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The spawning season is over; the waters are warming up each day as we head into the mid-summer fishing season. This is the time of year that fishing gets real, when knowledge and experience start to really pay dividends.

Reports from most of the lakes in the area have been that fishing is slow, and fisherman work hard for every catch, and there’s a good reason why. The various species are in the process of moving to their summer grounds or are already there. For the big fish, like northern pike, they will cruise the shallows very early in the morning and then head for deeper cooler water for the rest of the day. The smallmouth bass will be locating in 15’-20’ feet of water near a deep water drop-off not far from where they spawned this spring. The small to medium size bluegills will be moving into any available weed bed for cover from predators. The largest bluegills will move into deep water where the water temperature is a few degrees cooler, 15’ to 30’ feet down. The bulk of the walleyes on most lakes will spend their summer in the deeper waters at the base of rock reefs and/or transition areas where the bottom content changes from sand to rocks at depths exceeding 25’ feet. Some of the walleyes will move into the deep edges of the weed beds for their summer. The largemouth bass will stay fairly shallow most of the year in our lakes, locating in any shade they can find during the summer; boat docks, downed trees, swim platforms, and lily pad beds.

I learned something last year I thought I would share with you about fishing for largemouth bass.

I am a believer that big baits catch big fish, and with bass this has always been the standard. Last summer I was hunting large bass, fishing some deep weed edges with 5” wacky hooked worms and found I was catching some nice big bass. But I also got a lot of medium bass and a few small ones and they had the entire worm in their mouths.  So much for the idea that the bait was too big for those smaller fish.  So I’m just saying you don’t need to downsize your baits all the time with largemouth bass – their name says it all.

Until next time… keep a tight line.