Thanks to over two weeks of 90 degree weather nearly every day now, many of the fish in the Black Hills region are well into their mid and late summer patterns.Many species have gone deeper and are huddling around deeper flats, rocky points, and isolated humps and rocks. But there are still some bass to be found huddled in the thick weeds in the shallows and after receiving a tip, my friend Steve and I met another friend, Matt, and his boat at Stockade Lake to give these weedy bass a shot.
While the three of us had never really gone after bass hiding directly in the weeds and Matt had never had his boat in Stockade, we wanted to give it a shot since the walleyes have now gone deeper and are feasting on recently hatched shad at Angostura. Now I've used spinnerbaits with success on Stockade, but now I'd be trying topwater lures for the first time. These included poppers, frogs, and weightless wacky rigs.
As we fished along the weed edges and looked for holes to try and cast to, we discovered that this kind of fishing required very accurate casting, something none of us had really needed before. The frogs were nice as they were completely weedless and it was a whole different experience as I would cast them past holes and land on top most weeds and try to work the frog back to the boat, slowly popping it and doing my best to imitate an actual frog.
As much as I wanted to see something crush it on the surface as I've seen in many videos, nothing would go after the frog this morning. Wacky rig tries didn't produce anything either as did some poppers I bought just for the occasion. After watching Matt catch a few fish including a nice fat pike, Steve and I switched to spinnerbaits in multiple colors.
This morning, they seemed to prefer chartreuse, orange, and brown colored baits rather than the all whites and blacks that have worked for me before. Soon both Steve and I caught some bass and pike, though we didn't catch anything huge despite our attempts. The fish were hiding in the weeds and would swim out from under them and smash the lures as they came over the holes we tried to cast past.
The hard part was looking for weeds that were still under the surface so we weren't constantly pulling weeds off the lures. Missed casts were still common and we caught a lot of weeds, but at least we'd narrowed down what the fish wanted.
By 11AM, the temperature was already 90 degrees with no wind and we decided to call it a morning. While we didn't find the bigger bass we were looking for, we learned some valuable lessons and have more of an idea of what we try next time we come to the lake. As long as the walleye bite has turned off somewhat, we'll come back to here again and give the bass and pike another try. And we had the added benefit of looking at some new places to come ice fishing as the weedlines will make excellent places to try for pike this coming winter. It's always a benefit to see where potential new spots could be at once the weather turns cold again. I for one hope it gets here sooner than later because this heat wave can go away any time now.