Hey gang, it was a mighty tough bite this week. Fish were still biting, but activity levels and strike zone size was limited. Water temps have come down a bit, but fish activity has not quite caught up yet.
As we move into August look for fish in the usual summer places, but watch for them to have periods of time where they feed actively. The changes in the photocycle and the length of day will be evident to the fish, and you can expect to see activity levels peak and ebb during each day. If the hot, muggy weather is behind us, things are set to get great.
Bluegills are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for them to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend over deeper sand-grass about 14-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water.
Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On sunny days, you can find them around shallow docks, wood laydowns, slop and scattered weed clumps. As the sun gets up, look for them to move tighter to overhead cover, but here will be periods of time during the day where their activity level will increase for a short spell. Be ready to switch tactics as they switch on and off, especially around transition areas and over flats where the topwater bite can really be fantastic.
Deeper fish will continue to use weededges and points in 12-18 feet of water, or be suspended over deep water about 6-12 feet below the surface. Some fish are relating to rockbars in 5-12 feet of water. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish.
Smallmouth are starting to move toward the early fall pattern of making 3-5 foraging moves each day. When you are contacting active fish in shallow water, the bite can be incredible. Topwaters, including size 9 or 11 rapalas, rattletraps/lipless cranks or poppers in natural patterns can get you started, but be ready to switch to tubes, wacky, skirted grubs or twister tails as the day progresses. When things are slower, look for them to be just off the first major break in deeper water. Crankbaits in white or chartreuse, spinners or live bait are better for the deeper fish.
Walleyes will continue to hold in their summer patterns for another couple of weeks, but they will quickly make a move to shallower weedy areas as the baitfish move in for their fall spawning run. For now jigging or backtrolling with live bait around weed edges or drop-offs in 8-12 or 15-19 feet of water is a good place to start, and be ready to adjust to deeper water on sunny days or shallower on cloudy or windy days. A few fish are appearing on mid-lake structure but many are staging off main-lake points, especially where there is bottom transitions from rock to sand or from sand to muck. Drifting with live bait rigs or jigs are great ways to target these fish.
Northern pike activity has been slow and steady all summer, and I wouldn't expect that to change. Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Spinners, buzzbaits, spoons, jerkbaits or lipless crankbaist are solid choices for action. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or slowly backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water.
Musky reports have slowed down over the past couple of weeks, but I suspect that has as much to do with the weather as anything. For the next run, start to look for them along visible weed breaks as well as over sumberged weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water. This is the early run, and you should look for some topwater or large bucktail action, or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite. Action will pick up considerably in the weeks ahead.
Good Luck and Cheers.