Brad Laabs: Use ice and coolers to keep fish, bait preserved in hot weather
It can help keep fish fresh by either putting a block of ice, or frozen water jug in the live well. Some anglers will put their catch in a cooler with ice also when the weather and water temps get like they are now.
Water temps around the Fourth of July had climbed to over 80 degrees on area lakes. That is as warm as I can ever remember, especially for this time of the year.
The rain of Tuesday and the cold front of Wednesday helped bring water temps back down to a (still high) upper 70 degrees. Due to the high water temps, water in live wells and bait wells will not hold as much oxygen for fish or minnows. It can help keep fish fresh by either putting a block of ice, or frozen water jug in the live well. Some anglers will put their catch in a cooler with ice also when the weather and water temps get like they are now.
Cold water can be added to the bait wells and running the re-circulating pump (if the boat is so equipped) instead of pulling fresh lake water with the aerator pump can keep the minnows alive and active. Many anglers are using aerated coolers to keep minnow alive and fresh in this heat.
Remember that you must still change water after fishing even if using these containers. Keeping well water in a cooler in the car/truck can help prevent the need to dispose of your minnows after a trip. Plastics and artificial baits can make life easier than trying to manage keeping live bait alive this time of the season.
- RELATED: See more Brad Laabs fishing columns
- RELATED: See more Northland Outdoors stories
Night crawlers and leeches are a popular live bait presentation all summer, and can also be a challenge to keep fresh if you are not properly prepared. It does not take long for nightcrawlers to go bad and leeches to overheat in small containers if they are left out in the sun. Putting them back in a small cooler with a frozen water bottle or ice pack will keep them fresh and healthy.
It is even more important to make sure you stay as healthy as your bait in this hot weather. Drink plenty of water or replenishing drinks like Gatorade when out in the heat and hot sun. Hats are helpful to keep your head and face shaded and cooler.
If you start to feel light headed, get a headache, or feel dizzy, you are already overheated and dehydrated. Get to some shade or air-conditioning and start drinking as much water as you can stand to drink to prevent sun stroke. Dipping a towel in water and wrapping around your neck and head can help provide some relief. Be sensible and safe during these long, hot, summer days when you are out pursuing your passion for fishing.
Remember to clean, drain, and dry after every trip to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)