By Daryl Bauer
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
By staying versatile and fishing for a variety of species, an angler can almost always find something biting somewhere in the state – even in late summer.
Fishing gets tougher during the summer, but not because the fish do not like the heat or quit feeding. With the peak water temperatures, fish actually feed more during the summer than any other time of year. Fishing gets tough because natural prey is at its peak abundance. Fish almost literally have to do nothing but open their mouths to be full, and so remain difficult to catch, until the next short feeding window.
One great fishing opportunity that comes around every summer is to chase white bass, and perhaps the much larger hybrid striped bass – or wipers – on large Nebraska reservoirs.
Late summer actually provides some of the most exciting opportunities to catch white bass and wipers as those open-water predators chase baitfish toward the surface.
Feeding frenzies erupt as schools of white bass and wipers slash into baitfish on the surface. Besides the boils on the surface, and baitfish jumping out of the water, also look for frenzied gull activity above the surface. The birds will lead the way to hot action.
Anglers will want to ease into casting range without running over the fish and spooking them down. A variety of artificial baits that are the same size and silvery or white colors of the baitfish will work; all a person has to do is get them near feeding fish.
Spoons, spinners, jigs, and crankbaits will all catch fish; use something you can cast far. For even more excitement, throw a top-water bait. When the surface activity slows, try fishing deeper in the same area to pick up a few stragglers.
The best waters in Nebraska for summer white bass and wipers tend to be large reservoirs where those open-water predators thrive. Davis Creek, Calamus, Sutherland, Swanson and Sherman are some of the best reservoirs for white bass this year. Check the annual Nebraska Fishing Forecast for other picks at OutdoorNebraska.gov/fishingforecast.
The best thing about the summer white bass and wiper feeding frenzies is they are most likely to occur during prime times – early and late in the day when it is cooler and more comfortable.
Photo: An angler searches for white bass on an August evening before the sun sets on Calamus Reservoir in Loup County. (Nebraskaland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)