Holy cow, it is both a Friday and we are into August. This summer is cruising by.
Water temps around the area are in the low to mid 80's. Typically temps are starting out around 81-83 and as the heat of the afternoon sets in, some of the shallow, darker bottom bays can get upwards of 87-88. That is very hot for our area.
This weekend looks to be a hot one as well. Be prepared, drink lots of water, and fish in the shade if you can.
Panfish are in the summer pattern. A few are still in the dense shallow weeds, but the large majority of fish are suspended in deep water. Look for schools of fish 14-22 feet down over deeper water, or along the bottom in 18-22 feet. Slip bobbers or tightline vertical presentations are you best options, and if you can get a good drift going, that's your best bet. Panfish leeches, plastics tipped with waxies, leaf worms or chunks of nightcrawler will work. For now, its probably best to skip the minnows.
Largemouth bass fishing has been surprisingly good the last week all things considered. Lots of fish are suspending just off of mainlake structure that has a steep drop into deeper water. If you're out early, you can connect with some of these fish on topwater until about 8:30am, then you'll have to go deeper. Shallow fish are using the docks and isolated clumps of weeds along rock/weed transition areas. Flipping jigs, or skipping plastics has been very effective, and has even pulled in some decent fish. The slop bite is on, but it has been better mid-morning to midday, and dropping off a bit in the heat of the afternoon. Out deep: crankbaits, drop shots, big texas rigged worms (10-12") and slow rolled spinnerbaits are catching some fish around deep weed edges and major points.
Smallmouth bass fishing was so/so the last week. Lots of fish are cruising the shallows, but getting a consistent bite has been very tough. This time of year, that's indicative of one thing: the crayfish molt is imminent. If the weather does cool off next week as predicted, and we start to have days with highs in the low 80's, watch out. Schools of smallmouth will be patrolling the rockbars and shallow rocky points looking for soft shells. It is traditionally one of the best runs of bass fishing in our area every year, and it is set to happen soon. Last year I got a 22" 5.8lb smallmouth during this run, and I can assure you I won't be missing much time on the water this year. Skirted grubs, jig and chunks and tubes in natural patterns work great, as does the old standby, the Rebel Crawfish.
Walleye fishing continues to be a hit or miss proposition. On cooler days with some wind/cloudy conditions, some anglers are catching fish out of the weeds vertically jigging the holes with live bait. Evening fishing has been about average, with lindy rigs and nightcrawlers catching most of the fish. A few anglers are trolling at night, but I haven't heard too many positive reports. Not sure if that's less people fishing, or the bite is so good that mum's the word. I'd lean towards the former, but you never know unless you hit the water.
Pike fishing has been slow and steady. Lots of smaller pike are chasing spinners, lipless cranks and buzzbaits around mid-depth weed clumps, but bigger pike have been hard to come by this year. If conditions change a little, and we start to see some cooler temps, expect to see the big girls move to the deep weededge and start to feed. The photocycle will start to trigger some more fish to chase yellow perch or small suckers into the weeds.
Musky fishing...it is simply too hot. If you're going to give it a go, hit the weedlines early with bucktails or big rubber, then move out and troll over the deep basins. A few fish are using current areas with lots of baitfish, but they have been hard to catch.
Good luck out there. Be safe, and get ready for the early fall fishing bonanza.