Bug hatches make for challenging fishing
We have finally started to have summer. The water temperatures in the last week have climbed about five degrees on most lakes and are now around 70 degrees. What this means for most anglers is that you will contend with several bug hatches and an increase in forage due to the explosion of the perch hatch. The lakes start to come alive with several and increasing food sources for the fish.
The bite has remained good in our area, but if you had a couple of challenging days over the last week, it is probably due to the high availability of food for the fish due to these hatches. It is hard to compete against Mother Nature. Pay attention to the bodies of water you fish and make adjustments. Not all lakes have a full-blown mayfly hatch at the same time. You increase your chances by focusing on a lake that has not had a hatch yet, or a lake that is several days past hatch. It is difficult to catch fish on a lake that is in the middle of a hatch. You can still scrounge some fish if you work at it, but the results will be different than your previous outings, so lower your expectations.
Changing to leeches and crawlers during this period can increase your odds. They seem to produce a little better during the "bug" bite period. Focusing on weed fish can be another tactic that can bring a few fish to the boat. Fishing during the lower light periods of the early morning, late evening, or even fishing at night can improve your odds in these circumstances.
I know some experts say that these hatches don't affect the fishing. Some say that about cold fronts also. These must be the same people that don't believe in climate change, the moon landing, or the fact that the destruction of the rainforest has an effect on the ecosystem. Any of us that put time on the water and fish through these conditions know that they have a dramatic influence on fishing success.
When you do catch some fish and clean them, pay attention to what is in their stomach. Learning to "match the hatch" is a valuable observation that can help you with adaptations that can improve your success.
During this heat of the summer period, it is important to drink plenty of water while you're out in the boat. Sometimes it doesn't feel as warm on the water as it does on the shore due to the breeze coming across the lake. The heat, sun, reflective nature of the water, as well as the wind can dry you out in a hurry. The heat index can actually be higher even though it doesn't feel like it.
One other reminder. With the State of Minnesota shutdown, the supervision at public accesses will not be present. This does not mean you get to slack on being vigilant in taking precautions not to spread invasive species. Clean your trailers, drain your live wells, pull your plugs, and empty your baitwells. Do not transport water from one lake to another. I hope this state shutdown is a short one.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)