We have had, as usual, some really hot and humid weather in August. This brings the water temperatures back up on the lakes and justifies the term “dog days” to describe the fishing in the area. 

The water levels are still high, but that water is sure warm in the shallows. On the deeper lakes, there is a distinct thermocline, generally in the 20-foot range but sometimes deeper. This thermocline will stay until October on these deep lakes unless it is a very cold fall starting in September, then it will come earlier. 

There are now some leaves turning colors and the ferns are turning brown on the roadside. Lake weeds are dying off already, even the lily pads. In general, the shallow weeds start to go first. Let’s hope for some cooler weather for a while and some rain. 

Walleye fishing has been tough for big fish, but pretty good for numbers of fish lately. On the Eagle River Chain, the fish are generally in the 12- to 14-foot range. By far the best bait is nightcrawlers cut in half, with the best part being the front of the crawler. We know of some good walleye guides who just throw the back half away when using crawlers. The fish do move shallower into the weeds in the evening. On the bigger lakes, the general pattern is deeper, with fish often holding during the daytime in 20 feet of water on the rock bars. Crawlers are best on these lakes now. They will move up into the weeds in the evening and feed in the 8- to 12-foot range.

Bass fishing, to be honest, has slowed somewhat. In the case of the largemouths, so many of them have been caught, especially if they’re holding under piers or small weed beds. They either are kept or forced to move deeper to get away from anglers. For those that have stayed in shallow cover, surface baits or wacky worms seem to be working best. Smallies also have set in deeper water and are still feeding where possible on crayfish. Orange or brown plastics or crankbaits work best for these fish in the hard-bottom areas.

Northerns are in the weeds, but with the warm weather seem to be locating in the deeper weeds on all lakes. Sucker minnows for live bait and Johnson Silver Minnows or Mepps spinners are best for these fish.

Muskie fishing has been inconsistent at best this last week. The term “dog days” certainly applies to these fish. Night and low-light fishing is best at this time of year. The feeding windows seem to be quite short now and for the most part the fish are in deeper, cooler water.

Panfish action remains good for crappies in the weeds, with some schools of these fish also in the holes on the Chain. Plastics have been working very well for these fish, especially in the weeds. Perch have been hitting well in the deeper weeds. The deeper the weeds, the bigger the perch. Bluegills are hitting on worms in the weeds as always.

Summer is getting away — get out there!

Good luck and good fishin’.