Fishing goes as the weather goes
Fishing in our area has been good even though the weather hasn't been. We have had high wind, rain, cold, heat, humidity, thundershowers, and blue bird days with no wind, all in the last week. Welcome to northwest Minnesota weather. If you don't like it, wait ten minutes and it will change.
Through all of this inconsistency, fish have continued to bite. Like always, some days are better than others. The no wind, blue sky, flat water days are always the most challenging, especially for walleyes.
Why so much attention to weather when it comes to a fishing article? Because fishing is one of the most weather dependent sports I know when it comes to activity levels. Changes in barometric pressure, drops in water temperatures, changes in light penetration due to cloud cover (or lack of cloud cover) and wave action, all factor into creating changes in fish behavior. These factors may at times have more of an effect on the behavior of the fish's forage, which in turn, has an effect on the way fish behave.
You will experience the most consistent level of active fish during periods of stable weather, especially if the stable weather lasts for three days or more. A falling barometer indicates degrading weather moving towards stormy, rainy weather. Fish will typically move shallower and become more aggressive. This change can create a period of high fish activity.
As we get to low pressure, the weather is typically bad (stormy, windy, cold, and rainy). The longer this period lasts, the more you will see the deterioration of fish activity. They are less active and will have shorter periods of feeding activity.
When the barometric pressure starts to rise again we will experience improving weather and fish activity levels also start to improve. As we get to a period of high pressure, we will typically have clear skies and very little wind. The weather is great, but the fishing is usually not great at this time. I would still rather see you out fishing than on the golf course during high-pressure periods, so look for fish in deeper water or in weed cover.
With water temperatures remaining in the high 50s to 60-degree range the walleyes continue to relate mostly to shoreline breaks, especially were there is developing cabbage weed.
Shiners are getting ready for spawn and remain target forage for walleyes, bass, and northern pike. Jigs tipped with shiners or live bait rigs with about a four foot snell have been producing.
Crappies and sunfish have stayed in the shallow water with the water temps moving them to spawn. They have set up on spawning beds in about nine feet of water or less and the bite has remained fairly active with small jigs and crappie minnows under bobbers taking crappies and small jigs tipped with small leeches, minnow, pieces of crawler, or wax worms has been producing for sunfish. Fish for the pan fish suspended at approximately half the depth you are fishing (i.e. about four feet down in eight feet water). Adjust up or down to keep your presentation slightly above the depth of the suspended fish. When activity slows, move up or down the break line to re-locate active fish. Please remember to practice selective harvest and catch and release.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)