The weather the past two weeks has been miserable, and the fishing has been very mixed from “what fish?” to “not too bad” depending on where you were fishing. The rain has made water levels part of the puzzle we have to figure out on each trip. Almost every lake and river reported very high water, with virtually no water clarity. Let’s talk about how to fish in this kind of situation.

This time of year it is critical to fish early in the day and late in the afternoon for the best success because as the water warms those fish who did not hit the deep water will be looking for any kind of cover they can find. This is the time of year when the surface baits really shine, baits like buzz baits, chatter baits and frog baits should be part of your arsenal. These baits allow you to cover water quickly, casting along the shore lines as the fish move in shallow to feed. This is when you can catch a really big fish in 2’-3’ feet of water.  The best color choice for buzz baits would be black, if you’re throwing a chatter bait or a spinner bait, white or green pumpkin would be first choices. Look for the best shade spots or weed beds as these will supply the best sources of oxygen in the shallow water; look for downed trees, rocky points, and docks for other prime locations. As the day heats up and the sun is straight overhead, these fish will move shallower looking for any shaded area they can find, like the very back end of docks, don’t worry about water depth, worry about deep shade.

Reports from our area lakes are all affected by really high water; some good impacts, others not so good. The Mississippi River, Des Plaines River, Kankakee River and the Illinois River are all reporting near record water depth from the rain. This means that the water clarity is zero because of all the runoff. Fishing at all the rivers has been slow, with a few fish in current break areas. Beck Lake and Busse Lake both reported high water, but excellent largemouth bass fishing this past weekend. Summer is finally here, let’s get out there and go fishing.

Until next time…keep a tight line.

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