All the signs point to fall except the water temperatures. The trees are turning and it looks like an early peak to our fall colors. Coots, loons, and geese are gathering in large groups. Area football teams are well into their season and the Vikings have even won a football game already! This should mean fall fishing, but with the unseasonably warm weather after such a cool August, water temps remain in the mid 60s and have even gotten back up to 70 degrees this last week during the day.
As we close out the Labor Day weekend, we approach another great fishing opportunity, the September full moon. The moon will be full on Wednesday, Sept. 6. September and October full moons are not only good because we are transitioning into a fall pattern, but because you can enjoy fishing in the moonlight and still get home at a reasonable hour.
This last week has felt more like fall weather than our typical mid-August hot weather. The cooler weather and 50-degree nights have dropped water temperatures about 5 to 7 degrees in the last week on area lakes. This is the time of the calendar when we typically still have rising water temps that peak at their highs before Labor Day.
I end up with many kids in the boat throughout the season. The last couple of weeks I seem to have had many kids as young as 6 years old. This has prompted me to write about a few considerations when it comes to fishing with young kids and getting kids hooked on fishing. I have written before about my concerns with the declining number of young anglers. The first order of business is to get them out. It doesn't have to be in a boat. Catching fish from shore or a dock is still fishing and catching.
The hottest new craze over the last few years for walleye fishing has been the use of an ice fishing lure in the summertime. The lure is a "jig rap" and it is fished very aggressively. There are other brands like the "shiver minnow" and puppet minnow" that are also very popular. They are all very similar in shape and action. They are reaction strike baits meant to trigger reaction and aggression. They are heavy and sink fast.
The Mille Lacs Lake drama continues. The walleye season was closed on July 21 this season after being open for catch and release only. It will be reopened to walleye fishing August 12 and remain open for catch and release only through the Labor Day weekend and be closed again starting September 5.
Live bait rigging (commonly referred to as "Roach rigging" or "Lindy rigging" and named after hall of fame anglers Gary Roach and Al Linder) is a technique that has been working for catching walleyes for decades. It can be fished and work from opening day until the lakes ice up. It is a simple set up that consists of a weight with a hole in it that can slide up and down the main line, a barrel swivel works as a stop that also has a length of leader line with a hook.
Summer fishing success can be improved for multiple species if you learn to fish in and around weed areas. Some fish are always relating to the weeds. Not all weeds are created equal when it comes to holding fish, and in my experience, cabbage weeds are the best fish producers. Weeds provide shade, higher oxygen levels, and most importantly, food. Because of these factors, predator fish like musky, bass, northern pike, and walleye will take advantage of what the weeds have to offer.
This week I will try to answer some questions that I get asked by customers frequently. It is amazing how many times the same questions come up from people with different background and walks of life, and different parts of the country.
We have made it through the busy Fourth of July holiday with just what you expect of a Minnesota holiday weather experience. We started the weekend with a severe cold front, followed by a heat wave with scorching sun and no wind, making for flat water fishing conditions. Always following a heat wave here, we are greeted with severe thunderstorms and high winds. We got it all last week.