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Brad Laabs column: Fish are active and moving, be ready to follow

A Minnesota angler holds a walleye before releasing it. Forum News Service file photo1 / 2
Fishing Columnist Brad Laabs2 / 2

We are at the peak of the summer season now. Water temperatures have been in the upper 70-degree range and even touching 80 at times for the last couple weeks.

Everything has hatched, including very successful perch and sunfish hatches, along with multiple bug hatches. Food is very plentiful in the lakes right now. Fish are used to chasing young of the year hatches for food, and are keyed in on needing to chase to eat. This time of year can always be a good time to fish aggressively for the predatory fish you like to chase after.

Aggressive techniques for walleyes include trolling spinners or "slow death" rigs on bottom bouncers, snapping or ripping jigs tipped with minnows or plastics, trolling crank baits, casting crankbaits, or casting/trolling, or vertical jigging jigging rap or rippin rap type/style baits.

For crappies, trolling spinners with minnows/plastics, rip jigging twistertails/paddle tails/minnows, or trolling beetle spin type baits tipped with small minnows/plastics along edges of cabbage weeds (inside or outside) or on sharp weed line breaks produce aggressive strikes.

Musky anglers burn high action baits over weeds or troll large baits at speeds up to 4 mph.

Largemouth bass and northern pike love to attack spinner baits, lipless crank baits or aggressively jigged minnow/plastics now.

Smallmouth like to attack the tube jigs snapped rather than slow rolled now. Don't worry about getting sunfish active. No matter what you are doing now, they are biting, and are scattered for 2-22 feet!

For a period of time during this new hatch period, fish can be found shallow again as they key in on the young of the year perch and sunfish.

Low light due to cloud cover, wind, or a combination of both are a good time to check out the flats. Trolling shallows after dark can also be highly productive.

If you are having trouble graphing fish holding off edges and in deeper water, check out the shallow weed lines both inside edges and outside edges for active fish.

For fish that are out on the extended points and mid-lake humps, trust your electronics. Make sure that you fish where you see signs of life. Get in the habit of checking out "spots," but fish the fish or schools of baitfish you locate, and don't just fish "spots."

If you don't see anything as you drive over the location, check out another "spot" or two until you do locate fish. You can always check back on your other spots as fish dry up at locations.

Many times you may be able to get a few of the aggressive fish off a location and then the bite slows. Change up colors, presentations, and baits. If you don't trigger any more fish, move on and come back to the school again later.

The other spots you will want to check out should be similar to the one that you found active fish holding. This time of year the fish are active, moving, and can be more scattered along a structure than earlier in the season. Be ready to stick and move, stick and move, and stick and move again!

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)

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