10 Best Bluegill Lures + Buying Guide

Updated on November 21, 2021 by

Bluegill are one of the most common fish species in North America. Many anglers first get their start in the world of fishing by using a small hook and a worm to catch these colorful fish. You don’t have to be a kid, however, to enjoy a day on the water catching bluegill. 

These fish can grow to sizes of a few pounds in the right conditions and are considered to be among the best table fare of any freshwater fish species in the United States. There are a number of different tactics you can use to successfully catch bluegill and they are some of the easiest fishing techniques. 

We will cover the best bluegill-catching strategies for anglers, as well as 10 of the best lures for bluegill in this article. 

Quick Summary – Best Bluegill Lure

Bestseller No. 1

Bluegill Overview 

Bluegill have a reputation for being an incredibly feisty fish species that can usually be found in the shallows around freshwater lakes and rivers. Despite their small stature, they are known for being able to put up quite a fight against the most skilled anglers. Many professional bass anglers might not be enthused about bluegill biting their lures, but those of us who still enjoy catching them can get plenty of enjoyment from using the right kind of lures in the right situations. 

Bluegill are typically found throughout the entire United States and can be caught any time of the year, even in frozen lakes where the water temperature is at frigid levels. Bluegill are also known as panfish, blues, and a number of other names that often refer to their unique color pattern and blue coloration near their head. 

There are a wide range of bluegill varieties across the United States, but most of them are roughly the same size. You can usually find bluegill hanging out around submerged trees, stumps, logs, and other areas that provide these small fish cover from larger predatory fish. 

They are understandably skittish due to the fact that bluegill are among the favorite menu items for largemouth bass, catfish, and a few other larger freshwater fish species. The bluegill often have a very wide, stout profile, which is where anglers get the name ‘panfish’ from, due to the fact that these fish will fit very easily into a frying pan. 

If you drop any kind of bait or other objects into the water around the edge of a lake or river, the first fish to investigate will most likely be bluegill. These fish are very inquisitive and are incredibly determined when it comes to finding food in areas where other fish species might struggle to survive. They often feed on small insects that find their way onto the water’s surface, so you can expect them to take interest in almost any kind of bait or lure you throw into the water, initially. 

Bluegill will spawn in the late spring or early summer in shallow beds that are all combined and look very much like a honeycomb formation. During this time, bluegill will attack nearly anything that comes close to these beds in an effort to protect their eggs. The fish will lay eggs inside these small beds and the males will typically hang around for several days to guard their young while they wait to hatch. If you want to catch a trophy-sized bluegill, this is perhaps the best time to do it. 

These fish will mostly feed on any sort of small creature they can find from crawfish and mayflies to worms and virtually anything else they can find. Many of the most popular artificial lures that people use to catch crappie will closely resemble these creatures. 

Lures for Bluegill 

There are a few tried-and-true lures that anglers use to consistently catch bluegill. These lures are very easy to find at your local bait shop or from online retailers. If you plan to go fishing for bluegill, it’s a good idea to have a wide assortment of each of these different lures to maximize your chances of catching fish. 

Inline Spinnerbaits 

One of the best overall lures for bluegill are undoubtedly spinnerbaits. These lures can come in a wide variety of sizes and the smaller versions are usually better for bluegill. Keep in mind that the spinnerbaits we are referring to here are related to the smaller kind instead of the larger variety that are mostly used to catch bass and other medium or large-sized freshwater fish. 

There are a variety of different brands that manufacture these lures in different sizes with various hooks and spoon shapes. Some might work better when it comes to catching bluegill at certain times of the year, but in general, you can expect to draw some attention from bluegill with these lures by fishing them around the shallows at a particular lake or river, especially near cover or any sort of structure. 

The classic rooster-tail style spinnerbait is always a great choice of lure as it is small enough to fit inside the mouth of most bluegill. These rooster tails often come in a huge variety of different colors and styles and you should experiment with different ones to determine which type the bluegill in a particular lake or river will strike at. In most instances. The movement of the small spoon on these lures will be enough to lure bluegill into coming out of their hiding spot and take a closer look at the lure or even bite it. 

The combination of the lure’s color, along with the spinner or spoon is what mainly attracts bluegill to them. They are assumed to look very similar to small bait fish swimming through the water and the gold or silver colored spoon is designed to put off a certain type of vibration that closely mimics the underwater vibration caused by fish when they swim. The rooster-tail’s feather-like skirt is another part of the spinnerbait that helps to attract bluegill. 

One of the keys to using this style of lure is to vary the speed at which you retrieve the spinnerbait through the water. In many cases, fish will be actively feeding and might chase after a lure that’s moving at a slow or moderate pace. You can also have success by fishing this at a faster pace next to certain types of cover to help draw a fish out or cause it to strike at the lure out of instinct. 

You can also successfully get bites from bluegill by shortly pausing your retrieve and allowing the lure to fall down in the water column for a few seconds before again resuming your retrieve. Some anglers who routinely target bluegill with spinnerbaits will use a sporadic retrieve that involves twitching the lure and letting it fall before reeling it back up to the surface to entice these small, scrappy fish species to strike. 


Another highly popular type of lure that bluegill are known to be naturally attracted to are grubs. These lures are made by a wide variety of different manufacturers and come in a huge variety of different colors, shapes, and styles that are all useful when it comes to fishing for bluegill. These lures are typically rigged with a weighted jig head that allows you to fish them at a variety of depths if you choose. 

Most grubs feature a small, curly tail on the end that has a distinct motion as it is running through the water which makes it appear very similar to a small minnow or other type of bait fish. It’s best to use these grubs with a weight that’s no larger than a 1/64 or ⅛ ounce weighted jig head. 

Some of these grubs come in two-toned colors that very closely resemble certain types of grubs or bait fish that live in different regions of the United States. The most productive style of grub lures for bluegill will be the smaller versions that will be closer to the actual size of creatures that these fish are capable of eating. Some larger grubs may draw a few strikes from bigger bluegill, but you’ll have better overall success by using grubs that feature a smaller profile. 

When fishing with grubs, you can use a steady retrieve, or vary the speed at which you reel in the grub to appeal more to any bluegill in the area. These types of lures can be very effective for targeting bluegill in deeper waters where the weighted jig head will help the grub reach down to the right depth. You can usually count on grubs rigged with light jig heads to target bluegill in and around submerged trees and other structures in deeper waters. 


Most poppers will draw interest from bluegill, even if they are too large for the fish to fit the bait inside its mouth. It’s not uncommon to see an eager bluegill strike at an oversized popper and this can sometimes result in the fish becoming foul hooked in the process. There are a few different brands that make smaller poppers which are ideal for targeting bluegill. 

These poppers, like most other lures that are designed for bluegill, come in a wide variety of different colors, shapes and sizes. If the bluegill in a particular lake or river commonly feed on insects that fall onto the water’s surface, you can bet that using a small popper will be a highly effective option for catching a mess of bluegill. 

Some of the most popular styles of popper lures that bluegill will target and strike at have legs that extend out from the main body portion. These are designed to mimic a small spider or other insect that bluegill often love to feed on during the spring and summer months, on into the fall. 

When using these lures, you’ll want to allow the lure plenty of room to move past certain structures or over areas where bluegill tend to school up and take cover from the sun, as well as other fish that are known to feed on bluegill. As with any other topwater lure, you’ll want to use a series of popping motions to effectively fish the lure across the surface and catch the attention of any nearby bluegill in the area. 


Flies are a very effective lure for catching bluegill for a number of reasons. Most anglers consider them to be the most effective lure for catching these types of fish, but you have to pay close attention to the fish in your area and try to match the colors and size of the fly to the particular type of flies and other insects that are naturally occurring in the area. 

As you might suspect, flies are best used with a fly fishing rod and reel. Anglers who are just getting started using a fly fishing rod and reel will often use bluegill as a way to practice their casting technique and perfect their aim and retrieve before taking to the rivers and streams where they might target other species like trout or salmon. 

There are virtually endless variations of flies that you can use to effectively target bluegill and you might find that certain color combinations tend to work better in certain areas, or at specific times of the year. You can use flies with a spinning reel by tying them onto very light line such as 4 pound test fluoro or monofilament. 

Flies are most effective during the late spring and early summer, but can be used to effectively target bluegill at any time until the winter causes the population of small insects to die off or go into hibernation until the spring. If you plan to use flies to catch bluegill, it’s best to do a bit of research and determine exactly what kind of insects and flies are native to the area you’re fishing in. Knowing this will help you select or create your own flies that look very similar to the type of insects that bluegill will be feeding on during the warm summer months. 

10 Best Bluegill Lures 

1. Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit

Bestseller No. 1

There is no better lure for catching bluegill at virtually any time of year than a great quality inline spinner lure. Panther Martin is widely considered to be the best brand in this respect and their 6-pack Best of the Best kit is easily one of the most useful items you can purchase in your bluegill fishing venture. 

The Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit is recommended more for adults or kids who have a decent amount of experience fishing as you’ll have to be able to retrieve the lure at a steady rate in order for the spinner to work properly. These lures can also get hung up very easily in cover, so be sure that you don’t cast them too close to trees or other objects. 

These lures have a very small profile and are lightweight, which makes them ideal for fishing for bluegill at any time of the year. The variety of the lure kit is what truly makes this one of the best options for using to catch bluegill. You will probably find that a certain color lure from the kit works best at a particular time of year or on a specific lake or river. 

The Panther Martin spinners feature a small, but very sharp treble hook that’s guaranteed to be the ideal size for the small mouth that bluegill have. These lures are an outstanding choice if you are hoping to catch sizable bluegill as the specific vibration will seem very similar to the types of small bait fish that big bluegill love to hunt. 

2. Johnson Beetle Spin Lure

ON SALE $4.48 OFFBestseller No. 1

Another one of the best lures for bluegill is the Johnson Beetle Spin. This lure has been around for a few decades now and is a true classic in terms of overall effectiveness and ease of use. You can count on this unique spinnerbait style lure to be ideal when it comes to targeting large bluegill in the spawn or at other times of the year. This lure comes in a wide variety of different jig colors that can be paired with the Beetle Spin to give you the best possible advantage when it comes to bluegill. 

The lure works just like any other spinnerbait style lure as it has to be retrieved at a moderate pace in order for the spinner to work properly. These lures can be the difference-maker when it comes to fishing at times when bluegill are a bit more finicky and less likely to bite due to the weather or other factors. There are also a few different sizes of these lures that you can use to your advantage. 

3. Mister Twister Curly Tail Grub Lure

Bestseller No. 1

Grubs are among the most useful lures for bluegill when they are feeding at dawn and dusk. You can use any color combination with a weighted jig head to very closely resemble certain bait fish species that can be found in the particular body of water where you’re trying to catch bluegill. The Mister Twister Curly Tail Grub is arguably the best overall type of curly-tail grub that you’ll find on the market today and this brand produces a huge assortment of different color options for you to choose from. 

The lure’s curly tail is made to give this grub a distinct ‘swimming’ action that drives bluegill crazy and will usually bring them in for a closer look. Many bluegill will view these grubs as small bait fish swimming through the water and strike out of sheer instinct. You can use this type of lure in a wide variety of ways that lets you target bluegill at different depths in lakes or rivers. 

This grub can be paired with a ⅛ ounce jig head and thrown into brush piles or around the bank near trees and other structures to let you get into these areas and effectively target bluegill during the warm weather months. These species of fish are known to use any type of cover they can find as refuge from the sun and predatory fish like bass and other species. 

4. XFISHMAN Popper Lure

Topwater lures can be very effective when it comes to catching bluegill when they are feeding on the surface. There are only a few different topwater lures that are small enough for bluegill to actually strike at and try to eat. THe XFISHMAN Popper is a great option for targeting bluegill during the late spring and summer and even early fall when bluegill will be feeding on small insects that fall onto the water’s surface. 

If you fish this lure, you’ll want to use a very subtle retrieve that doesn’t spook the fish away. The best technique for using the popper lure is to periodically twitch the lure along through areas that you know will hold bluegill. The only potential downside to this lure is the price as it’s much more expensive than almost any single type of lure you could use to target bluegill. However, it’s a worthy investment that many anglers have great success with in catching monster bluegill that weigh more than a pound in some cases. 

5. Rebel Lures Crickhopper

Among the various topwater lures that are capable of drawing strikes from big bluegill, it’s hard to replicate the effectiveness of the Rebel Lures Crickhopper. This is one of the true classic lures that every angler who targets bluegill should own and add to their tackle arsenal. It comes in a variety of colors and can be very useful when fishing around areas near tall grass where bluegill are conditioned to strike at any grasshoppers that find their way into the water. 

This lure will dive down below the surface to a small degree, but it’s best fished as a topwater lure that you pop and twitch along the surface. This is another lure that’s a bit more expensive than most other bluegill baits or lures, but it is well-worth the investment for anglers who are looking to maximize their efforts when it comes to targeting bluegill in small ponds and rivers. 

You will likely have no trouble hooking any fish that does happen to strike at the Rebel Lures Crickhopper as the lure features two small treble hooks that are very sharp and designed to catch anything that strikes at the bait. When it comes to a solid summertime bluegill lure, this one is really hard to beat. 

6. Betts Bream Getter Lure

Bestseller No. 1

One of the most prevalent types of naturally-occurring creature that a bluegill’s diet consists of is small insects and spiders that live on the edge of lakes and sometimes venture out onto the water’s surface. In many cases, bluegill will wait patiently along the shoreline of a lake or pond and quickly strike at any type of creature that happens to touch the surface. The Betts Bream Getter is made to target bluegill in this same fashion as the lure is highly effective when these fish are looking toward the surface for their next meal. 

The lure is very easy to use and is incredibly lightweight. The only downside to using this style lure is that it is so light that you might have a hard time casting the lure out to a considerable distance unless you have an ultralight fishing rod that’s specially designed to do so. 

This lure might appear to be very simple and potentially unable to attract bluegill in the same way a popper or grub might, but don’t let the appearance fool you. The lure is among one of the most effective styles that avid bluegill anglers like to use throughout the spring and summer months. 

7. Rapala Ultralight Minnow

Bestseller No. 1

Sometimes, large bluegill will be more interested in chasing after certain prey that offer more substantial nutrients than the average insect or other creature. Big bluegill are known to hunt for small bait fish just like bass and crappie will and their unique coloration gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to ambushing their prey from within the shadows around underwater structure or cover. The Rapala Ultralight Minnow is an ideal lure for bluegill in these scenarios. 

This lure is 1.5-inches long and made to target smaller fish like bluegill and crappie. Rapala has a stellar reputation in the fishing industry as one of the best brands when it comes to producing plugs and lures that are meant to closely mimic a small bait fish. The Ultralight Minnow is designed with a number of different color patterns that allow you to select the one that’s going to appear to be similar to any naturally-occurring bait fish in the particular lake or river you are trying to fish for bluegill in. 

This lure has a slightly weighted body that produces a distinct wobbling motion when it is retrieved through the water. This motion, coupled with the appearance of the Rapala Ultralight Minnow are what makes it so effective at catching monster bluegill throughout the entire year. 

8. Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure

ON SALE $7.76 OFFBestseller No. 1

If you are seeking one of the most versatile bluegill fishing lures in the fishing industry, it’s hard to overlook rooster-tail lures. These types of bait are a classic that most anglers began using from a very early age. They are extremely easy to use and they come in a huge variety that lets anglers select the right color combination for the specific time of year or area they plan to fish. The Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure is quite possibly the best overall type of rooster-tail lure available today. 

This lure offers a very small, distinct profile that puts off a high amount of vibration as it runs through the water. It’s unique coloration and the gold or silver spinner help to make this lure stand out among other prey that venture into a bluegill’s habitat. These lures allow you to cover vast amounts of water in search of hungry bluegill and feature a small, but very sharp treble hook that is very effective at hooking anything that happens to strike at the rooster-tail. 

Depending on the size of the Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner, this lure can turn out to be quite expensive when compared to other options. However, having a healthy assortment of rooster-tail lures in your tackle box is a sure way to catch a load of bluegill any time of the year. 

9. Original Marabou Road Runner

Bestseller No. 1

It’s often hard to find a lure that is capable of replicating the action you get from a small jig with a spinnerbait style lure, but there is one unique style lure on the market that has been among the most popular types of bluegill lures available for many years. The Original Marabou Road Runner is another lure that most anglers would consider to be a true classic and an absolute must-have when it comes to the type of lure you need to successfully catch bluegill. 

The Road Runner is designed so that the small spoon spins as you retrieve it in a way that’s very similar to an inline spinnerbait or rooster-tail. This spoon is much smaller, however, than most other lures offer and makes the Marabou Road Runner a great choice when it comes to targeting bluegill. 

You can also fish this lure much like you would a weighted jig head and grub as it is capable of diving down to virtually any depth as long as you let it sink without retrieving it. You can have incredible success using this lure in a thick brush pile or around any other type of cover where big bluegill are often found. 

10. Rapala Jigging Rap

Bestseller No. 1

As we’ve already noted, Rapala is one of the most respected brands in the fishing industry and is known for making lures of exceptional quality. The Rapala Jigging Rap is no exception to this and is another solid lure option when it comes to targeting bluegill. This lure is one of the best choices for cold weather fishing when the lake’s water might be at a frigid temperature, or even frozen over. 

The Rapala Jigging Rap is known as one of the most popular ice fishing lures for its unique movement underwater and the overall level at which fish strike at this lure. The Jigging Rap is great for tossing into brush piles and jigging around underwater trees and stumps where bluegill are known to hide. 

You’ll have the most success using this lure in an up-and-down motion that involves lifting up on your rod and allowing the lure to fall back down as you retrieve it. You can also have success by fishing this lure vertically, jigging it up and down in areas where bluegill are known to hide. This is an excellent choice during the fall and winter when bluegill are not looking for insects, but instead are going to be prowling the waters looking for unsuspecting bait fish as their next meal. 

Last update on 2022-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Donny Karr

Donny Karr is a Tournament Angler and writer whose work has been featured in magazines for nearly a decade. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the south-eastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, The Outdoor Trip, Man Can Outdoors, Global Fishing Reports, and Bassmaster.

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