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Fishing Articles by Mark Brumbaugh

Hot Summer Patterns for Walleyes
By Mark Brumbaugh and Bob Riege

A fish has two major things in its environment, the water it lives in and the weather that is changing, not only seasonally but day-by day, hour-by -hour and minute-by-minute. These two things alone control fish activity. The most unstable either the weather or water becomes, and the more rapid these two factors change, you'll see an effect on fishing. A fish cannot stand a fast change.

A lot of people don't realize that fish move on a seasonal and daily basis, and when they move they use underwater structure, essentially the bottom of the lake. That little difference might be things like bars, underwater humps and manmade structure like submerged roadbeds, levees or riprap along dams or causeways.

When a fish leaves its underwater sanctuary, to eat or search for food, it has to have something visually to follow. A fish is a stupid creature. It cannot rationalize like a human being, and when it moves about it must have something it can follow. Fish don't swim about a lake haphazardly. Not only can they see structure but also, we can locate the same structure with our observations of land, depthfinders and the feel of the lures on the bottom.

When I arrived at the lake around nine a.m. the temperatures had already reached 78?F. The forecast called for 95?F. plus. There was no wind at all, and as the temperature rose the anglers who were out disappeared to cooler places. The lake was like a watery desert.

I fished a medium size Ripstick along the breakline of the sunken island. Twenty minutes of hard casting did not produce a thing. As a last resort, I increased the speed of my retrieve and finally got a jarring strike. My rod doubled over in a tight arch as the fish dove deep and circled the boat. When I finally raised it to the surface of the murky water, I realized that this was what I was looking for.

Minutes later, I landed a walleye that was slightly under six pounds. I have found that it is not uncommon for walleye to react to fast moving crankbaits when the water is very warm.

Since I could not coax another strike, I moved my boat to the reef near the marshy bay. My first cast was greeted by an electrifying strike. Seconds later, another four pound walleye broke the mirror -like surface and rolled into the waiting net. Fishing turned spectacular. The walleyes were stacked up close in eight feet of water at the tip of the reef. Almost every cast produced action. Twice I lost fish only to have another walleye attack the bait as it moved back to the boat so I could make my next cast. This spot produced five walleyes from four to just over two and one-half pounds. Eventually the fish stopped biting in this spot so, I moved again.

It was time to return to the sunken island, and here also the fish suddenly went on a feeding rampage about one hour after I caught the first walleye off this spot. Four casts with the Ripstick produced three more walleyes in the three pound range. I had to quit fishing at that point, but I still wondered how many walleye were lying off that sunken island.

The lake that I had selected for my summer walleye fishing trip was a small lake less than 500 acres in size with water depths of 30 feet or less. These lakes are ideal for hot summer time walleye action. It is much easier and quicker to fish all the prime fishing areas in a small, shallow lake than in a large, deep one. Searching out and fishing for walleye on deep water structure can be time consuming and difficult. A shallow lake eliminates this problem.

Hydrographic charting of the area surrounding these prime fishing spots showed them to be unique in the section of the lake where they were located. However, the peculiarities in their bottom configuration were not shown on the hydrographic map in the detail needed to recognize them easily.

The first area had immediate access to a shallow, marshy bay rimmed with bulrushes and scattered clumps of lily pads. The bay harbored a large panfish population. Walleyes could be found on the side of a reef, which guarded the entrance to the shallow, marshy bay. The reef was five feet deep and extended out for 100 feet with rock rubble and pebbles that tailed off into deeper water. The water at the point and side of the reef facing the main part of the lake dropped off to 12 feet, which was quite an abrupt change for that portion of the lake. Walleye were usually located in five to ten feet of water close to a dropoff.

The second walleye holding area was on the edge of a large sunken island in five to eight feet or water and located in close proximity to some of the lake's deepest water. The sunken island also harbored an extensive population of bluegills. Of course, there were other areas which produced walleye from time to time, but I was interested in concentrating my attention on those places which produced the most consistent results throughout the spring and summer.

After you have identified the prime fishing locations in the lake; return to them every hour. You can often intercept a second good feeding spree after the area has been rested for approximately an hour. It is far more productive to concentrate your fishing efforts on proven walleye holding areas than to make the rounds to all places that have ever produced walleye in the past.

Putting together a summer pattern for walleyes is fairly simple if you remember these techniques and get out and enjoy the summer days. You to will find those walleyes have definitely set up some hot summer patterns and catchin' them is easy.

This Fishing Article is brought to you by Mark Brumbaugh

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