The days are at their longest this time of year, the wind doesn’t seem to be as strong most days, and the fishing may become, well, less than stellar. Of course, this isn’t true for every body of water across the state, but I’ve heard of it recently applying to more than a handful.
For a few weeks now, I’ve heard it has slowed down on local reservoirs, as well as waters farther away. The recent walleye tournament at Merritt Reservoir would suggest this as well. On day one, 20 of 25 teams weighed 5 fish, which looks real good. However, many of the teams only caught 5 or 6 fish to begin with, so they weighed what they had. Day two sounded like it may have been a bit slower yet.
On local waters, I have heard Johnson Reservoir to be sluggish as well. There are a few limits of walleyes and some white bass being taken, but not like they were a month ago. My cousins have been fishing this area, and have been putting only 1 or 2 walleyes in the boat per day. I’ve been fishing the Tri County canal above and below Johnson, and it’s been very slow for me as well. A few saugers have cooperated with crankbaits going by, and some white bass, but it sure hasn’t been as good as before.
So what can you do when this happens? If you’re like me, sometimes it changes what you’re doing in the first place. For example, it’s no secret that I do a lot of trolling. But when times get tough, I have no problem trying some bottom bouncing, live bait, or throwing jig/plastic combinations. I’ve heard of fish being caught on slab spoons already, too. My plans for the next week are to go out and try some of these things, and see if the fish show a preference towards one or two.
Another tactic to think about is to keep doing what you’re normally doing, but throw a curve ball in it. When it comes to trolling, try ripping the bait once in a while by ‘pumping the rod’, as this can trigger bites. Try going slower or faster than usual. When pulling crankbaits, try adjusting the depth so that they run right above or right below the shad schools. This produced a 27” wiper for us at Jeffrey Reservoir a few weeks ago.
When throwing jigs, try ripping them off the bottom vs. slowly lifting. Finding what works can take patience sometimes, but it can often be worth it.
We are in a time right now when things are changing, anyways. The shad are still small and in high supply, but it won’t be long before they’ll be a prime bait to use that will produce fish. Speaking of things changing, the flatheads are on the move. They’re spawning right now, or in some cases they’re completing it, which means they’ll be on the hunt for food. We caught one last week on a crankbait that was just shy of 13 pounds, so I’m anxious for more. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for flatheads this year.
Once this pattern changes, and it won’t be long, the fishing will be going fast and furious once again. Like I say, in some areas, it hasn’t slowed down at all. But don’t let the slowdown in other areas stop your progress. It’s time to learn new tricks and keep after those summer fish.