I guess I should begin apologizing to those of you who are regular readers of my column. I’ve been out of the area most of the summer in northern Minnesota, so I haven’t been writing and keeping up with the local fishing scene.

Minnesota Lakes

Fishing up north was rather good this summer.

It was hard, because the weather was very unseasonable. It was very wet early, bringing lake levels up; a virtual drought all summer, making for fluctuating water levels; and higher than normal water temperatures right onto fall. What that does is make fish patterns quite different from their normal locations and depths.

During the early summer, the walleye normally move to the cooler, deeper water of the reefs and lake points. This summer we couldn’t locate any active fish deep, but we did have good success fishing the weed line outer edges in rather shallow water (4 feet to 8 feet).

The summer panfish (bluegills, sunfish, perch) that we traditionally find in the large weed beds, where they hide from larger predators, were nowhere to be found. After some searching the lake areas near the weed beds, we were able to locate schools of the bluegills on deeper drop-offs (10 feet to 18 feet).

Every year, like clockwork, on Aug. 15 on this lake, the weeds begin to die and turn brown. It takes a while for the weeds to die, and the fish then head for the deeper water where there is more oxygen in the water.

This year at the end of September the weeds were still quite green and thick, once again forcing a real change in what we use for lures and where we would be fishing. With the climate change, being able to adapt and change is going to our new normal.

Chicago-Area Lakes

Some lakes are reporting good fishing; on Lake Geneva. The bass and walleye have been steady bites in deeper water (18-35 feet). Geneva had not turned over as of this weekend but will during this coming week. The Chain of Lakes has begun the winter let-down of water, so fishing will become harder with extremely shallow conditions.

Please be careful.

I’ll try to be more regular with these reports going forward.

Until then…keep a tight line.