The hot summer days and nights should have really impacted what we are using for bait. August usually ushers in the switch from artificial baits to live baits for most species we fish for. The fish are feeding because of the very warm water, but they can get lock-jaw and live bait is what will get them to open up and feed.

There are multiple ways to present live bait no matter if you’re fishing for walleye, crappies, or bass. The easiest and the one most fisherman are familiar with is presenting the bait under a slip bobber. Once you’ve located the fish I would recommend just a half of a nightcrawler on a small jig (the smallest that will let you effectively reach the depth you want). You can also use a spinner rig or the old-fashioned live bait rig with a snelled hook and a sinker.

Hook sizes are important, use a #4 or #6 hooks for leeches and nightcrawlers and a #2 hook for minnows. Stay with a #6 lb fluorocarbon line for durability. The snell length is a variable depending on how the fish are biting, but the shortest would be 24” and you can go up to 60” depending on the conditions and water clarity. Think live bait this late summer time for better fishing.

Speaking of fish biting, the area’s big lakes are really turning on if you are after bass. At Lake Geneva, guides report that the lake is producing outstanding catches of largemouth bass. Most are in the shallow-water areas like docks and the weed lines. Big Green Lake near Fond du Lac is also good for bass. The largemouths in the shallows are being caught on Senko worms; the smallmouths are deeper, 20’-25’ being very active with drop-shot rigs. The Fox Chain says it’s a little early for the musky to be biting, but everything else seems to be hitting baits like crazy. And at Lovelace Park, the bite has improved since they cleared the weed overgrowth, with catches each week of nice catfish, bluegills and crappies. So get the kids out fishing before the summer is gone.

Until next time…keep a tight line.

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