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Fishes' forage base starting to peak

Summer is officially here by the date on the calendar and we have just experienced our longest daylight of the year. That means the entire forage base for fish start to peak also.

We are winding down from the mayfly hatch that put a dent in the fishing for a few days on a few of our area lakes. The fishing was tough when the sun was bright and the water was flat. Thankfully we have not had too many of those types of days. I know some of the tourists love that weather when they are on vacation, but we fisherman love that 70-degree cloudy day with a 15 mph wind out of the west.

The walleye bite has been pretty steady on most lakes in the 19 to 24 foot water off of main lake points or mid-lake structure. A jig and minnow or leech, or rigs with minnows, leeches, or crawlers have been producing. On a few area lakes the walleyes are still relating tight to weed edges, and a slip bobber and leech combo can extract them from cover.

Muskie fishermen are having success pitching baits to the large flats on both Big Detroit and Pelican Lake.

Pan fish are active in the weeds on area lakes as are the Bass. Small jigs/plastics work well or small jigs with bait under bobbers.

It is difficult for some of the shore anglers to take advantage of some of the better bite happening off the deeper breaks now. You can still catch pan fish, bass and the occasional northern. If you are willing to wade in the water after dark you can catch shallow water walleyes feeding at night pitching minnow imitating crank baits. Current areas will work best for this presentation.

For those that don't have the opportunity to fish out of a boat and want to keep expenses at a minimum, you might consider a short drive to Mille Lacs Lake to take advantage of the launch fishing trips. A four-hour guided launch trip costs $35. The night ban has been lifted so you can do a morning, afternoon, evening or night trip. Many resorts all around the lake offer these trips.

For the elderly in the area looking to get on the water, we are fortunate to have the "Lets Go Fishing" program. You can fish and be assisted on your pontoon fishing trip by volunteers. For more information on the program call 844-5106.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)

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