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Fish early and late for walleye in dog days of August

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

We are at the time of the summer now that we will see a slowdown in the level of lake activity. Most of the major summer weekend events are completed, college students are headed back to school, families are wrapping up summer vacations and getting ready for elementary, middle school, and high school students to get back in school in a couple weeks.

Practices for fall sports gets underway and parents feel the need to push to get projects done that have been procrastinated for the last couple months. We start losing morning light and darkness starts to come earlier in the evening now, leaving less time after work to jump on the lake in the mid-week.

Most of the lake activity over the next 6-8 weeks will be anglers chasing walleyes, musky, northern pike, bass, or pan fish. The dog days of late August can create some fishing challenges. We get many bright, sunny days with little or no wind for stretches of days at a time. The middle of the day can be very challenging, especially if you are chasing walleyes. Focus on early morning or late in the evening just before sunset to maximize your success on the water during the hot weather.

Many times lake levels end up dropping as we get to the middle of August, and continue getting lower as we push into the fall. When this does happen, some lake accesses can be difficult for loading and launching boats. If you don't pay attention, it can also make for some frustration getting boats and pontoons off of boat lifts and off the lakes for fall storage.

We seem to be in very good shape at this time of the season with lake levels, and the condition of our accesses are excellent right now. We are having some weed die off and some algae blooms due to the extremely warm water temps. This does make for some inconvenience when it comes to removing weeds from your boat and trailer when you come off the lake.

I am sure the lake homeowners have noticed, especially when the wind finally does come up and blow all the weeds onto their shoreline for clean up! Make sure you spray your boat and trailer off or wipe it down with rags if you get the algae on them, because if you don't, and it dries on the boat and trailer ... it is like chipping off cement!

With the hot weather and warm water, we have had additional, very successful bug hatches. The bugs can be annoying in the swarms on the water, particularly when it is calm. They also add additional food to the system for the fish, and the forage is at peak of the season already. Don't worry, it won't be long and we will be into the fall and the bugs, along with all the vacationers to our area, will be gone. The best time for fishing now ... is when you can.

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)