Mid-summer fishing ideas

Fishing the Midwest

— Submitted photo Huxley, Iowa angler Rex Clark caught this bluegill on a mid-summer fishing trip. It wasn’t big, but it was fun.

Many people consider the 4th of July to be the doorway to summer. I suggest that summer came a lot earlier this year than most years. It’s been hotter than usual according to the people who keep track of those things, and those same people predict that the warmer than ordinary weather will continue. Summer can provide fishing challenges, but summer also provides fishing opportunities. Following are some things that anglers can do to take advantage of those fishing opportunities.

Fishing early and late in the day is usually best. If you can, be on the water when the sun is coming up or as it’s going down. Cloudy days are often better. If the weather has been hot but a weather change is on the way, that can be a very good time to go fishing. I remember numerous evenings that were hot, muggy, and still. We knew that it would probably rain, thunder, and lightning later that evening, and we also knew that the next day would be considerably cooler and brighter, but before that storm went through, the fishing was outstanding. Go fishing whenever the opportunity presents itself, but if you can, low light and before a storm can provide memorable fishing.

Troll your way to more fish. I like to tie on a crankbait like a Lucky Shad or a 3XD and just start trolling the deeper edges of the weedline. The Lucky Shad is a long, thin crankbait, the 3XD has a shorter, fatter profile. Sometimes the fish like the thinner bait, sometimes they prefer the fatter bait. You’ll hook some weeds every now and then, but the fish on the edge of the weeds will often be the most active, so that’s where we want our bait to be. Cover water with the crankbait and you’ll get bit.

Rivers will produce fish in the summer when lake-fishing is slow. The current in rivers makes the fish use more energy, so they need to eat more often. Some people who research such things also believe that the current reduces the bad effects of some weather conditions, which also means the fish in the river will be more willing to eat. Rivers in the summer can produce good fishing when lakes are slow.

Last thing: Summer is a wonderful time to introduce a youngster to fishing. And if a youngster in your life has already been introduced to fishing, summer is a wonderful time to expand their interest in fishing. We had two young boys spend time at our house recently. Both wanted to go fishing, and they agreed that I could go along.

We were set up with very basic equipment. We each had a Lew’s Bream Stick. This is a telescopic rod that is very light in weight. There is no reel. It’s perfect for youngsters. You simply tie 6-10 feet of line to the eye on the end of the rod. We were using 6 pound test. To the line we tied a small feather jig/plastic combination and crimped a split-shot onto the line about a foot up. We caught a bunch of small to medium sized bluegills and a couple of nine inchers. We had fun.

The next day the youngest boy wanted to go swimming, but Rex, the older one, wanted to go fishing again. And again, he agreed that I could go along. Same rod/line set-up, but on this day we used smaller baits and got rid of the split-shot. We learned that the bluegills would sometimes hit the shot instead of the jig. Genz Drop Jigs tipped with Maki Minnows are outstanding fished this way. Bluegills have small mouths, so small baits are best. We didn’t catch any big ones on this day, but it didn’t matter: We caught a bunch, and for a youngster and many not-so-youngsters catching small fish and spending time with someone that you enjoy spending time with is enough. Take a youngster fishing this summer.


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