Reeling in Fall Fish in Otter Tail Lakes Country

By Ross Hagemeister,  

August has been a great fishing month in Otter Tail Lakes Country.  It hasn’t been too hot and the fish have been biting. Is it like last year? No, but it’s been good. 

Fishing is one of those activities/sports that if you are determined to find a way to “win” or succeed—than you can. Personally, I love a good challenge. I don’t expect perfect results all of the time, because that’s just not the way it works. It couldn’t be fishing if it went our way every time, but I work awfully hard at making it as good as I can, and that seems to work for me and it’s very satisfying. Many people ask me what my favorite specie is to fish for. My answer is: “What ever species I’m targeting.”  And to catch that target species—that’ s a great achievement. It makes fishing fun.  

Photo By Ross Hagemeister
Many spots that held crappie mid-summer no longer appeal to them.  Be on your toes for changes in the next week or two. Here’s a great late-summer crappie moment. Way to go Jude!

Fall is upon us. Keep an eye out for changing patterns. Most of the pattern changes are products of fish changing locations. Panfish will begin leaving their summer homes and will head to deeper water. They may, altogether, abandon weeds. The first sign that panfish (keeper sized sunfish and crappie) have left their summer location is that the area will be occupied by small/left-over sunfish and pumpkinseed, and no crappie. If that’s the case, don’t stay at that spot. Your fish have left because summer is over for them– check nearby in slightly deeper water.  Look near the deep weed line or at the base of drop offs.  Northern pike are still best found buried in weeds/cabbage stands. 

The time of higher activity pike is near, however—they too will loosen up and do more cruising.  For now, troll or cast large spinner baits over cabbage stands, and try trolling large crank-baits along weed lines near deep water. Large mouth and small mouth bass are biting well across Otter Tail County. It’s a great time of the year, and you can error on the side of large baits:  spinner baits, Texas and Carolina rigged plastic worms, slugs, Senkos and Dredger-style crank baits. And don’t forget about drop shot rigs! Everything works right now!  Walleye keep doing their late summer thing, and they’ll bite well when you find them—but you have to find them. Nightcrawlers are the bait of choice. It was, over all, a strong leech summer for walleye, but they are certainly gravitating towards crawlers now. 

Good Luck fishing Otter Tail Lakes Country this week! 

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