With the cooler temperatures of this last week (unusual for August) surface temperatures on area lakes have dropped 5-6 degrees in that time, and are around 72 degrees now in the mornings.
The lakes warm a few degrees during the day. and then drop at night. as we have had temps drop to the high 50s and low 60s during the overnights.
With the long range outlook at this time, I would say we have already started to transition toward more fall-like conditions.
The next 10 days will only have a few days around 80 degrees, with most days being in the mid 70's. Overnights will continue to drop to the low 60's and high 50's. This pattern, along with shorter daylight hours, will continue to drop water temperatures.
When we hit September, we are always in for significant cold fronts and transitions to more fall-like weather. I am thinking we are looking to have an early fall this year. Let’s hope it lasts until December!
Look for the walleye bite to transition to minnows and larger minnows now. Leeches have been harder to come by over the last couple weeks, and will be in shorter supply as we get to the end of August. The night crawler bite for walleyes always continues to produce through the middle of September, and produces until water temps drop below 60 degrees.
Jigging raps, ripping raps (or similar aggressive baits) will continue to have success through the rest of the summer and fall period.
For those that like to troll crank baits and catch big walleyes, now is the time to get to Lake of the Woods and troll over the deep basin mud or just off the edges of the deep rock structure.
The last few weeks have been the best the lake has produced for numbers of fish in the 27- to 29-inch range that anyone can remember. Numbers of fish have hit 30 inches or more the last few weeks. It shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.
If catching a true trophy or fish of a lifetime is on your bucket list, you may want to make a trip to Lake of the Woods over the next few weeks. The lake is also producing numbers of fish in the slot (19.5 inch-28 inch) and plenty of eating-sized walleye and sauger.
Musky anglers will like this trend toward the early cool-down, and may find the larger sucker minnow bite starting up by the middle of September this year. That is only a month away now!
Most musky anglers will continue for the next month to find success casting high action/reaction baits over weed pockets (especially cabbage weeds) as well as trolling deep weed edges.
Some fish will also be keying in on the suspended tullibees, and trollers that can find and tune baits to troll over them can catch some of the larger musky in the system. Big Detroit, Pelican, Sallie, and Many Point have all been producing fish consistently from 40 to 50-plus inches.
We are just coming up on some of the great open water fishing opportunities for this area from now through the end of October (and hopefully longer this year!). Make time to get out before your fall starts getting too busy. Remember to clean, drain, and dry after every outing.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)