Artificial baits and lures for bream and other sunfish come in many different styles and colors. 

May is a magical month in the world of bream anglers. Many will circle the full moon date on their calendars and prepare their tackle. Most anglers will opt for live bait when fishing for bream, bluegill and other sunfish. Traditionally crickets and redworms are at the top of the list.

Carrying live bait out to the lake or pond requires some extra prep. And there’s always a chance the live bait can be depleted quickly when the bite is on. Artificial flies and bugs are a great alternative to live bait.

Flies and bugs for bluegills are generally delivered to the fish via a fly rod. There are many different types and weights of fly rods on the market. And since most bluegills are under the one-pound mark, a light weight or action rod is all that is needed.

“A #3- or #4- weight rod will work fine for bluegills,” said the late Bill Weaver of Eastaboga. “These type rods are easy to handle and cast any size fly with little effort.”

Weaver loved fishing for any type of freshwater fish, but bream was probably his favorite. In his later years a bad shoulder forced him fish with ultra-light spinning tackle. But, once-in-awhile on a good day he would break out his fly rod.

Tackle stores may offer fly rods with reels already spooled with the correct line. These combos can be had for under $100. Usually, the rod will be two-piece and around 8- to 9- feet in length. Perfect for delivering a small fly to a hungry bluegill.

“I like to start off with a popping bug,” Weaver said. “A yellow or white bug with a short hackle works great when they’re bedding,”

Locating bluegills

In most lakes and ponds, bluegills along with other species of sunfish are usually the most common fish. Th fish will usually spawn along or near the shoreline. Grass or weed patches at the shoreline are other places to search for bluegills.

Bluegills will clean out a spot on the lake bottom to lay their eggs. There are usually several beds together in one location. An individual bed will be about the size of a small dinner plate or saucer.

“Bluegills will bed in the same spot each time they spawn,” said Weaver. “When you find them the first time, they will be back again to bed there the next month.”

Weaver has caught bluegills spawning in the same spot throughout the summer months. Of course, there are many different bedding locations around the lake. Bluegills like to spawn in about 2- to 3- feet of water depending on the lake, weather and water conditions.

Anglers should try to place the bug directly over the bed if possible. A little trick Weaver would use is to fish the outer edges of the spawning area first, then gradually cast to the center. This helped from spooking all of fish when one was hooked.

If the action slows on top and bluegills are still around the beds, a wet fly may be in order. Small nymphs will sink down slowly toward the bed.

Sometimes the strike on a wet fly can be very light, especially if the fish are a little edgy from others being caught nearby.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at