By Steve Carney
As we are getting into the tougher days of mid-summer, fishing typically slows down and with the heat and humidity, things have changed on our lakes dramatically. I have noticed the slow down the past two weeks and because of this, anglers need to make some adjustments. Here are some mid-summer tips for anglers still on the hunt.
Water temperatures key
Most of the central and southern lakes in Minnesota right now are 10-17 degrees warmer than our northern lakes. Because of this, I have switched my fishing over to lakes north of Interstate 94 and am now focusing in on the deeper, clear lakes not the shallow lakes. July and August fishing means backing off from the early season lakes and shifting to the lakes to the north. Fishing on the northern lakes tend to remain better into July than the southern lakes. At this time of the summer, it’s all about water temperature.
July and August for this guide means focusing on deep water often as deep as 54 feet. Walleyes especially will head into deeper water in mid-summer and they are still catchable. The deeper water is a relative thing depending on the lake. Deep water in Leech Lake for example means 32-54 feet, while deeper water on Gull Lake could mean 22-42 feet. It all depends on water clarity and more importantly how deep the oxygen levels will permit fish to be deep. If you do some research you will find oxygen levels vary from lake to lake. In a nutshell, it doesn’t pay to fish deep if the oxygen levels only have viable oxygen to 15 feet. That is a huge clue to summer success. On many northern lakes, oxygen can be viable as deep as 48 feet of water.
Mid-summer for me means big, jumbo crawlers pulled along a livebait rig. Mid-summer walleyes can’t resist a large, healthy crawler pulled in front of their eyes. Even if they are not feeding, few walleyes can resist a tempting crawler. Mid-summer means crawlers and leeches and abandoning the minnow thing.