By Dave Lamoreaux
It has been referred to as the dog days of summer, but we like to call it the summer walleye bonanza. July and August are the best Walleye producing months, and here is a quick explanation why.
During the summer, Walleyes drop to deeper water in large schools. Hundreds of fish group up together and hold, and move, on the edges of rock bars, the tops of deep hard bottomed flats, as well as over deep grass beds. Using your locator, and/or drifting these areas are both good ways to help locate these big schools of fish. Usually the fish are concentrated about 4-8 feet above the thermo-cline, in 20-40 feet of water. As the summer progresses, and the water warms, the fish get deeper.
Deep Water Jigging Produces Results Once located, the fish are easily caught. Jig/minnow, jig/crawler, or slip sinker rigs, like a lindy rig, are all good producers for me. Putting as many as forty Walleyes in the boat is not uncommon, big fish are also caught at this time of year, as they seem to hold with the other fish at optimum depths. The use of an underwater camera can aid tremendously in searching out these fish. My wife calls it cheating, but I more commonly refer to it as a technological advantage. A good locator only sees so much of the bottom, and most boats are rigged by marinas with a lesser model of sonar, unable to pick up these schools of fish, especially if they are tight to the bottom. When found, a marker buoy, and good boat control are key to staying on the fish. Vertical jigging is a technique that I use whenever possible, but on windy days, anchoring and slip bobbers, or drifting slip-sinker rigs with a drift sock can also produce good results. The schools of fish can move on these structures, so if your anchored and the bite slows, you will have to re-position on the fish.
Colors of jigs for fish on the clearer lakes can be critical at times, I like to use chartreuse, green, orange, yellow and even glow in the dark jigs. Dark colored jigs don’t seem to get near the attention that the brighter colors do. The amount of light that penetrates these depths is greatly reduced, making the dark colors harder for the eyes to locate. Brighter colors can be seen from a further distance, attracting more attention to them.
That brings up what time of day is best to target these schools of walleyes, believe it or not, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. is the best time to be out. The flat calm sunny days can be the best of fishing, boat control is simplified, making it easy to stay right on top of the fish. Factors such as weak cold fronts and other various weather conditions, don’t seem to affect the deep walleyes as much as they do when the fish are shallow. Making the deep summer bite fairly consistent.
Dave Lamoreaux is the owner of Wind Drift Resort the only cabin resort on the Michigan side of Lac Vieux Desert. For more information on Wind Drift Resort please visit www.winddriftresort.com