There are several reasons why people like to go fishing. Some want to get away from the outdoors. Others consider fishing a good way to spend time with family or friends. A few are looking for a meal of fresh fish. Regardless of why we go fishing, we want to catch something. A few are good, more is better. Across the Midwest, there are lots of different places to go fishing. Every body of water is in some way like other bodies of water, and every body of water is a little different. If we keep in mind those different characteristics, we will greatly increase our chances of catching a few or a lot of fish.
Keep in mind that during the summer, the sun is more directly overhead than at other times of the year. This increased and more direct light is something that should be considered when you’re trying to decide where to go fishing.
If you can get away early or late in the day, clear bodies of water will often be best. Often times fish in a clear water lake will bite best when the light penetration is low. Early or late in the day is when the light is lowest, so that’s when action is often best in clear water.
Overcast or windy days will also usually be better on a clear water lake.
If it’s a bright day, bodies of water that have limited visibility will be best. I’ve seen lots of situations while fishing on lakes where visibility was just a foot or two, where the fishing was best at mid-day under cloudless skies. I’ve also seen days on stained lakes when cloud cover was scattered. When the sun peeked out from around the clouds, the fish went on a good bite. When the sun went back behind the clouds, the bite stopped. It was very noticeable that the fish liked the light in these waters.
When fishing conditions are tough in the summer, a river will often provide the best action. It seems like the current will frequently override the effects of a bright sky. Also, rivers often have lots of shade from trees and the river bank, and fish that are in that shade will be susceptible to the bait.
Additionally, river fish seem to be hungrier than those in still water. River fish are constantly fighting the current, so they expend more energy. Therefore, they need to eat more often. A fish that lives in a river is more likely to eat when they see something that looks appealing.
A jig tipped with plastic or a smaller crankbait will look good to most river fish. Try an eighth-ounce Slurp! Jig with a three-inch Impulse Swim’N Grub if you want to go the jig/plastic route, or tie on a Strike King Pro-Model Series 3 or Lucky Shad if the crankbait idea sounds better. River fish will respond favorably to any of these baits in the summer or fall. A crawfish or minnow color will be good, but usually, pretty much any color will work for river fish.
Summer is a great time to go fishing. Consider the options available to you regarding where you can go fishing and you’ll be more successful.
Photo Caption—Mike Frisch caught this big bass on an overcast, drizzly summer day on a clear water lake. Remember, clear lakes on cloudy days, and stained water lakes on bright days.
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