Is there a secret to late summer fishing?
The summer lake environment is constantly changing, and walleyes react accordingly. To stay with the fish, anglers need to be willing to change how and where they fish for walleyes, and keep an open mind.
Transition- As walleyes vacate early season hideouts, in favor of deeper summer haunts, there’s a period of time when fish are in transition. As more and more fish show up at their new “home for the summer“ the action, once you find it, can only get better. With an increase in numbers, your chances for finding a few active ones greatly increases. Walleyes don’t all do the same thing at the same time, and when it comes to feeding movements, it’s like they take turns. Some will be totally inactive, some may be starting to stir a little but won’t move far to take a bait, and others may be extremely aggressive and willing to take just about anything you put in front of them. Those fish can help you determine a school’s location, and identity.
Summer Locations- Summer location can include deep, offshore structure, like sunken islands, bars and humps. Look for structures that have most of their mass above the thermocline. Structure that is too deep will see little walleye activity, if any, until after the fall turnover. Larger structures will often out produce the smaller ones, simply because they can offer more feeding opportunities for ‘eyes on the prowl. However smaller ones can be easier to fish, because of their simplicity.
Searching- One of the best places to start your search, is near a break line that drops quickly into deeper water. The top of deep structure can play host to perch, bait fish, insects and crayfish. Active walleyes will often be found cruising the top edge of a break, where they can quickly move up to grab a bite to eat.
Another place that is often overlooked is the transition line where hard bottom meets soft. Where gravel or rock changes to mud or silt, a transition line is created, and can concentrate fish.
Doing the same things in the same places, time after time, will probably yield less than satisfactory results.
Presentations- Rigging and jigging may still produce, but quicker methods like trolling spinners, really start to pick up. Rising water temps can push walleyes’ metabolisms to the boiling point, and increase the chances that he’ll react to a speedier technique. Try a spinner and live bait combo. Spinners possess an element of speed. A method is to use a spinner and bottom bouncer combination. A bouncer can get a bait where you want it, and run relatively snag-free. Bouncers in the two to three ounce range are the ticket, and allow the user to keep the bait close to the boat.
Feeding- In mid-summer walleyes continue to feed, and do so more heavily than at any other time of the year. The key is to find them, and then find out what they want. Quite often, something with a little speed is effective this time of year. With an abundance of food the metabolisms of walleye and their prey are increasing.
Bait- The odds on favorite bait for dressing a spinner rig, is a big fat juicy night crawler. Leeches and minnows can still work. You just have to try a variety.
Paraphrased from: Secrets To Summer Walleyes, by Ron Anlauf