Monday, May 2, 2022

The Many Shades of Gills


The common Bluegill...the best friend to every young angler is the most targeted warm-water fish.  Easy to entice on average and usually found within easy reach of a bank angler with bobber and worm.

Yet for a short time in the spring, there are those of us who search for the spawning bulls as they grow shoulders and become painted in some of the most brilliant colors found in nature.  The largest of fish in a given water, they require accurate casts in the tightest of lily pad lies.  But put your fly in the correct place, and it will strike like a 5lb bass on a frog.

Each fish is different, wearing their own painting for the spring event.

  Some are breasted in yellow gold with moss green lateral lines and turquoise gill plates.

Others are solid gold a mossy-back appearance resembling a small-mouth.

Amazing blood-red breasted with turquoise and red gill plates

One of my favorites are the pink breasted fish with pearl hued sides.

My personal favorite is the copper-breasted bulls. Each spring this variety accounts for my largest fish. 

Try counting the colors on this heavy fish.

Pound-for-pound the hardest fighting fish.  A fish colored for spring with aggression enough to feed on flies they are not even capable of swallowing. 

They are to me, the spring gobbler of warm water fly fishing.

See you on the water


  1. Flyfishing and bluegill a great combination---thanks for sharing

  2. Ralph, so happy to see you posting! Congrats on the new rod(toy) and the gills. Agree, they are so much fun. Our gills here in CT. are just starting to get into the shallows. Now its smallies time. Be safe and keep posting my friend.

  3. Ralph, check out the news that St Croix will be back in the fly rod game again. How do you like the mojo rod?
    I just picked up another Orvis All Rounder green mountain edition. Great smally and all around rod. Be safe my Friend.