Well, I too, am ashamed

But I have never sought the company of panfish while fishing with a fly rod. I think bluegill and
crappie are great companions, but I just never have thought to chase them. So, I have been
thinking of taking up the cause. So, I have come, hat in hand, to ask for suggestions on fly types.
line/leader combinations, and anything else that you might think would help an old beginner.

I have a 2 wt that I would like to try, I think maybe some yellow and perhaps cricket type flies.
Where am I wrong?

Brad Niemeyer

Old School Member
No judgement, no shame.

Think small nymphs. Size 14-16 hare's ear, prince or soft hackle of any type work best. Around here topwater action is not easy to find. You can find willing bluegill and pumpkinseeds looking up but it's
not all that often. Dry flies work fine if you can find a school near the surface with interest on a sunny day. Use a 3x-4x leader and a floating line. Find the schools of fish first. Spawners will be found near shore in dinner plate sized redds of sand and pebbles. Males will attack anything that comes near the redd. With warm water panfish its generally not a big deal to target spawners as long as you release them. Look for weed lines, the edge of lily pads, and submerged tree branches. Crappie are really fun if you can locate them. Of course you will certainly run into some bass when you try for bluegill, so be ready for a big surprise wrestling match.

As a kid, I learned to fly fish on panfish ponds in Connecticut. I've probably caught and released 5,000 panfish. Now I go with my son and we have a ball with his 7' 4 weight fiberglass fly rod.

Go get em!

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
One thing I always liked was cheap poppers that would twist up the line when casting. The line untwists when the popper is on the water and the flopping is irresistible to fish

Brad Niemeyer

Old School Member
I never had good results with poppers (for panfish). Poppers are fun but, 8 out of 10 hits result in no hook up ( for me). Really small (#14) foam spiders do better, but unweighted nymphs will bring in more and larger panfish....
Great pics, Brad. I like the outfit on the youngster. Got him started correctly.

I am thinking that maybe I would try some small spider types on a floating line with a
weighted fly or leader. I have caught a lot of blue gill on crickets using live bait but that
was with a spinning rod and not a fly rod. I hope I didn't offend with the word spinning.
I sin on occasion. The blue gill would take the cricket as soon as it hit the water. Maybe
some dark surface patterns also.
I've always had good luck with your namesake- the olive bugger. This past summer I was bass fishing over in the Fall City area with some Lefty's Deceivers I'd tied up. They were about 4" long. I had bluegill slamming them.
Yes, I find the Olive and black bugger to be good most places. I suppose I should get busy and
fill a fly box with some patterns for the summer months. After all, May is only five months away.


Active Member
Almost anything will work,,,it;s all in the presentation. Having said that, Small anything would be at the top of my list. Poppers are the most difficult, plenty of hits, but you gotta be quick on the hook set.
Ear plugs absorb water pretty easily so I would assume with the ear wax to polong use till drying is necessary.

If you've found a brand that dosen't absorb water easily, I would like to know since I use hearing protection in my job regularly.
Damsel nymphs sight casting with a two weight is a blast for panfish! Most of the I-5 corridor (Fed Way) lakes all have panfish. Last year had a huge bass on for at least .00005 seconds!

Latest posts