The weather has been typical here in Chicago: “If you don’t like it, wait a minute and it’ll change.” This makes for a lot of interesting fishing possibilities, and those who can be versatile will be successful. A lot of our lakes and rivers are showing water temperatures much warmer than expected this time of year, which will accelerate the fish breeding schedule.

The bass are in shallows on most lakes right now, or they are getting ready to move into the shallows. Either way, shallow is where to fish. Remember, boats should enter the shallows very quietly with an electric motor, so the bass don’t spook and stop eating. Shallow water fish are active fish; they are catchable fish because they are active. There are several baits that will work in shallow water. Jerk baits, surface poppers, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits will all catch a fish, but the most effective bait will be soft bait like a Gulp! Minnow or Leech – they can’t resist them. If the area is not too weedy, set the bait with an exposed hook, but weedy areas are preferable for bigger fish. In that case, rig the bait Texas-style, with the hook “skin-hooked” in the bait, making it virtually weedless. Another technique being talked about is throwing small shallow-running crankbaits, such as the Mann-1 baits, and cranking them slowly so they run across the surface with a slow wobble, more like a walking bait. Their short stubby profile is very attractive to the fish. Give it a try.

Local lakes are doing well between the rainstorms, and some are doing really well during the rain. Beck Lake has been warming rapidly, and the pike and walleyes have been very active. Busse Lake has reported great fishing on wet, overcast days, with limit catches of bass, walleye and catfish in the South Pool. Get out nda try our local lakes for some great fishing action. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.