I recently had the privileged to visit Lake Sugema in southern Iowa for some great bluegill fishing. A 574 acre lake built in the early 90's. This lake has tons of standing timber, deep humps, well established shorelines and many different types of structure and cover. In other words, the Iowa DNR really did a great job on this lake. It has been known for some time as a great bluegill fishery so I decided to give it a try.
I spent four days enjoying this wonderful lake catching many big bluegills. Conditions were a little different than I expected. This lake is typically very clear as the drainage basin is a shallow area with small creek feeders instead of larger rivers as the source. This year the area has received more rain than a typical year in the Amazon so things were a bit shook up. The water was very muddy. Close to the dam one could see a one inch tube for about a foot down before the brown engulfed the bait. Heading even halfway up the lake the lure could only be seen for a couple inches. The lake was high and the trees and grasses that lines the shore were submerged. I would estimate that the shoreline was 6-8 feet further back than normal.
For the first few days, it was cloudy and breezy with intermittent rain. While the conditions were not so comfortable, the fishing was so good that one barely noticed. We could just follow the shoreline looking for unique structures or changes in the bottom that may hold fish. Areas such as a transition from trees to grassy shore or knots of isolated trees that had been flooded to create a sort of hump in the water were most productive. The murky conditions allowed us to jam the boat right into the cover so all that was needed was to swing the lure a few feet to get it to the right spot. Dropping it between branches or behind stumps was a breeze.
The most productive rigs were 1.5 inch tubes or 1 inch twister tails. Colors that worked in one combination or another were blue, white, yellow, red and chartreuse. Slow trolling, swimming or gentle jigging would get them fired up to bite.
On the last day there the weather finally broke and we had a warm sunny day. Expectations were high for some good bluegill fishing. And while the end result was still outstanding, it was a much harder catch than the previous days. It appears that the sun gave us away and the fish were more shy to bite. As this was figured out, we simply backed away from the shore and made casts into the structure. This did result in more hooked limbs but that is where the fish were living.
All in all it was an outstanding trip with buckets of fish being caught over a few days. I would definitely recommend this destination to any serious bluegill angler. We stayed at Pine Ridge Retreat just up the hill from the north boat ramp. Accommodations were excellent. We had a nice little cabin that could sleep up to 4 with a small kitchen and a charcoal grill to prepare our fish. A small living area and complete bathroom let us spread out and relax after a long day on the water and rejuvenate out batteries for the next day.
This is a must do if you are a bluegill angler that likes an occasional road trip. A relaxing get away with excellent fishing.