Summer’s recent warm air temperatures continue to spike water temperatures. We are now transitioning into more usual type patterns for this time of year. Water temperatures are pushing into the upper 70s and even low 80s depending on where you are. Some waters are even growing algae blooms, and shallow back bays are choking out from vegetation.
Fish are starting to seek out cooler waters off shore or under shade. Mid-lake structures should now be on anglers' minds. Areas to target should include, but not be limited to: Mid-lake sunken islands, humps, reefs, steep breaks, docks, bridges, etc. Adjusting speed/cadence on retrieves — whether you're castings, trolling or jigging — is especially important this time of year. We are not yet to the "dog days" of summer as fishing remains positive. Although, it is still very important to time out the outings to fit the mold of the best bite times — early mornings, later afternoons and evenings.
Lake Superior anglers have been catching nice lake trout and the occasional salmon trolling the upper sections of deeper waters off-shore fishing in water 150 to 450 feet deep. We are receiving reports of spotty but productive fishing all the way up toward Grand Marais. In the Twin Ports areas, the common practice remains trolling spoons up to 3 mph. Some are taking fish with flasher fly combos as well. The Wisconsin side is now seeing a few walleye anglers combing the areas from Superior Entry up to the mouth of the Brule River. Look for this bite to heat up. The areas of Chequamegon Bay continue to report good catches of smallmouth, pike and a few walleyes as well.
The St. Louis River had a hit-n-miss bite week. Most of our trips have been successful finding fish. But we are dealing with some time lapses of slower fishing. Trusting electronics and looking for clear, active water is important. Most walleyes have been coming off areas of deeper waters (10-20 feet deep.) Jigging live bait has been best. We've had a great catfish bite week. Nightcrawlers slow-drifted with butterfly spoons or simple hook and split shot are taking a nice multispecies bag.
The inland lake bite of Wisconsin waters has been great recently. We are finding fish on sharp breaks off weed edges in the 10-16 feet range. Slow death trolls have been best (trolling or drifting down to .25 mph) for a mixed bag of smallies, pike and walleyes. In addition to the morning bite, we have also been picking up some fish in the high sun afternoons as well. Panfish continue to be an easy target near beach or vegetated shoreline areas. Simple small jig and soft plastics is taking a variety of year classes. Bigger fish seem to be biting best near late afternoon. Muskie angling is picking up in the Northland as well. Some anglers are finding some success chucking medium-size spinner baits at shallower mid lake humps. Look for musky angling pressure to grow throughout the rest of the open water season, especially during early mornings and evenings.
Jarrid Houston, of South Range, is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.