August 13, 2009 at 8:57 a.m.

Better fishing days are ahead

Better fishing days are ahead
Better fishing days are ahead

I know there are die-hard folks out there, on the water, chasing fish because I see them as I drive by our chain of lakes. What I don't see are very many bent rods or nets hitting the water. Yes, August can be a bit of a head scratcher as far as locating active fish, but let me assure you that better fishing days are ahead.

Every September, the crappie and walleye fishing really begins to heat up. The upper water column in lakes begins to cool in the late summer in preparation for the fall turnover, and it's at this time of the year that walleyes and crappies begin to forage the shallower water for baitfish.

Look for crappies suspended off our lakes' main basin breaks and also inhabiting the shallow waters adjacent to these breaks. Crappies really begin to feed in earnest during the month of September, and it's always a welcome sight to see a knot of crappies appear on the LCR, and once they've been located, it doesn't take much work to put a limit in the boat.

Try using a light, feather jig tipped with a minnow below a 1/8th oz. split shot positioned about three feet up the line. The heavier shot will quickly send the jig to the crappies and maximize the time your offering is in the strike zone. If the school extends a number of feet above the bottom, sometimes the use of a slip-bobber isn't necessary, and can actually prove to be a hindrance. Running a rig like this without the aid of a bobber forces you to keep the bait moving in the water column and active, oftentimes resulting in more strikes.

Determining when the fish hits and when to react is a fairly simple proposition. When you feel a rap, wait just a moment before setting the hook. If you see the rod tip bend but didn't feel the crappie take the jig, set the hook right away.

Walleyes begin to chase their meals onto shoreline breaks and underwater humps and points this time of year. Pulling crankbaits and stickbaits over these areas in the evening can yield some very nice fish. Also, a jig and minnow presentation can really get their attention, too.

I mentioned this last year and it's worth saying again - Labor Day should not mark the end of the open water fishing season. The first cool nights of autumn bring with it, some of the most fantastic fishing of the year, not to mention that it's a beautiful time of year to be out on the water.


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