Summer’s here and with it, great fishing opportunities for numbers and trophy fish.
Summertime is Trophy Fish Time in the Midwest
The concentration of spawning fish has now dispersed, bait has hatched, and fish have begun to congregate near predictable summer spots. As a general seasonal indicator, seems like by the Fourth of July, every species in our region goes on the chew: walleyes, bass, pike, panfish, salmon, catfish. And let’s not forget muskies — those big toothy critters that feed voraciously during the summer’s heat.
Trophy fish require more food, pure and simple, as their metabolic needs shoot through the roof. That’s good news for anglers. More feeding means increased odds at a new personal best to brag around social media.
Generally speaking, summer fish movement and behavior simply becomes more predictable.
By July 4th, the walleye post-spawn blues are over, and fish start moving toward breaks, humps and deeper waters easily identified with today’s digital lake mapping. On waters like Mille Lacs Lake, that means the tops and edges of the lake’s mud flats, where rigging and Rapala Jigging Raps are proven walleye strategies.
On Lake of the Woods or Green Bay, you’ll find walleyes out in open water chasing suspended forage, which is the perfect set-up for pulling cranks or ‘crawlers. You’ll also find fish stacked up on reefs and humps where bombing big cranks or swimbaits can produce “Kong-size” ‘eyes.
But don’t overlook the weeds on walleye waters, where pitching plastics can produce fish when other methods fail.
Summer is also big bass time, with fish set-up on weedlines and main-lake structure. That said, there’s also plenty of bruiser-size bass in the slop and under docks. Topwater is also a great option during those dog days of summer.
So, whether you’re probing deep cover with a jig worm, flipping docks, or working the salad with a topwater frog, you’re on the road to big summer bass — each type of cover providing protection from the sun and an ideal location to ambush food.
Come July, giant brown bass are feeding aggressively and fish exploding on prop baits and chuggers in waters both shallow and deep!
Power fishing is definitely the program: cranks, spinnerbaits, and paddletails all must-have smallmouth weaponry. If the bite slows down. Switch over to some finesse tactics like ned rigs or drop shots.
Summer gets serious for muskies and trophy pike, too, with fish patrolling forage-holding rock piles, deep-water breaks, and weeds like nuclear subs. In fact, it seems like more trophy fish are caught and released each year during the Summer Peak.