Spring into Summer in Otter Tail Lakes Country

By Randin Olson, Lock Jaw Guide Service

Lakes county has started to move into summer. Most fish are done spawning and are strapping on the feedbag to recover. Water temps are slowly climbing with some lakes hitting the 70 degree mark. With a few exceptions, most fish are still in their late spring pattern of shoreline points and tapering flats. Now it the time to cover water and pick apart your lake.

Walleyes are schooling up in small groups. If you find one, hang on because there will be more. Jigs and minnows, live bait rigs, and cranks will all produce right now. The key to this time of year is to keep moving. Fish an area and when the bite slows down, move to the next. Wind is a big factor in fish location all year, but can really help you now.

Bluegills are in the process of spawning and this can be some of the best bluegill fishing of the year! Scan the shallows for nests dug into the bottom. Move your boat away and cast a small jig, crawler and bobber back to the nests. Its not unheard off to catch 11in. gills this time of year but please practice selective harvest. Gills over 10in are true trophies and it takes a long time for these fish to reach that mark. 7 to 9in gills make for great tablefair.

For the most part, crappies are done spawning and have retreated to nearby weedbeds to rest and eat. Trolling small jigs like a thumper jig, can be very effective to both cover water and find active fish. Start close to the spawning areas as these fish wont move to far.

Bass have finished spawning and are looking for an easy meal. Jerkbaits, slow rolled spinnerbaits, and swim jigs will produce during this time. Focus your efforts on the adjacent weed beds just outside of the spawning areas. Fish them well and you can expect to have some fun!

Muskies are getting more active everyday. Focus your efforts on new weeds, and open water. Trolling open water can be very effective this time of year, and pay attention to any fish you catch/see. When you get a follow, come back to him at a later time and he just might eat! Bucktails, cranks, and topwaters are among my favorites this time of year.

All in all this is a great time of year to fish. Soon the fish will dump into their summer patterns and there will be many more fishing opportunities. This is a great time of year to learn more about your favorite lake!

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