Summer fishing action is good for all species
Summer has come in with a roar. The holiday weekend had some of the nicest weather most of us can remember for many years. We had many visitors to our area lakes and they were busy fishing. This last week has been more like July weather. The hot days, bright sunshine, and warmer nights have warmed water temps from the 50’s last week to the high 60’s. Look for us to get back to a more normal weather pattern, and as we do, the fishing will be more consistent, especially with the walleyes.
Bass opener was great for the bass fishermen, and sight fishing bass is still in play. Bass anglers were smiling with finding the shallow bass tightly schooled and willing to bite.
The crappie and sunfish action was great over the Memorial weekend and this last week. This week should find pan fish continuing activity in the shallow water.
Walleye action on area lakes was up and down with the weather and sun. Shiner minnows were the best bait with leeches and crawlers also taking some fish. Jigging and live bait (lindy or roach) rigging continue to be the best presentations. Look for the crawler and leech bite to continue getting better as the water temperatures rise.
Another indication the crawler and leech bite will improve is evidenced on your vehicles windshield. You have probably noticed that many bugs have hatched, including some mayflies. Some of the lakes that have hatched mayflies are hatching several weeks earlier than the past several years. We will have more hatches, and look for lakes to hatch at different times. Lakes that are in the middle of a hatch can be a challenge to catch fish on until the hatch is over.
Many walleyes were still shallow through the week, but have started to transition off the flats to the edges that break to deeper water. The mid-lake structure will start becoming a factor in the next couple of weeks.
Several lakes have produced above average sized perch so far this early season. The perch hatches of the last several years have been very good. Perch are excellent eating and the jumbo perch have been a welcome guest to the dinner table.
With jigs being such a significant part of the early season fishing, it is important to learn how to hook minnows to take advantage of how you are jigging. If you are moving quickly with the jigs and fishing with bigger minnow, it may be advantageous to fish with a longer shank jig. You can go deep in the mouth and hook the minnow behind the back of the head (trying not to give them a lobotomy), or go in the mouth, out the gill, and come back with the hook through the back or side of the minnow. You won’t tear as many minnows off the hook, and you will improve your hook setting percentages.
When going vertical or moving slow, you can use the long shank with minnows hooked like mentioned above, or use short shank hooks with the minnow hooked in the mouth and out the top of the head with the mouth tight to the jig. When pitching jigs, you can try both, or pin the minnow through the bottom and top of the nose for some minnow wiggling action as you lift and drop the presentation.
If using plastics, make sure you get jigs with bait holders on them. The jigs with the bendable wire work best. Make sure you set time aside to get out and practice, practice, practice!
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)