Hard to believe we are into the second week of July already. Water temps have remained stable in the mid-70 degree range. We have had a couple of bug hatches and fish have settled into mid-summer patterns.

Baitfish is plentiful this year, as hatches seemed to have been very successful for bugs, baitfish, and gamefish. Young of the year perch are a perfect forage size and become a primary forage base for multiple gamefish species. It is always a good time to "match the hatch" when it comes to bait and lure choices for both size and color.

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On bright lakes in the clearer water lakes, it is a good starting option to stay with bright colored lures, jigs, crank baits, spinner blades, jigging raps, or rippin raps. Colors that mimic the perch colors are always worth a try this time of the season.

With cloud cover, or darkened conditions due to wave action, try moving color selection to more natural or neutral colors. In stained waters and darker days, it is amazing how well darker colors can produce. Most of the time it is easy to want to stay bright in the dark conditions, and that can work, but it is always a good idea, if fishing with multiple anglers, for someone to be using a darker color in dark water conditions.

Many anglers believe in the glow colors, and I am one of them. The glow green seems to be a consistent producer in this area all year long.

I often get asked "what is your favorite lake?'" and "what is your favorite presentation?" These questions may seem easy and simple, but they are difficult for me to answer, and I am sure I give different answers at times.

My favorite lake changes from week to week, month to month, and year to year. Many times it is associated with when a lake is "on," and that can change. Rigging and jigging are my favorite presentations, but each of them have many different presentation styles. What I do know is, that I like to have a rod in my hand, feel the bite, and set the hook. I am such a firm believer in that fishing experience, that my guide style is to have my customers experience that, and focus on techniques that create that experience.

The more you get into fishing, the more things you will try, and the more versatile you will become. The tendency will be to retreat back to the way you enjoy catching fish the most and do what you are most confident in doing. No problem with that at all-because it is just fishing, and should be fun and enjoyable. Fishing is fun, but catching is a little more fun!

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)