Bluegill and youngsters go together. Usually the first fish many youngsters catch are bluegill or sunfish and now is a good time to find them in ponds, streams or lakes.

“I remember my first fish I ever caught just like it was yesterday,” Harold Wilson, now 67, said. “I caught it from a local pond. When I caught that little fighter, I was hooked on fishing for bluegill. Back then, I was using a worm for bait, but since then I have caught bluegill on everything from crickets to jigs. They will hit nearly anything you throw at them. There has been many days when bluegill have kept me from going home fishless. They would get my vote for Missouri's state fish.”

Many anglers have experienced a good fishing trip by going after these fine-eating, hard-fighting fish. Here in Missouri, bluegill can be found in nearly every stream, lake or pond. They hit hard and fight hard and on ultra-light gear you would think you had a big bass on the end of your line. They aren't picky, anyone can catch them. It’s an excellent way to make anglers out of sons or daughters.

Cast a cricket over a suspended bed and let it drift along. If the fish are there, you will soon know it.

For some good fishing, arm yourself with a can of worms or crickets, a light rod and float it along the shoreline or bank and use a bobber. When the fish are hitting, your bobber will disappear and the fight will be on.

Many anglers have found how much fun it is to catch bluegill by using a flyrod. When mentioning fly fishing, the image created in the mind's eye is on a pristine mountain stream and trout. For a variety of reasons, it’s not always that way.

Fortunately, today's flyrodders are as versatile as their plug-slinging counterparts and many are learning the joy of practicing their art on bluegill occupying our nearly endless supply of farm ponds.

It doesn't matter what time of day you get to fish, the bluegill will hit — which is a big plus and it is a good time because there won't be a lot of other anglers to compete with.

There are plenty of reasons to fish for bluegill including being easy to catch and find, you can use a lot of different lures or bait, nearly every body of water has a good population of them, they grow in big lakes and small ponds, they are caught by kids and grandparents, and they make for some fine dining.

What more can you ask from a fish?

White, a Stockton resident, has a versatile background in sports as a participant and journalist. His column appears weekly.

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