Archive for the ‘Summer Fishing’ Tag


Night fishing becomes important in summer for two basic reasons weather and recreational pressure.  The heat and humidity of the day is often oppressive.  The cooler temperatures of evening bring out feeding fish as well as anglers looking for relief.  Recreational boating pressures make the daylight hours less productive for fishermen.

As the weather fronts pass through they set off thunderstorms.  Usually a late afternoon situation, these storms present dangerous situations from wind and lightning.  When out in a boat or on shore, it wise to keep one eye on the horizon while fishing.  But, the fishing can be really good just before and just after these storms pass through the area.

During summer, a fish’s metabolism is at a high point and he feeds frequently.  The weather may be hot but there is a distinct lack of fronts going through to upset his lifestyle.  The lush vegetation provides ambush pints for fish to lay in wait and allow hapless minnows to come to them.  Competition for the forage from other fish is low, as the weeds tend to scatter fish of all species.

Surface water temperatures are warm and tend to be uncomfortable for fish.  Small fish generally inhabit it as they try to escape the big guys who are trying to eat them.  The larger fish are deeper in their comfort zone.

Night fishing is not all that productive right after sunset.  One can use those hours to get into position for the night action.  By getting into position, one can be sure of finding just the right location for the evening’s activities.  Know where all your tackle is in the boat so you can find it in the dark.

Once on the water at night, it is advisable to make sure the night vision is working.  Do not look at bright lights, as it will spoil ones night vision for several minutes.

Night fishing is comfortable from an angler’s point of view.  It is a time to soothe and heal. But, it also is a time when senses become more alert and fine-tuned to the environment.

Just be careful not to sit on a crankbait.




Summer sunshine in August is often a sure sign that the fish will not bite during the day. Most anglers switch to night fishing or at least early morning and late evening. But, that is not the whole story.

Guides like Walter Krause ( have clients who want to fish and he needs to find fish for them to catch. In response to the extreme heat southern Illinois experienced last year, Walter decided to experiment with his fishing patterns. The result was a change of program for his clients and some nice fish caught.

At the time of his experiment, Walter was fishing 90-degree water in a variety of lakes. In particular he focused on Kinkaid Lake near Murphysboro, Illinois. This 3,750-acre impoundment is probably best known as a muskie fishery. It also contains smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass, walleye, crappie, bluegill and some assorted other fish. Walter was focusing his attention on the channel and blue catfish.

Kinkaid, as do other southern Illinois lakes, experiences a thermocline effect in the water during the hot summer months. Here the thermocline is at about 20 foot depth. The water below that level lacks adequate oxygen for most species of fish. As a result most of the fish are suspended above the 20 foot depth.

The thermocline is a band of water in which the temperature is 5 to 10 degrees cooler than the water the water above. Below this band the water is even cooler but there is insufficient oxygen. The fish will be in the water above the thermocline all summer.

Using a barometer and his fish locators on his boat, Walt studied where the fish suspended during the hot days. He found that the catfish species were usually found at about 20 foot depth and other species above them. He also found that they would relate o any structure that might be found at those depths. For instance, the humps he found at 18 foot attracted catfish. He also found that these fish were active in hot weather contrary to popular belief that they might be inactive in response to the lack of oxygen in the water.

By using the barometer he found that as the barometric pressure fluctuates during the day the fish responded accordingly. The pressure change was more prominent during morning and evening. Regardless of whether the change was up or down, it caused the fish to bite. He has found that fish in a river are less susceptible to barometric pressure.

Walt marked the location of any islands under the water with way points on his GPS. On nearby Carlyle Lake he found sunken islands as shallow as 6 to 8 feet yet the fish suspended near them just the same as the deeper locations in Kinkaid Lake.

The shad in a lake will be in the top section of the water. They are often driven there by white bass. The result is that seagulls will be flying over the shad as they break the surface. It is their presence that alerts fishermen to the presence of potential action. Below the white bass is where the catfish lurk.

Other advice from Walter includes the use of crankbaits in shad imitation shapes and colors to be used in clear water. In rivers he suggests working slack water behind structure as well as hollowed out holes in the bottom. He finds that there is more current above them and less deep in the hole. In river situations, you probably will have to travel more to find schools of fish.

As for color in the use of crankbaits, he adjusts according to water clarity. Murky water calls for orange, chartreuse or yellow fire tiger baits. In clear water he likes blue to the more natural colors of brown and black.

Although this is primarily a catfish pattern, Walt has found it often works for other species as well.


Everyone knows that in the hot summer sun, one cannot catch crappies in any numbers. WRONG!

Most anglers believe that crappie somehow get lockjaw and just will not bite during the hot summer days. One theory is that they go into a dormant stage and anglers might just as well go fishing for catfish on the bottom.

In part they are right. Crappie will move deeper. They do not go to the bottom but rather suspend at depths from which they can locate and feed on bait fish. Take a look at a crappie and see that they cannot close their eyes. They must deal with sunlight in other ways than just blocking it out. They look for shade.

Crappie must eat every day whether the weather and water conditions are favorable or not. They find places with bait fish that have water conditions that are comfortable to them. This usually is in deep water with structure and some current.

Bait fish feed along creek channels and underwater structure with a current break. They like such structure as submerged trees, root systems and stumps.

The angler with a good knowledge of deep water structure can find them. This is where good electronics come in handy. That includes a G.P.S. as well as sonar and a trolling motor. The trolling motor is an electric motor that allows the angler to position the boat with precision and stealth.

The G.P.S. uses satellite technology to help the angler pinpoint locations such as a favorite fishing location. Sonar, or fish finders as they are sometimes called, allow the angler to see a representation of what is found beneath the surface of the water. It shows contours in the bottom as well as submerged objects like trees and brush.

The approach to summer crappie is a bit more sophisticated than when the fish are spawning in the spring and in the shallows.

Like the spring fishing, jigs and light line are key factors. Clear line in the two to 4 pound class is a good idea. Light jigs of about 1/16th to 1/32 ounce work well. In stained water the darker colors are best while in clear water brighter colors are preferred. I like the twister tail type of jig due to the action they portray.

After consulting with a map to find areas of structure and where current is likely to be found, you can troll the area. The sonar will help you locate fish as well as the exact location of the structure to be fished. Remember that you are looking in deep water where the water temperature is more stable. Water of 15 to 25 feet depth is usual.

Long crappie poles are a good idea to get and keep the lure away from the boat while trolling along likely structure. The technique is to jig the lure along the structure until you find just where the fish are biting. Then mark it on the G.P.S. for future reference.

The jigging in summer is not the same as in spring when a jig is often fished below a cork. In summer no cork is used and the jig is finessed along and around the structure until the right depth and position are found. Usually if one fish bites several more will take the jig at the same depth and from the same location.

Summer crappie fishing is a little different but it is just the same in fun as is crappie fishing in Spring or through the ice in Winter.

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