This is the time of the year the water temperatures  begin that long, slow drop into the 60s. We will probably get some warm spells right through September that will raise the temps, but on the whole they’ll be going down. 

Warm fronts in the fall are as bad on the fishing as cold fronts are in the spring. Hope for some consistency in this drop. Water levels are holding well, but the weeds are beginning to die off, especially the shallow ones. The water temps are in the 70s now.

If you look at the ferns along the roadsides, a few of them are already turning brown. Soon, we’ll be seeing some signs of that great fall color. 

Muskie action is good right now, but all in all it has been an unusual year. It took so long for the water to warm up this spring that it was slow right into July. With the weed growth and warmer water now, the action is normal for these fish. Bucktails and surface baits work very well on most water. The Eagle River Chain is now producing pretty good action in the weeds daily. Night fishing is always very good at this time of year.

Walleyes are hitting pretty well, but mostly smaller ones. We are not hearing of many big fish in the last week or so. On the Eagle River Chain, the fishing has been good in the weeds, and you can fish as shallow as 4 feet and catch walleyes. Either 1⁄8- or 1⁄16-ounce jigs work well in the weeds, with half-crawlers as the best bait at this time of year. You also can check out the holes on the Chain, as we’ll see fish in those holes as the fall progresses. On the larger lakes, the fish are in the weeds in the 8- to 14-foot range providing good action even during the daytime. Leeches and half-crawlers are the best baits with jigs, but minnows will become more productive.

Bass action remains great, with both smallies and largemouths hitting well. Surprisingly, you will find these fish mixed together now, but mostly the largemouths are shallower than the smallies and using more cover. Plastics and surface baits are working best for the largemouths, with spinner baits close behind. For smallmouths, try “drop shotting” deeper on gravel or hard bottom for these fish. They can be surprisingly deep, especially on clear lakes. Leeches will work very well.

Northerns are hitting as usual, with spinners working the best in or near the weeds. On some lakes, there are deeper grass weeds. These will hold good populations of northerns and they can be caught on crankbaits or larger minnows under slip-bobbers.

Panfish action is good as it always is. The bluegills are in the weedy areas on both dark water and clear lakes. Worms work best for them. Crappies are also in the weeds, but moving around more than the ’gills. Use small plastics for these fish under bobbers in 3 to 5 feet of water. Perch are in the weeds also, but deeper weeds. 

Fall is coming. Get out there while it is still warm.

Good luck and good fishin’.