We are suppose to be into the days of heat and humidity, days when the temperature can top 80 and the humidity can top out higher than that. Nights that can be pleasant and daybreak absolutely wonderful for its cool freshness. That has not happened yet, but we are hopeful it will come and bring some consistent weather. Recent rains have been bringing lake levels up, though many lakes remain a little low. Those same rains have also contributed to the arrival of mosquitoes, but not near a bad as last year if you can recall.
What does that mean for fishing? Typically July and August bring a slowdown as the heat rises, but that is not always the case. Fish still feed under the high sun of summer and the key is to finding them.
Musky fishing has been slow, but steady of late. The key to summer musky is the weather. A hot, sunny day is generally not worth going out on, but if the clouds build up on a muggy day musky will move during daylight hours. On those days work along weedy areas with bucktails with black tails and gold blades that has always been the first choice on darker waters. Smaller crankbaits will work also and try working topwater lures in the early mornings and late evenings on calm days. If the day is sunny the best time out is at sundown or, for early risers, dawn. Top water lures work well then, big, splashy lures that draw fish from a distance.
That same strategy is true with largemouth bass. For the bass you should always like to work the edges of lily pads and other thick cover, using a frog imitation in the pads, a fake minnow or plastic worm. All those lures will produce bass on a summer evening or at daybreak.
Smallmouth bass have moved to deeper water on most lakes. Look for rock bars or gravel beds in deeper water and use deep running crankbaits or crayfish imitations to take them.
Walleyes are also deeper these days. Location is the key to walleyes in the summertime, they do not like to move out very far from deep weeds. If you can place your jigs near to the edge where the submerged weeds meet some open areas you can take walleyes during the heat. Jigs tipped with crawlers or leeches or a good scented artificial will do well. More anglers are using artificial leeches these days as they are tougher, easier to handle and are very effective.
Panfish will usually be in deeper water now, at least those panfish worth taking. Smaller fish will be evident in shallower waters, but do not be deceived by them, work deeper water for bigger fish. Small fish in the shallows provides excellent entertainment for the children.
As it will be all summer, fishing is keyed to weather, when fish might feed and where they will be located. Avoid easterly winds or high sun afternoons. Use the high sun days to fish for northern pike, they always bite. Be watchful for storms that may blow up in a short time. If you are in a boat keep an eye on the sky and if you see dark clouds start to rise it is time to get off the water.