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Where to find the Ice-Out 'Gills

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I have read a number of posts about early spring (Central New York) fishing for Bluegills and their close relatives. Where do you  find them after ice out?

Weed beds in shallow bays off larger water bodies seem a good bet. Also, rocky water edges with fish holding structure like rip'rap / sea walls or natural rocks and gravel also seem to be popular.

Where do you go for your early season ice-out 'gills?
What are the characteristics of location that you look for?
Is location consistant, or do you find it to vary from water body to water body?
Will you find them there consistantly until spawn, or do they relocate after ice-out for a period before they hit their beds?

It will be interesting to hear your comments and experience with early spring Bluegills.


I'd have to agree with your locations,especially the shallow bays or coves.At the lake we usually fish,the gills will invade the sun warmed shallow shorelines in another week or three.Seems like mostly north shores.If you can find some tree branches there they will be like a magnet.Lots of times we will skip the opening day trout crowds and go after gills and perch.We have gotten some of the biggest bulls at that time.Also the lakes are hardly fished then.Then after the gills gorge themselves,they seem to move deeper until the spawn.I like to fish weed edges which seem to be around 17-18 ft.Good luck.

Thanks Nuke,

I look forward to tak’in the canoe out real soon and sneaking up on a few. Have never gone after 'Gills and their close cousins that early in the season.


its true the bigger gills like to spawn in deeper water. i look for activity in the shallow bays that have weeds in them. the smaller gills will be closer to shore usually in water 5 ft or less. gills like a solid bottom if possible to spawn in. i think they use the weedier bays for some protection from the predator fish plus the water warms faster.ive found spawning gills will hit anything that gets near their nests, but darker natural baits like small tubes or mini crab baits seem to get them to trigger even faster. a good pair of polaroids and binoculars will definately help the catching ratio to. tight lines use stealth and enjoy spawning gills.

Here in Colorado the water is still often very cold for weeks after ice out. I think that the outsides of weededges and the first drop off into deeper water would be the first place to search them out if the water is still in the 40 degree range. If it's in the 50's and sunny, shallow coves that get lots of sun exposure are best.



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