Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Hunt for Monster Gills: Take the Path Less Traveled

For the past few weeks, my bluegill intake has been meager at best. The gills I’ve caught are not only few and far between, but they have been seriously lacking size. A good sized bluegill on a light fly rod is an amazing experience. Small gills just don’t put up a great fight. I’ve been racking my brain trying to find the monsters I encountered during the spawn. I’ve covered every inch of shoreline that I usually fish with no luck. That is when I decided I was going to have to go beyond where I usually fish. Sometimes you need to take a path less traveled to find the big fish. Seven miles south of my hometown is a state park that offers fishing, boating, and hiking around the lake. Those who use the park for casual fishing often fish the shores next to the parking areas. Yesterday, however, I decided to take a path less traveled and walk the miles of trails around the lake in search of monster gills hiding from the conventional fisherman

The catch—it was a scorching 94 degrees with thick humidity in the air. Iowa is known for its outlandish weather patterns: burning hot in the Summer, freezing cold in the Winter, and enough precipitation throughout the year to flood just about anywhere. Even with the high heat, I decided to make the trip anyway. Equipped with my fishing gear, a gallon jug of ice water, and a comfy pair of shoes, I made my way down miles of shoreline trails in search of the mighty gills.

After hours of an exhausting hike with many unsuccessful stops at different openings on the shore, I finally found a remote corner that was exactly what I was looking for. A tree had fallen in the water close to the shore, making ideal cover for all types of fish. This spot also appeared to have very little fishing pressure since it was well away from parking areas. Within minutes, I had located an area with monster gills.

When the day was over, I really felt like I accomplished something. I was exhausted and soaked from my hike, but I set out with a goal to find fish—and I did. For the whole day, I only caught around 15 fish, but I really worked for those fish, and each one was worth it. Take my advice: the next time your fishing gets into a slump, get away from where you normally fish and put in some leg work to find the big ones. At the very least, you get some great exercise and an excuse to get in the outdoors.


  1. Enjoyed reading about your Bluegill excursion. I love fishing for bigger Bluegills when I get a chance. Good job tracking some bigger ones!

    BTW, I like the looks of your new layout you have. Keep up the good work.

  2. Mel: It was definitely a good day of fishing. Thanks for your thoughts on the new layout!