Crazy hot weather has been a constant this past week, but the fish have not seemed to mind. All life cycles are now in full motion and we are seeing a lot of changes starting to take place, including many kinds of aquatic bug hatches.
Some of these bugs will affect some fish bites coming up in the near future, such as mayflies. With the warm temperatures and longer days, fish have been on a feeding binge. We are also seeing lots of minnow forage roaming around different depth columns. In many cases both bug hatches and minnow pods can be picked up on your electronics, and it’s not unusual to see fish graphed near those food sources.
Surface water temperatures have spiked up well into the 70s and close to 80 in some shallower bays. Let's dive into this week's fishing column and find out what is what.
The great Lake Superior is moving toward a change of fish techniques normally not seen until July. However, the recent northeast winds have brought in some cooler waters and have kept the same old surface stick bait actions working for the most part. Some days have had good chop, so make sure to pay attention to the winds before deciding to take out your vessel.
According to Captain Jordan Korzenowski of FishNorthMN, fishing has slowed down this past week. Best bet has been to track from the Twin Ports out 10-14 miles to find active fish. High lines, dipseys and shallow rigger setup-ups have been best. Productive colors have been mostly purples, greens and spotted pinks. Lots of bugs have certainly affected some bites.
Reports from Chequamegon Bay have been hit and miss on the world class smallmouth. Successful anglers are finding "a few" fish in and around slough areas of 15 -25 feet of water rip jigging soft plastics.
The St. Louis River estuary in the Twin Ports continues to give up some fish, but the general slowdown is well into motion, especially for walleyes. Many mature walleyes have retreated back to Lake Superior, and that means the South Shore trolling bite will be starting to heat up. Best chance to get a few river walleyes is to continue to concentrate on the channel edges and combing water with trolling tactics. Hard to beat a speedy crank bait this time of year. Lots of shallow flats are starting to sprout some good vegetation and those areas can also hold some fish.
Catfishing is certainly heating up with the spiking water temperatures. A live nightcrawler fished in several applications will turn some whisker mouths. Smallmouth continue to relate to the faster currents up top and fan casting small crank baits or chatterbaits has been a good tactic. Although pike have been pretty consistent catches, we have not heard a lot of musky success in the early season.
On a side note, Boy Scout Landing to Fond du Lac will be full of recreational tubers, kayakers and canoers, so be extra cautious when navigating these sections.
Inland lakes have been hot, both fishing-wise and of course in water temperature. On these sunny days make sure to bring sunscreen and/or cover up with protective clothing as we move further into summer. I prefer a full brim hat, long sleeve UPF protective clothing like Blackfish as well as sunscreen. Also, make sure to hydrate often throughout the day! Any avid angler knows long days in the hot sun can take a lot out of a fisherman.
With the aggressive growing vegetation of pond weed, bullrushes/rice, cabbage, lily and coon-tail, fish are certainly finding good spots to stay shaded. Weedy areas will be constant go-to areas throughout the rest of the open water season. All fish species relate to weeds, but especially bass, panfish and pike. Walleyes have been going good in 10-25 feet of water.
A good tactic this time of year is to "power cork". Slowly drive around until you see fish on the graph and cast toward them with a leech under a slip bobber. Another fast tactic to get some reaction bites is jig rapping of course. Look for this tactic to become more and more successful in the next few weeks. Live bait is still turning fish of course, but we have been transitioning into some good bites on plastics. See you on the water! -Capt. Jarrid.
Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.