It seems like mother nature just won’t let up with the monsoons and whirlwind of up and down weather and fishing. I can’t stress enough how important optimizing your early morning and evening hours at this time of year. Water temps have been ranging between the mid to upper 70s and evident mayfly hatches still remain persistent. As an angler, this same persistence should yield good results.
It can only get better from this point. Typically these weeks in mid July can yield some of your toughest walleye fishing conditions of the season. It is of ultra importance to be fishing really early, and late with your best bites occurring from 6-9am and 7-930pm respectively. This bite can be prolonged with right conditions, overcast and wind. Certain basins of the lake are now fishing very differently. The west end of lake has produced well in the early morning hours. The best bite has occurred Lindy rigging large leeches in 14-22ft. Sand to mud transitions have been the ticket as these windblown areas are holding big pods of perch fry. Slip bobber fishing windblown rocks with leeches can also provide some bigger bites. As for the east end of the lake, most of your walleyes will be hanging around in the 18-28ft depths. Sand with a little rock or gravel substrate nearby has been best. Lindy rigging with crawlers at slow speeds has been the ticket here. Walleyes are, for the most part, tightly concentrated when found, so keep working them in your prime feeding windows. Some anglers have also seen success trolling crankbaits along deep breaklines of 25-30ft as well. I expect the walleye bite to improve as the week progresses.
With most days the last week seeing pretty consistent winds, your best bets are on secondary rock structure, fingers and points, as well as your deep cabbage edges. Really key in on low light periods and prefrontal periods. Some great success stories have been seen prior to the monsoons on Wednesday. Burning blades at high speeds and topwaters is one’s first bet, while consistently changing blade sizes and colors. Jerkbaits such as phantom softtails are also a good choice at times when fish are seen but seem lethargic. As surface water temps continue to rise, remember to do CPR in a timely manner. Remember, this is a recycled fishery!
I have found some really nice smallies in certain basins of the lake. Most of these larger fish have been taken on secondary structure and points of 10-15ft. Using rattle baits and jigging raps have seen most fishes jaws however creature and crawfish type plastics as well as tubes will work in these areas as well. Find the big boulders and find the big smallies!