Best 9 Fishing Lures for Bluegill and Panfish

Best 9 Fishing Lures for Bluegill and Panfish

This article will list Capt Jim’s best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish. Bluegill and panfish are arguably the most popular fish in America. There are several reasons for this. Panfish are widely distributed. Most anglers live within a few miles of a good fishing spot. These diminutive gamefish put up a terrific fight on ultralight tackle. Finally, they are fantastic eating!

The best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish are;

  • Beetlespin,
  • Rooster tail spinner
  • Mister Twister grub
  • Rapala Ultralight Floating Minnow
  • Blakemore Roadrunner
  • Rebel Teeny Wee Crawfish
  • Gulp Alive Minnow
  • Betts popper
  • Rapala Jigging Rap

Many anglers use live bait such as worms and crickets to catch bluegill and panfish. However, artificial lures can be used successfully as well. This is particularly true for the bluegill. They have a fairly large mouth given their size. Also, they are probably the most aggressive species in the panfish family. Remember, largemouth bass are really just giant sunfish, and we all know how they can be taken using lures!

bluegill and panfish lures

Proper tackle for fishing with lures for bluegill and panfish

Without a doubt, ultralight tackle is the best approach when fishing for bluegill and panfish with artificial lures. It is important to have the right tackle when casting lures for panfish. Most anglers opt for spinning tackle. However, spin casting outfits are also used quite often. A quality rod and reel can be purchased for around $50 or less. 4 pound test monofilament line is a good all around choice. This will allow anglers to cast the very light lures a reasonable distance and results in a sporty battle.

Anglers can click on this link to shop at Amazon for an ultralight spinning rod and reel.

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Bass Pro Shops Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Bass Pro Shops”

1)  Johnson Beetlespin

The Johnson Beetlespin is Capt Jim’s “go-to” lure when fishing for bluegill and panfish. Beetlespins are number one on his list of best bluegill and panfish fishing lures! It is extremely productive on a variety of species. The Beetlespin is just a very small spinnerbait. This is a lure with a “safely pin” wire frame. A spinner blade rides on top and a jig/grub are attached to the lower arm.

This lure is very easy to use. Anglers simple cast it out, allow it to sink, then retrieve it back in slowly. Generally speaking, the slower the retrieve the better, as long as the blade is spinning. Best colors vary greatly. Water color will often dictate the most productive color to use. In darker water, darker grubs such as black and green work well. White and chartreuse are good choices in clear water.

Beetlespin baits are also quite weedless. This makes them a great choice in areas with submerged vegetation. Bluegill and panfish are often found in this environment. Anglers can cast into open spots in lily pads and other plants. Often times, casting parallel to a weed line will produce. Finally, these lures work great when trolling. This allows anglers to cover a lot of water in search of a productive area.

best panfish lures

beetle spin

Anglers can click on this link to purchase Beetlespin lures on Amazon.

2″ Mister Twister grubs on a jig head

A Mister Twister 2″ grub on a 1/16 ounce jig head is second on the list of best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish. This is a basic lure that is effective for just about every freshwater and saltwater fish species. These diminutive versions are extremely effective for panfish as well. Jigs are also very versatile and will produce fish in a variety of applications.  Colors are endless, but chartreuse is Capt Jim’s favorite color. They are also very effective when added to a small spinnerbait.

fishing for panfish with lures

Mister Twister jigs can be cast out to weed lines, docks, fallen trees, and other shoreline structure. The best technique is is cast the lure out, allow it to sink, then retrieve it back slowly. Jigs can also be fished vertically over structure in deeper water. Mister Twister jigs can also be trolled slowly to help locate schools of fish. They are a terrific, cost effective lure that catches a ton of fish!

Sarasota fishing report

mister twister

Anglers can shop for Mister Twister lures on Amazon by clicking on this link.

3) Rooster tail Spinners

The Rooster tail spinner is #3 on the list of best fishing lures for bluegill and panfish. Spinners are very effective freshwater fishing lures. Rooster tail spinner blades rotate and flash at very slow speeds. They also come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors. 1/16 ounce is an excellent size for panfish. However, anglers can go up to 1/8 ounce to catch larger fish.

Like most panfish lures, Rooster tails produce best with a slow, steady retrieve. Spinners work best in open water as the hook and blade will foul on vegetation. Rooster tail spinners are a fantastic choice in river and streams. Anglers cast across the stream and allow the lure to drift down on a tight line.

rooster tail

Anglers can click on this link to shop for Rooster Tail spinners on Amazon.

4) Rapala Ultralight Floating Minnow

The Rapala Ultralight Floating Minnow is number four on the list of the best 9 bluegill and panfish lures. These baits are not for anglers seeking numbers of fish. For the most part, these plugs will attract the largest bluegill and other panfish. They will also catch a lot of small bass. The lure is cast out towards likely structure and worked back in with an erratic retrieve.

Best panfish lures

The Ultralight Floating Minnow floats at rest and dives down a foot or two when retrieved. They are best used in shallow water. Productive colors include silver and white in clear water and gold in tannin stained water. Firetiger is a good all-round color choice.

Rapala Ultralight floating minnow

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Rapala lures in this link.

5) Blakemore Roadrunner

The Blakemore Roadrunner is number five on the list of productive panfish lures. These baits combine a jig and a spinner, sort of like a mini spinnerbait. It is a very versatile bait that can be used in any water depth. The dressing can be either marabou or plastic. They come in a variety of sizes. Once again, 1/16 ounce is the best all-round size for bluegill and panfish.

Best panfish fishing lures

Anglers cast them out to structure in shallow water. Again, they work west with a slow, steady retrieve. Roadrunners are a terrific choice when panfish are located in deeper water. In this application, a vertical presentation works best. Finally, Roadrunners are extremely effective when trolled and will catch a lot of crappie as well.

road runner

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Road Runner lures.

6) Rebel Teeny Wee Crawfish

Number six on the list of best fishing lures for bluegill and panfish is the Rebel Teeny Wee Crawfish. This is a bit of a specialized bait, designed primarily for fishing in streams and rivers. Crawfish are a top forage in flowing waters. Bluegill, warmouth, smallmouth bass and other species will take this bait. The best technique is to cast across the stream and bounce the lure off the bottom in an erratic manner. This will simulate a freeing crawfish.

bebel wee craw

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Rebel Wee Craw lures.

7) Gulp! Alive! 1 Inch Minnow

Anglers seeking to enjoy the best of both live bait and artificial lure fishing will like the Gulp! line of baits. These lures are heavily scented and really produce a lot of fish! They are particularly effective on days when the fish are less aggressive and the bite is slow. The Gulp! 1′ Minnow can be used on a plain hook under a bobber. However, it is most often employed on a very light jig head.

gulp alive minnow

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Alive baits.

8) Betts Poppers

Bluegill are notorious for attacking bugs on the surface. Popping bugs are very effective, particularly on aggressive bluegill. They are also great fun to fish! Most anglers cast poppers with a fly rod. However, when short casts will suffice, spinning tackle can be used. The bug is cast out close to structure such as lily pads, fallen trees, weed lines, and docks. After the popper settles, it is twitched which results in a “popping” sound. This will draw bluegill to the bait. Anglers can read more about Freshwater Fly Fishing in this article.

betts poppers

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for poppers.

9) Rapala Jigging Rap

The Rapala Jigging Rap is a time proven ice fishing lure for bluegill and panfish. The bait sits horizontally. Jigging Raps come in a variety of sizes and colors. The 05 size is 2″ and best for smaller gamefish. Perch is a great all-round pattern. It is lowered down into the water and jigged up and down gently. Subtle movements are best in the frigid water.

rapala jigging rap



Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Jigging Raps.

Click on the title link to read Capt Jim’s E-book Fishing for Crappie, Bluegill, and Panfish

In conclusion, this list of the best 9 fishing lures for bluegill and panfish will help anglers catch more of these tasty light tackle game fish!








Trout Fishing in Blue Ridge Georgia

Trout Fishing Blue Ridge

This article will focus on trout fishing Blue Ridge. North Georgia offers anglers some excellent fishing for brown trout and rainbow trout. There are some wild brook trout in the smaller streams as well.

Franklin North Carolina brown trout

There are several small rivers and many streams in the area around Blue Ridge, north of Atlanta that offer anglers the chance to catch trout. Georgia has approximately 4000 miles of trout streams. Most of these are on private property, but there is still plenty of public access. The best fishing is usually on the private stretches as they get less fishing pressure. Many consider Fannin County to have the best and most diverse freshwater trout fishing.

Most of the trout are stocked fish. These streams are generally not fertile, due the the calcium deficient soil. That, and the need to provide fish for over 100,000 anglers annually results in the need for stocking and special regulations. Following the stocking schedules can be crucial to achieving success, especially on the public waters.

rainbow trout fishing in Franklin

Trout can be caught year round by anglers trout fishing Blue Ridge Georgia. The tailwaters of the Toccoa River as it flows from Blue Ridge Lake provides a consistent water temperature. Some of the best trout fishing occurs in the colder months when angling pressure is virtually non-existent.

Trout fishing Blue Ridge Georgia techniques

Anglers trout fishing Blue Ridge Georgia can take trout using several different methods. Many anglers use the classic technique of fly fishing. Spin anglers do well using artificial lures such as small Roostertail, Mepps, and Blue Fox spinners. Many of the streams and rivers allow anglers to use live bait as well.

Fly anglers use from 3wt to 6wt outfits, with a 5wt being a good all round choice. Floating lines and 9 foot 3x to 6x leaders are used. Lighter 3wt-4wt outfits work well for anglers hiking up into the mountains to fish the smaller streams. Jennifer uses Moonshine Rod Company fly rods. These are reasonably priced, work great, and come with a spare tip. Anglers do not need to spend a ton of money to go trout fishing northwest Georgia.

fli fishing Franklin North Carolina

Fly-fishermen do well to mimic the insects that are hatching that day. Popular patterns that match hatching flies include Blue-winged Olives, Quill Gordons, Hendricksons, Sulfurs, and Pale Morning Duns. Caddis flies are usually black-, tan- or olive-bodied, sporting blonde wings. Jennifer’s favorite dry flies are the Chubby Chernobyl and blue wing olive.

Nymphing for Blue Ridge trout

When no bugs are seen hatching, fly anglers should choose nymph patterns that match these same insects. Copper John, Prince, Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail are effective patterns. Colors patterns are commonly dark or light, but the Copper John comes in green, red, blue, copper and chartreuse colors. Jennifer’s favorite nymphs are Euro style nymphs tied locally by her friend Justin Aldrich.

fishing franklin North Carolina

One extremely effective technique is to use a dry fly with a nymph dropper, or even two. Many are familiar with this, commonly called the “popper dropper” rig. A large attractor dry fry is used with a nymph on an 18” to 24” dropper. Experienced fly anglers can add a second fly. However, this can be difficult for the novice to keep from tangling.

While the large dry fly can draw a strike, the primary use is as a strike indicator. It also suspends the nymph(s) at the proper level in the water column, reducing the number of snags. Nymph casters can eliminate the dry fly and use a standard strike indicator as well.

Trout fishing Blue Ridge with spinning tackle

Spin anglers will do well with a simple ultralight spinning outfit spooled up with 4 pound monofilament line. Anglers can bump it up to 6 pound line when fishing the Toccoa River, particularly when the water has a bit of “color” to it. Small inline spinners work very well, as do tiny spoons.

trout fishing blue ridge

Anglers seeking that trophy brown trout can cast a small Rapala plug. These won’t produce many strikes, but they will be big fish! Check current regulations, many streams require single hook artificial lures to be used. All of these lures produce year round. Larger lures work best early and late in the season and day. Smaller lures will draw strikes mid day and in the summer time.

Blue Ridge trout fishing seasons

Spring is an excellent time of year for trout fishing north Georgia. Fish are aggressive as they have received little pressure in the winter. Jennifer likes to start with a large surface fly such as a hopper. It will draw some terrific strikes! If the bite is slow or the trout seem reluctant, she adds a Pheasant Tail or Copper John dropper to get the bite going. A second dropper with a tungsten bead head will get down quickly and increase the odds of catching a trout.

Anglers trout fishing North Georgia in summer can catch fish, but it requires a change in tactics. Recreational; traffic is heavy. Tubers and kayaks will be thick as people enjoy the summer weather. Anglers will need to fish early and late. Jennifer enjoys taking advantage of the dry fly bite in summer. Her favorite fly is a # 12 Blue Wing Olive pattern. She will add a dropper if the trout refuse to rise to the dry fly.

trout fishing Blue Ridge

Fall trout fishing tips

Fall trout fishing in northwest Georgia can be outstanding! Cooling water temperatures and less fishing pressure will improve the chances of success. Anglers can drift dry flies, nymphs, and droppers. The same patterns that produced in spring will work well in the fall. Jennifer likes to cast streamers this time of year. They produce less in terms of numbers, but larger streams will catch larger trout. Big bait equals big fish! Her favorite streamers are # 6 Bunny Leeches and Slump Busters.

Winter trout fishing in Northwest Georgia can be very good, but is does require a change of tactics. Hatches are not present. Anglers need to fish low and slow. A Wooly Bugger dead drifted through a hole or run will produce. A dry or strike indicator will reduce snags. Spin fishers can slow roll a large inline spinner to fool a trophy. Fish will not be active or chase a bait, so anglers need to cover the entire area thoroughly.

Trout fishing Blue Ridge Georgia waters


The Toccoa River is a gorgeous stream that flows through northwest Georgia. There are two distinct sections; the tailwater below the Blue Ridge Lake Dam and the river upstream from the lake. The water below the dam has a lot of public access. This gives anglers without access to private water a good chance to catch fish.

Much of the Toccoa River upstream from the dam is private. These is access, but less than on the tailwater side of the river. Anglers can fish this stretch of river by hiring a guide. There are also stretches that can be floated by trout fishermen with a boat. Due to the lack of access and private water, this portion of the river can be very productive. There is also a delayed harvest in this section,


This beautiful little stream offers good fishing for numbers of fish. It is stocked and most of it is on private land. Fightingtown Creek is a perfect size; it is small and easy to wade and fish. However, it is large enough that fish are not ultra-spooky. One great way to experience this fishing is to rent one of the many cabins that are right on the creek. They are affordable and have a great “ambiance”.


Noontoola Creek is a gorgeous little trout stream in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Forest Road 58 offers fly anglers access at many different locations. The scenery is stunning and the fishing is excellent in the pools and riffles of this stream. The area near Noontoola Falls where Long Creek comes in is a particularly good area of the creek.


Hothouse Creek and Mineral Bluff near the Curtis Switch is another good little stream. Much of this flows through private land however is accessible from the bridge. This is a smaller, more technical stream, but offers good fishing to patient anglers.


Hemptown Creek is another productive trout fishing stream in North Georgia. Is conveniently located just a few minutes east of Blue Ridge Lake and eventually empties into the Toccoa River downstream from the dam. Several bridges and turnouts offer access to anglers waiting the creek.


Chattahoochee National Forest has many miles of small streams that the adventurous trout angler can explore. Service roads offer parking and access. The scenery is fantastic and anglers looking to get off the beaten path will enjoy this experience.

In conclusion, anglers trout fishing Blue Ridge Georgia will enjoy this stunning scenery and outstanding freshwater trout fishing that Fannin County offers.