marks the end of school in all of the Upper Midwest. With the beginning of
summer I start to think about getting out and fishing for schooled up fish.
That is right, those fish come together for a variety of reasons, but most
important of these is to feed on the available food source.
Here is a typical situation at this time of the year. You've been on the water
all day trying to scrounge up a few fish, walleyes, bass, or crappies. You've
already worked the shallow and deep weedlines and determined that the fish
aren't there. It's time to try the deep points and sunken islands. The only
reason you haven't tried the more open water areas already is because the wind
is blowing pretty good and holding a boat on the precise spot where the fish
are will be difficult.
Finding a school of active fish would have been ideal if they were shallow or
close to the shore. Unfortunately, at this point in June the school can be
found out in open water, where the waves may be a little higher and boat
control can give even the best angler fits.
When fishing structure that isn't associated with shoreline
or a stationary object in the water, it becomes essential to use a good depth
finder. I will run back and forth over an area many times with my eyes glued
on my Bottom Line Tournament NCC 6300 until I pinpoint the exact location of
the fish on a piece of structure. They might be relating to a small finger
extending from a sunken island or to a tiny corner on the point. Once I have
located these fish, my presentation and bait selection is very important.
The two basic types of lures that I use to fish rocks and weeds are jigs and
crankbaits. Both of these simple to use lures allow an angler to rip and
rustle through weeds, or do a job on the rocks. And, both give you sight and
sound that is so critical in stained water.
The other critical factor to keep in mind is sunlight and what it will be
doing to your fishing structure, especially rocks and off shore reefs.
Sunshine on the rocks, is like magic. The walleyes are active. I believe itís
a matter of better vision coupled with increased baitfish activity. First,
thereís increased light penetration through the water and more light
reflection off the rocks. The rock fish can see better than usual. Second,
increased light penetration spurs more algae and plankton growth, and,
therefore more walleye movement. Rocks may even warm up a bit. There may be
more to it than that, but whatever the reason, when itís sunny the rocks are
the place to be.
Itís not a matter of the fish moving from the rocks to the weeds, or vice
versa, depending on the sun. Itís simply the localized population of fish
responding to changing conditions. One bunch is active; the other isnít.
Tomorrow things may change. Be aware of the triggering effect of sunlight and
concentrate you efforts accordingly.
The stained water demands lure choices that trigger by both sight and sound.
Since you should work over, though and along the edges of weeds and down among
the rocks, you should select a limited number of lures that will do all of the
above. All you need is a very simple tackle assortment to catch these fish.
My first and favorite approach to fishing these active fish is drifting. I
like to drift through them using my motor to slow down the speed of the drift.
Many of you who fish rivers and streams, might refer to this approach as
slipping the current, or a controlled drift. I will even use a method of
backtrolling my boat into the waves to slow down my presentation of the lure.
If I think I am drifting too fast, I simply increase the throttle and slow
down my speed. This method is very effective when fishing live bait rigs such
as a Lindy Rig, or a Hatchet Harness Spinner.
The position, where I am in the boat helps me to stay with that school of
fish. I like to run a tiller powered boat because it gives me the mobility and
freedom to follow the school and the structure that they are holding on. My
Ranger 620 VS is equipped with the new Mercury four stroke (kicker) motor that
is ideal for working precise areas even in rough water.
Sometimes when working a school of fish in open water it is tough to keep your
bearings, especially if they are holding on a piece of structure smaller than
your bathroom, this is a great time to use a Lindy marker buoy. Always throw
it shallower than where the fish are located, for two reasons. First, if you
throw it directly on the school, it will interfere with the drift. The marker
will just get in the way. Secondly, when the fish realizes it's hooked, it
will frequently swim toward deeper water, away from the marker. This reduces
the chances of the fish getting tangled up in the buoy line. Throw the marker
shallow and keep in mind where it is in relation to the school of fish.
Anchoring is yet another method of staying with these fish. If the wind is
really blowing then you might want to anchor above the active fish and let out
enough anchor rope so you are in casting range of this school. The Lindy
Shadling # 7 is easily fished over fish that are 10 feet down and casting is a
very productive way to present this type of lure. Or you might want to let out
enough anchor rope to sit right over the top of the school and vertically jig
The secret to this type of fishing is staying with the active school. You have
to be ready to move or change your presentation as the weather and fish
dictate. If you want to catch fish in June and July, remember summer school
for active walleyes is just starting.
Whether you are in the states of Alaska,
Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa,
Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado,
Indiana, Virginia, California, Nevada, or New Jersey, there are fish to
If you are in one of the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Yukon, Northwest
Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Quebec,
there are fish to catch.
You might be trolling with cranks as your lure of choice. You might be
jigging with jigs. Youíll probably need rods, reels, some live bait
(crawlers, minnows, leeches), sinkers, leaders, and fishing line. More
often times than not, it takes a boat to get to those spots, as well.
Maybe you will be fishing from the bank or wading, however.
You may need fishing reports or maybe even a fishing guide.
This website will try to help you achieve the goal of catching bigger,
better, and more numerous fish.