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'' DOG DAYS " OPTIONS FOR ANGLERS



Well, we are officially here...

Midwestern anglers have now entered the weather portal most often referenced as the notorious " dog days " of fishing. This mid to late summer period is best symbolized by humid days and nights fairly regularly interspersed with notable thunderstorms. 

Many anglers find their existing patterns for catching their favorite species somewhat disrupted by the higher water temperatures .


Well, I can assure you fish don't cease feeding because you didn't adjust, or simply have trouble locating any kind of concentration of them. I'd like to provide some tips that have helped me adjust to what too many anglers view as the somewhat inevitable summer doldrums.


CRAPPIES

While many fishermen avoid this popular panfish in summer, largely due to it's less palatable condition in warmer water, they can still be hooked readily if you realize their near shoreline cover post-spawn itinerary has taken them to deeper waters, where they can be counted on to school up in the cooler water. This is when your sonar unit is all but essential in finding them. Crappie are notorious for schooling in the midst of the water column , often under smaller numbers of forage fish. When located, this is when vertical jigging off the side of the boat is your best approach , and lots of fun.


CATFISH

Channels , bullhead, and blues will all be active in the evening depths, especially just after the aforementioned rainstorms. Catfish are not sight feeders, so the newly stained water doesn't bother them at all. In fact, their activity level is spiked by all the food newly dispersed into the water.


BLUEGILL

Gills will be found in largely the same areas they were readily found in spring, only a bit deeper out then you found them in late spring. Evening and early mornings are primary times to break out small topwaters like 2'' Rapalas, Rebels, and A.C. Shiners on light line. Great summer fun.


LARGEMOUTH BASS

This is the time of '' DOG DAYS " OPTIONS FOR ANGLERS most bass anglers wait in desperate anticipation for : topwater time !


More book and magazine covers have featured this aspect of angling historically than all other options put together. Any of us that have spent even a short time partaking of this activity can hardly disagree. 

Find any cover near or off-shore, or the edge of any weed line, and make long casts, whether from boat or shore. I prefer a baitcaster loaded with 10-20lb. mono attached to a 7' fiberglass rod, The glass rod will afford me more parabolic action for the longer casts. Keep as quiet as possible... I like to start out with a buzzbait, which affords the ability to cover a greater area more efficiently  gauge bass activity levels . If they are not hitting the buzzer-or "short-striking " it- then I'll go to my Pop-Rs, Jitterbugs, Zara Spooks, and frogs to cover the water more thoroughly, if less quickly.


WALLEYE

Walleye will seek out even deeper water than usual, only on occasion venturing towards shore in some evenings. Cooler water attracts forage and the walleye schools will understandably track the food fish. Current can also be a factor , as is windage. For example, at Lake Erie the summers reliably reveal big schools of walleye migrating reliably from the Western Basin to the deeper, cooler waters of the Central Basin towards Ashtabula and Conneaut. 


My tolerance for near-tropical temperatures is no better than yours, but a long memory of productive and exciting summer fishing memories will always get me out there.


***

Jack Kiser is the host of Buckeye Angler and long time Outdoors Columnist for the Record-Courier and Midwest Outdoors, Ohio Valley Outdoors and Angler magazines, as well as radio and TV host for Fox Sports , WNIR, ONN, and PBS. You may reach him at the Buckeye Angler Facebook site and the new buckeyeangler.com.

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