Fishing action as hot as the weather

Fishing action across the metro has been hot, despite the heat.

August in Minnesota is notorious for bringing hot, humid, horrid heat. This year, with several streaks of 90-degree days in July, the dreaded “dog days of summer” came early. But fortunately for fishermen, that hasn’t resulted in the typical slowdown in action.

Fishing reports across the metro area are good, both in terms of quantity and quality of fish caught.

The reason for the slightly surprising reports? Consistency. Even though it’s been brutally hot, the weather has at least been consistent. The stable weather has resulted in stable fish patterns. Figure out that pattern, and you’re going to catch some fish.

Sunfish, predictably, are active in shallow weeds and lily pad patches, eagerly snatching up bits of nightcrawlers and wax worms.

Crappies, meanwhile, have moved deeper into 10 to 14 feet of water and are biting on jigs and crappie minnows.

As far as walleyes go, the rivers seem to be the best bet, as is typical this late in the summer.

Stable water levels on the Lower St. Croix have given walleyes and saugers a chance to school together in established areas, according to Turk Gierke of Croixsippi Guide Service. The hot weather has also turned on the channel catfish bite on the St. Croix River, Gierke reports.

The Mississippi River is producing walleyes as well. In fact, the Mississippi might be the hottest spot in the state right now in terms of producing trophy walleyes.

“It’s incredible right now,” said Chris Francis of “The number of 28- to 31-inch walleyes we’ve seen in the last week of fishing is ridiculous.”

Nightcrawlers and leaches on live bait rigs have produced most of Francis’ six- to 10-pound walleyes on the river in recent weeks.

Stable water levels and consistently hot weather have the walleyes schooled together in pools and back bays, Francis said.

Another, less popular fish is also schooled-up in the Mississippi: striped bass.

“They’re not a targeted fish so much,” said Francis, who focuses on bays and backwaters of the Mississippi in South St. Paul. “But they’re fun fighters. When you’ve got three people in a boat catching 50 to 60 striped bass in an hour, it’s a blast.”

The bass are biting aggressively on Glass Shad Raps, with white being a particularly hot color. Casting toward points and underwater humps is the most efficient approach, Francis said.

Pike and muskies have also been settling into somewhat stable patterns.

Francis won the most recent MN Fishing League Contest on White Bear Lake by capitalizing on pike feeding in deep cabbage.

That classic, consistent pattern – large pike seeking deeper weeds during hot summer stretches – also applies to the metro’s biggest pike and muskie lake: Minnetonka.

“Pike are hanging out in 10 to 15 feet of water on weed edges,” said Gary Klingler of Big Dog Fishing Guide Service. “Just like they are in every lake in the state.”

Muskie fishing has also been hot on Lake Minnetonka, with fish over 40 inches being reported. A warm-weather fish, muskies should continue to be active through August.

As long as the weather stays stable, fishing patterns should stay the same. Figure out the heat – and what the fish are doing in it – and you could have some hot action.

TONY’S TIP: During particularly hot stretches, try fishing at night. You’ll be spared the sun beating down on you, and odds are you’ll just about have the lake to yourself. Pick a night with a full moon, and make sure you know the body of water well.

Tony Capecchi operates a metro fishing guide service geared specifically toward youth. If interested, call (612) 309 - 4305.

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