Over the past week and a half the weather has been tropical with hot temperatures and high humidity. This trend of weather reminds me of the days when I lived in Louisiana. Days could be down right unbearable, but it was something you got used to. The fishing when it gets hot can be some of the best and it was, and still is. Some of the things to look for and to do so you can enjoy the good fishing during these hots days of summer.
Deeper or Shallow:
I see and hear anglers say that you'll find the fish in deeper water. Thats true and it all depends what species your targeting. In this case, we were targeting crappies and bluegills, which we will look shallow. How shallow? Look in 8-12FOW and look for weeds like coon tail and cabbage. One of the main reasons for looking in shallow water is that crappies and bluegills are looking for oxygen, a food source, and cover so they can hide from predators that feed on them. The one thing that I get asked is, are the bigger fish deeper? No, the bigger fish will be right in the thick of the weeds, even on the hottest days. Last week, the water temperatures were in the high 70's and this week it was almost pushing 80 degrees. Don't let the temperatures fool you, so look shallow.
Vertical Jigging or Trolling:
When should you troll and when should you change to vertical jigging? The pattern is pretty simple. Trolling patterns are the best in the morning and evening hours, and the reason is they are normally in their feeding times. Also, this is always the best times to catch those bigger panfish. A good example was when we were trolling during the morning and you could see the fish on the graph that were 2-4 feet off the bottom. Those were active and we got bit often. We were trolling with Salmo #3 Hornets in 8-12FOW and the best speed was 0.7-0.9mph.
Now, as the day went on, we could see the fish disappear and the bite slowed down considerably. What now, its time switch it up and vertical jig for them in the thick weeds. Kevin and Rich asked how can you see them and how do you know they are there? If you watch your graph and study it, you will learn to see the fish. We started to slowly troll and when I mean slow, like 0.2 to 0.4 mph. You want to be able work those weeds and watch for the fish on the graph. As we started to fish, I would say that there's fish on the bottom and someone is going to get a bite. Sure enough, we got bit. Forgot to mention, during the high sun the fish will hug the bottom and you will see them right on bottom or a foot off the bottom. The presentation that works the best for vertical jigging was the Clam Outdoors Tungsten Duckbill Jig with a Impulse Bloodworm. Ice fishing jigs should be a part of your arsenal and I always use them for these types of situations.
Remember that just because it's hot out you don't have to look in deeper water to catch quality fish. Just the other day, I was working in 8 feet of water and landed a 13.75" crappie. So, get out and give your area lake a try and I bet you'll be surprised of the results.
Remember to practice selective harvest and catch and release. Until next time, be safe and we will see you in the outdoors.