Best Bait for Bluegill – How To Catch Bluegill (2023 Update)

Geoff Stadnyk in Baits & Lures on

Bluegill are also known as Bream (see also how to catch bream). They are a pan fish, and usually don’t get much heavier than a pound. A good number of freshwater fishermen persistently hunt bass, pike, catfish, carp, and many other species unintentionally left off this list. Bluegill fishing comes with its own allure. They tend to be quite plentiful when found. Although Bluegill aren’t typically a meal in one fish, they are acclaimed by many anglers to be delicious on the plate. Bream pull pretty good for their small size, and can be a fun catch with light line in deep water. Let’s take a look at the best bait for Bluegill, and explore the options.

Table of Contents

Bluegill Foraging in their Natural State

Bluegill-Hair-Foam-Popping-Bugs-Fly-FishermanBluegill aren’t picky eaters. They are quite willing to eat all sorts of bait offered by fishermen like maggots. What works best might always be up for debate, but I say what works best for you is what’s most important. For this reason we’ll look at few different baits, starting with those Bluegill might find without the presence of fishermen.

Bream, in their natural habitat, are likely to feed on all sorts of smaller creatures. Worms such as pan fish worms, night crawlers, and wax worms are good choices for live bait Bluegill fishing. Crickets and other small insects that end up in the water often get gobbled up as well. Tiny minnows and baby crayfish are also a Bluegill favorite.

I always lead aspiring fisherman to the knowledge of what a fish eats naturally before I turn to any imitation bait. I don’t mean to bash these baits. Rather, I come from the school of thought that says present a fish with bait it eats every day. I believe that if you can put natural food (real or imitation lure) in front of a fish, and make it appear to be acting naturally, you stand the best chance of getting bit.

Imitation Bluegill Bait – From the Pantry

Although live bait or live bait imitations are my favorite way to fish, there’s no denying that imitation bait often works very effectively. Fishing for Bluegill with imitation bait doesn’t require a trip to the tackle store. In fact, many pan fish favorites can be found inside your own kitchen, fridge, or pantry. Canned sweet corn, bread, old hot dog buns, hot dogs, and even Slim Jims can work to catch Bluegill. Place individual pieces of corn on your hook, or ball up bread using peanut butter as glue.

A great way to fish these baits is by using a bobber. Place the bobber far enough up your line that the line below it can sink into the depths of the hole you’re fishing. Make adjustments up or down if you’re not getting bites. You can use small weights such as split shots to help your bait and hook sink. Keep a close eye on that bobber! Bluegill often just nibble at bait, and it takes a keen eye to see the bite at times.

Using a Lure to Catch Bluegill – What Works?

Lure fishing always has its own certain appeal. Tricking a fish into biting an imitation lure is always a fisherman’s victory. Any lure that imitates a Bluegill’s natural diet has a good chance at success. Using fish attractants can also help. These oily substances can attract the fish to your lure. Usually the movement of your lure, if jigged properly, is enough to entice a bite. Look for lures that imitate small crawdads, crickets, grasshoppers, minnows, and other small fish. Of course, plastic worms are a must have in any freshwater tackle box. They can work for Bluegill as well.

Imitation Minnow Lures

Considering minnows work so well for catching bluegill it would make perfect sense that imitation minnow lures would work as well.

TRUSCEND Triple-Jointed Fishing Lures

These are excellent minnow imitation lures.

Recommended Lures for Bluegill

Mini Spinnerbait Lures

A popular lure for bass (especially when pond fishing), the mini versions of these spinnerbaits are extremely effective for catching bluegill.

Strike King Mini-King Spinnerbait

The smaller the better for bluegill but be sure to get a bunch as we all know how quickly these can disappear.

Recommended Spinnerbait Lure for Bluegill

Imitation Cricket Lures

Bluegill love crickets so imitation crickets are a great option. You can get a whole lot of fake crickets on the cheap.

Ownsig 40 Pcs Cricket Shape Soft Fishing Lures

This pack of 40 cricket lures work really well and are very well priced.

Recommended Cricket Lures for Bluegill

Imitation Worm Lures

Bluegill also loves worms. They will surely not resist these imitation worm lures.

Berkley EBPHWR PowerBait Power Honey Worm Fishing Bait

You'll get 55 imitation worm lures in one jar which is more than enough for one angler.

Recommended Worm Lures for Bluegill

Imitation Grasshopper & Cricket Lures

Grasshoppers are one of Bluegill’s favorite meals. You’ll surely catch bluegill with this imitation grasshopper and cricket lures.

Ultra-Realistic Grasshopper & Cricket Fishing Flies Multi-Pack

This lifelike and durable fake grasshopper and cricket will undoubtedly trick some bluegills.

Recommended Imitation Grasshopper & Cricket Lures for Bluegill

The Bluegill Bait Overview – Breaking it Down

Here’s a quick reference of the bait we’ve gone over that work best for bouncing Bluegill;

    • Live Bait for Bluegill:
      • Minnows
      • Small Worms
      • Crickets
      • Small Insects
      • Baby Crawdads (1-2 inches in length)
    • Imitation Bait for Bluegill:
      • Canned Sweet Corn
      • Bread held by peanut butter
      • Hot dog chunks
      • Slim Jim chunks
      • Many other items from the fridge or pantry
    • Lures for Bluegill:
        • Imitations of the live bait selection above is what you want to look for.

Enjoying your Bluegill Pan Fry

As stated earlier, Bluegill are often thought of as some of the tastiest fish on the table. Bluegill fishing can be a fun outing on its own accord. It can also be a great way to salvage a fruitless bass or other freshwater expedition. You can typically catch quite a few Bluegill in a short matter of time, and still bring home a fry for the family. Of course, knowing the best bait for Bluegill brings them that much closer to your dinner table!

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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