Around the area, the heat pulled water temps into the high 70's to mid 80's. Thermoclines are certainly part of the equation if you're trolling in the main basins of the larger lakes. The rain clouded up the water, but with the usual exceptions (Moose, Lac Labelle) the lakes and creeks are high, but not flooded out. The changing weather patterns complicated fishing some this week. Fish were still biting, but activity levels and strike zone size were great pre-front, but afterword, the bite was more limited. Afternoons and evenings have been better than early in the day. 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 photo-cycle and the length of day start to affect the fish, and you can expect to see activity levels peak and ebb during each day.
Bluegills are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for crappie to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend 12-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water. Tightling was solid this week, but I heard of some folks finding some solid batches of keepers with slip bobbers with plastics tipped with live bait.
Largemouth On sunny days, the fish are piled up on shallow docks. 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 and they'll be feeding on rocks or weed/rock transitions close to docks. 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 weed- edges 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 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 or poppers in natural patterns can get you started, but be ready to switch to tubes, wacky, skirted grubs, drop shot rigs or even 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. Tip: Slow and steady won the race this week, even ahead of the weather change.
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 weededges or drop-offs in 8-12 or 22-25 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. Trolling with bottom bouncers and spinner harnesses or drifting with live bait rigs are great ways to target these fish.
Northern pike activity has been on the slower side all summer, Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water.
Musky reports have been spotty over the past couple of weeks, but topwater early and late, or trolling deep has turned a few (stress on the few) fish the last 10 days. For the next run, look for them to over weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water , or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite.
Good Luck and Cheers.
Friday, August 4, 2017
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