Fishing is heating up in Otter Tail Lakes Country
By Ross Hagemeister, meisterguideservice.com
It’s summer time! A common discussion point lately in lakes country has been the water temps. I arrive on the lakes in the morning at 7:00, and whether it’s cloudy or clear and sunny, the water temperatures are sitting in the low to mid 70’s! These are temps that are common in July and August. I’ve been watching these warm water temps since mid-June. Global warming? Not sure. What’s the impact of unseasonably warm water temps? I’ve seen substantial mayfly hatches, and a hurried sunfish spawn. Walleye and northern, in particular, have been directly influenced. It’s been more difficult to pattern both species. When something common starts to set up (lure color, depth, general locations), they switch.
It’s been a busy time for predator species who are trying to keep up with the times and quickly advancing food sources. I’m guessing that we’ll be seeing summer patterning set up on most lakes in the county with in a week. The last of the mayfly hatches are beginning right now, and should be done by the second weekend in July, and then it’s smooth sailing. Major adjustments in patterning should come to an end and then it’s just fishing for 5 or 6 weeks until late summer daylight hours shift enough to prod fish into another change. Crappie are entering summer patterns around Otter Tail Lakes Country.
Check out tall weed stands (especially cabbage stands and coon tail clumps and objects like swim rafts, docks, and even lily pads next to deep water. Use Beetle Spins, Tru Flus, and 1/16 oz jigs tipped with Gulp, twister tails, or live bait. Work the baits mid-way up through the weeds and over weed tops. If you don’t get bit rather quickly, it’s time to move—you’ll find them eventually. Use night crawlers and leeches on Lindy Rigs, jigs, slip bobbers and bottom bouncers for walleye. Walleye are still spending most of their time on clam beds and near weeds and weed lines on drops. Trolling crank baits in the evening on shallow flats is also effective—so get out and troll a Flicker Shad a mile or two after work and catch a few.
Enjoy Lakes Country this week! Remember to drain all water, pull the drain plug, and check your boat and trailer for weeds and critters when you’re changing lakes—help prevent the spread of AIS.