Bluegill are in most warm waters throughout Utah, and the best spots to hit for the biggest bluegill also are spread around the state.
They are easy to catch, surprisingly good fighters and make a tasty meal if you can catch some big enough to bother filleting. It should be about the size of your hand or bigger to have a decent amount of meat.
The peak target time for bluegill fishing in most Utah waters is late April through mid-June and again around October.
How to Catch Bluegill
The beauty of bluegill fishing is its simplicity.
Bluegill bite fast and often, so it’s one of the best ways to teach the kids how to fish. They won’t get bored bringing these guys in.
These popular sunfish nearly always hang around structure including aquatic weeds, docks and other places where they can hide out from bass and other predators while feeding on insects, worms and other small prey.
They are often relatively close to the shore, within easy reach for bank anglers. Bigger specimens tend to hold deeper off the shoreline than the little guys but often in similar areas.
The easiest way to catch them is simply threading a worm or piece of nightcrawler on a smallish hook and run it two to three feet under a bobber.
Mealworms, crickets and other natural baits also work well. Small lures including crappie jigs and casting spinners as well as wet flies and poppers are fun ways to catch them.
For much more on this topic, read our simple fishing tips and tricks to catch bluegill and other sunfish.
Best Bluegill Lakes in Utah
While bluegill are found in quite a few ponds and lakes around the state, the following offer some of your best odds both for great action and some bigger catches.
Pelican Lake is the best bluegill factory in Utah.
The northeastern Utah lake has enough bass to keep the bluegill numbers in check, letting the rest get bigger and more aggressive than other lakes.
The best tactic here are simply setting up a worm under a bobber and casting to likely looking areas. Once you find bluegill, the bite should be close to immediate.
Pelican Lake is also fairly close to other fantastic fishing areas in eastern Utah. It’s worth trying out and then continuing on to Red Fleet Reservoir and ultimately Flaming Gorge.
Mantua is about 30 minutes from Brigham City and offers excellent bluegill fishing.
These panfish can overwhelm the lake at times, so expect to catch some smaller fish, though a lot of them.
But there also can be some salad plate-sized bluegill here, including the Utah state record of nearly 2-1/2 pounds.
Ice fishing for bluegill and yellow perch is very popular at Mantua, and the success rates are generally very high.
Powell has so many bluegill they can become a nuisance when targeting other fish.
Easy to catch and easy to cook, these make a great option for fish tacos when you’re staying on a houseboat.
Cove and canyon areas are often good bets, especially if there is some submerged brush or similar structure.
Use a worm under a bobber with three feet of leader and you should be in business.
Powell is one of the best warm water fishing lakes in the West, and it ranks on several of our lists, including best walleye fishing in Utah. It’s also a crappie hot spot, and these panfish relatives are often caught nearby.
Bluegill are in every marina around Utah Lake and are prolific breeders. That’s good for the rest of the fish in the lake, as bluegill have become one of the main foods for bigger predators.
Worms and crappie jigs will do the trick on Utah Lake.
Huntington North Reservoir
Bluegill at Huntington North are primarily near the marina and the reeds on the western side.
There are plenty of areas to choose from, though the lake does get crowded in the summer.
Huntington North also has other fishing options, including being one of the top Utah spots to catch wipers (hybrid white and striped bass).
Pineview is another good bluegill fishery. A quick 20-minute drive from Ogden will get you to the shore.
Seek out the reeds and densely covered areas along the west side of the lake for the best bluegill spots.
Cemetery Point is also great, particularly along the west side. The structures and submerged trees along the point are prime panfish habitats.
More Bluegill Fishing Spots
As mentioned, bluegill are a very common species in waters that warm up significantly each summer.
Here are a few more spots to consider:
Red Fleet Reservoir
This northeastern Utah reservoir, just off U.S. Route 191 about 15 minutes northeast of Vernal, can be quite good for bluegill.
There is a state park here.
Sand Hollow Reservoir
Better known as a largemouth bass lake, Southern Utah’s Sand Hollow Reservoir also has a hearty population of bluegill that make a great meal after you’re finished catch and releasing bass.
The reservoir is a half hour from St. George.
Here’s another eastern reservoir near Vernal (just 10 minutes north) that can offer very good bluegill action.
Look for bluegill habitat at either shallow end (including the upper creek arm) and in the cove at the state park facilities on the west side, near the mid-point.