Last week we found plenty of fish using a variety of presentations. I've said it before, the dog days of summer are a myth when it comes to fishing. We are still able to have very successful days on the water. Early mornings and later evenings continue to be the best times of day to fish. I am a firm believer that when the water settles down from noise pollution (water skiers, jet skiers, boat traffic) fish start to get the urge to eat. This can especially hold true for bass, walleyes and muskies who often will crawl up into shallower waters to ambush baitfish, frogs or other small critters. Fishing into the twilight hours can be a lot of fun this time of year.
Lake Superior anglers are finding a diverse fishery in August. Chequamegon Bay, the Apostle Islands, North Shore and the South Shore are all producing fish. Near-shore water temps are heating up into the 60s and open water off-shore surface temps are anywhere from 44-50 degrees. The North Shore continues to put out some nice catches of lake trout. Some anglers are finding bigger fish farther out over 150-250 feet of water with lures 50-70 down, or wherever the thermocline is — if you can find it. Downriggers are the most efficient to get your spoons down, but lead core with heavier snap weights can work as well. The South Shore is producing some nice walleyes. Utilizing your electronics to find fish is the first challenge. There’s a lot of water to cover, so time is your best advantage. The Ashland area is still putting out some nice smallmouth.
The St. Louis River had a hit 'n' miss bite this last week. Recent rain has muddied the river, but fish can be caught using a variety of trolling techniques. One added trick I use when trolling crank baits is to add a small orange bead on the line. This can add a little more bling to your lure, and gives the look of a bait fish chasing food. Bigger fish are being turned with speedy trolls of 2.5-to-3 mph. Also, swinging S-curves in your trolling patterns will help produce more bites.
Inland waters of both Wisconsin and Minnesota gave up some good catches last week. Best depths for walleyes and crappies are anywhere from 8-25 feet of water. Trolling has been bringing nice fish to the boat. But it has been more rewarding catching them with simple soft plastics or live bait. We are still targeting brush piles and other structures in soft substrates. Bass and pike have been on the chew roaming areas near vegetation and windblown shorelines and points. Casting jig and plastics from deeper water toward shallow water has been good. Don't be in a hurry to retrieve your bait when it gets near the boat. Lots of fish can be caught right underneath your vessel.
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.