July and August are in my opinion the instigators of awesome mid-summer fishing. The dog days of summer are a myth. Someone who had a dog started this “fake news” long ago—lol. In reality, the fishing this time of the year is at its peak—for all species of fish. And why not? As the water temps boil so do the metabolisms of the fish– which means they burn more calories, which means they eat more, which means we catch more. See what I mean? The problem is what to write about, so I have decided to do a July/August sampler. A bunch of short blurbs of hot summer options that come to mind.
1. Walleyes in the shallow weeds. Yup, I said shallow weeds—preferably cabbage weed, but any thick lush weed can work. I’m talking weed beds, weed flats, inside weed lines (the weed edge closest to shore, not the deep water weed line) or shallow outside weed edges—all in the 5-10 ft range. Of course if the water is brown vs clear it can be shallower yet. Work the edges or tops of these weed beds by casting or dragging jigging Rapalas at a fast pace. Hit the weeds once in a while and tear the bait free. Another option are swim baits and/or plastics worked the same way. Forget the deep walleyes, the hogs are always shallow. Anytime of the day is good.
2. Sunset Largemouth and surface baits. Hit the edges of the slop, lily pads, docks or comb the tops of big weed flats. Slow moving surface baits like a good old fashioned Jitterbug or the plain jane cackling of a buzz bait are easy to use options. Whatever you choose, pick something slow and easy to grab if you’re a fish in the dark, throw in some watery noise and hang on. Use a long rod with a forgiving tip in case your hooksets are premature. The soft tip will allow the fish a tad more time to inhale the bait and also has a built in delay you might need if your trigger happy. I usually don’t pay attention to the bait and only set the hook after I feel the fish—not when I hear the fish.
3. Suspended Summer Crappies. Most anglers give up on the big slabs when the spring bite is over. Mistake! Crappies can form huge schools during the summer. Find the suspended schools over deep water with your sonar during the day. They love to hang off weedy points that cut out into the lakes basin, little “cuts or nubs” along lengthy straight massive deep weed lines or off the sides of underwater humps that have weeds growing on the tops. Typically they will roam around these objects suspended at the weed line depth. So if the weed line is at 12ft, they may be suspended over 30 ft of water (usually 50 yards of less from the structure) at 12 ft. That is also the depth they will be feeding at. The crappies will simply swim to the weed line as dusk approaches to feed. Once you figure out their “contact point” your set. The fish will generally be there every night. Simply cast a 1/16 oz tub jig, count it down to the “fishy depth” and slowly swim it back to the boat. The fish will typically eat the bait within the first few feet of the retrieve. Pay attention to the surface near these areas as well-especially during an insect hatch.
4. Jumbo perch deluxe. Why wait for winter. Sleep in and head out around 9 am. There can be huge perch roaming deep weed lines or even the nearby mud flats. Make sure to also check mid lake rock piles. –that’s a secret by the way. Search and destroy is the key. Cover water fast to find these roaming scavengers. I like to use a 1 oz. bottom bouncer with a JB Lures hot flash series crawler harness. Use a small blade like a #2 Indiana and tip the harness with a night crawler chunk. A gold blade is a good choice. Move the boat around 1-1.5 mph. Depths can
vary but the 15-30 ft range is a consistent window. The bonus are the walleyes and big bluegills you will catch as well.
5. Eelpout on crankbaits. Just kidding, that’s an attention getter lol. Seriously, a good #5 option is the forgotten deep water northern pike. A good way to catch a summer monster is to fish them deep. Everyone can catch shallow warm water eater sized pike, but the bigger pike like cold water like a trout. Key on mid-range walleye spots in that 20-35 ft. depth profile. Mid lake sunken humps topping off in that depth range, deep under water points intercepting deep water (50-80ft), and deep weed lines next to deep water all have potential to hold a big old water wolf. If these areas connect with the thermocline—perfect! Keep an eye on the sonar, because the big pike mark easily. The areas I described can also hold walleyes—which is important. Now get out the deep water muskies baits, giant jig/plastic combos, deep diving monster crankbaits, or the biggest live bait you can find on a live bait harness and start fishing. Oh yeh, you are going to need a bigger net.
Well there ya go, a short 5 topic burst of a few fun things to do when fishing on a hot July or August day. Next year I will do 5 different options. Until then, enjoy the rest of the season. Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun! Captain Josh Hagemeister, Minnesota Fishing Guide Service. www.minnesotaguideservice.com www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com 320-291-0708, 218-732-9919