The recent stretch of excessive heat has made fishing a real challenge as we have been battling record setting heat during our middays.
We are faced with the usual hot stretch of weather from July through August every summer and I have learned to make some adjustments to counteract the heat and try to salvage most days on the water, despite the hot conditions.
Here are some thoughts on the subject.
Limit trips to early morning
The biggest tip I can give is to limit your fishing trips to very early mornings. This is a two-fold thing as the recreational traffic at this time of the year is crazy. Most every waterskier and jetskier are out from noon until late night and nowadays it doesn’t matter if it’s the weekday or weekend — it’s always crazy busy.
I get my clients out on the water no later than 5 to 5:30 a.m. and we normally can get a good five hours in on the water before the recreational people kick into high gear.
Second, the temperatures are somewhat more bearable during early mornings as most mornings you are dealing with low 70s instead of trying to cope with afternoon temperatures in the high 90s — big difference.
The angle of the sun is a big deal during summer. By this I mean the sun always rises in the east casting shadows along the northeastern sides of most lakes, which is a great tip for finding fish during early mornings at this time of the year.
I can get a good hour or two of fishing shaded areas of many lakes as long as I concentrate on the east sides, especially where there is tree cover or high banks. Gamefish at this time of the year are always seeking overhead cover during the hot days of summer.
You’ll find bass, northerns and even walleyes using these shaded areas during the first few hours of any morning.
Competing with explosion of natural food
Fishing slows down this time of the summer for a variety of reasons.
First, the warm water temperatures tend to slow down the feeding process of most gamefish but another big factor is that most of the young-of-the-year baitfish are now hatched and flooding the shallows by the thousands. July and August feature hatches of insects, minnow hatches and crayfish hatches that provide more food now than any other time of the season.
It is tough to compete with these new food sources since gamefish don’t have to try too hard to find a meal. Some anglers can get really down on their skills at this time of the year and think they have lost their edge. But in reality we are trying to catch fish and compete against the summer food “smorgasbord” and usually it is tough going.
Fall season — things improves
When September rolls around the gamefish have really put a dent in the baitfish and food population and things get tough again for them finding a meal. The large schools of minnows have been pared down and the food isn’t as plentiful as it once was.
That is why we get a resurgence of good fishing come fall — gamefish now have fewer food choices and they are now willing to chase our baits once again.