot of times you can through any popper under the sun in the water and they'll slam it. Oddly, the blue damsel boogle bug is the one color I just never have any luck on. Greens and yellows seem to be the "go-to's" for me.

Mel Moore said...

Bill, that is a very interesting observation that you make on Bluegill being "picky" about color. I have not fished much in the way of Poppers (that might be changing), I have fished a lot for Bluegills on the surface with foam type flies. I prefer a White or a Chartreuse, but, Black is a very common color, too. As always, nice Bluegill.

Brk Trt said...

They say that brook trout are not technical when it comes to food, well not always.
Your "Gills can be also.

Bill Trussell said...

Daniel
Yes black is a go to color for bass. I use the black Boogle Bug with a lot of success for bass, but Tuesday the black wouldn't work for the gills--go figure??? Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Justin
Who knows when I go back next week any color may attract a hit. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Howard
Thanks for the offer but I am running over with poppers. When you get a chance go out and give those poppers a try. Very exciting seeing a bluegill smack a popper. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Mark
As I said earlier, tomorrow it may be any color that will work. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Phillip
Green is one of my favorite colors, of course white is hard to beat too. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Mel
I seldom fish the foam version of the popper, not because I don't have access to them, but I just grew up fishing the traditional cork or balsa popper. After fishing for these fish for years I truly believe that your best colors are chartreuse and a cream color. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Alan
Yes any fish has days when they are very food selective. Thanks for the comment

THE RIVER DAMSEL said...

Well, I am certainly glad that you had a fantastic time with your lil' bluegill. They have been on my list to catch. Just haven't decided when, where, and how!!! Other than that... I'm close to catching one! Haha.

Bill Trussell said...

RD
The bluegill is certainly no big brown but it will give a 3 wt a fit----hope you get to try landing some soon. thanks for the comment