Water temperatures continue to range from 80 degrees to the mid 80s. They cool down overnight and climb during the daylight hours.
With the cold front early in the week, the surface temps only got down to 78 degrees! The warm water will not stop fish from their summer feeding program. Their metabolism is in high gear, and the gamefish are actively feeding. Forage this time of the season is focused on young of the year fish hatches and the many bug hatches that continue in the hot weather. As active as fish can be, the forage base is also at peak and we are competing against Mother Nature.
Aggressive fishing techniques this time of the year can help you cover more water and trigger active fish. Fish can be scattered along stretches of mid-lake structure, or long extending bars and points that protrude into main lake areas with deep drops to basin areas.
Trolling crank baits on long lines or lead line and bottom bouncing with spinners or slow death are common approaches that produce walleyes (and other gamefish) during the summer peak period.
I still like to try a live bait rig or jig spot on the spot locations holding fish, just because I find that to be a more fun way to catch fish.
To catch fish this time of the season with a less aggressive approach, electronics are key. You need to see fish (or pods of baitfish knowing fish will be there soon) for spot on the spot approaches. I rig leeches and crawlers on about 5-6 foot leaders on the clear water lakes, and about a 3 foot leader on stained waters or if fishing tighter to weed lines.
Jigs and minnow/leech/half-crawler/or plastics can be good on small groups of fish that are holding tight to structure, or fish that are in the weeds.
Leeches are very soon going to be hard to get, so if you can get some now, get them! The ponds leech trappers get them from have climbed into the 90 degree range and leeches are no longer going into the traps. The suppliers are getting the last of the leeches to bait shops. They will continue to work right up until the fall. Keep them in the refrigerator and change out the water with well water every other day. Cull out weak or dead leeches to keep the rest of the batch fresh.
The “fake” plastic leeches work for the pan fish, but not as well for rigging for walleyes as the real deal. Some have had success with the plastic leeches when trolled on a spinner rig … I still prefer the real thing.
Remember to clean, drain, and dry. Weed issues can be more of a problem for boat trailers this time of the season. Weeds get torn loose by storms, higher shallow water boat activity, anglers, and some plants die off with the excessive heat and warm water. Wind blows them into the access areas and trailers get loaded with them when launching and loading.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)