Fishing Warm High Water


It looks like we’ll have high water most of the summer. They have dropped the water some and it’s lowering only a few inches a day, but it’s still about 11 feet above summer pool. Unless we have a lot of rain going forward, it should continue to slowly go down. Let’s hope this doesn’t affect the fish too much. The water really has cleared up and looks pretty good. It’s also warmed up quite a bit and has been holding around 80 degrees. The fish have finished spawning now and are in their seasonal patterns.

Summertime whites on Lake Shelbyville.

Walleyes and saugers were being caught more in June and that will more than likely slow some in July. The whites have been moving out on the long points and near the drop-offs of some of the big flats. Jigging spoons and Little Georges have been working and there’ll still be an occasional walleye or sauger in with them. You can idle across some of these areas and watch for the schools and even the baitfish on your electronics. When you do see them, stop and try it or you can troll crankbaits. Both methods are effective when fish are not on the banks.

We usually troll in 10 to 14 feet and watch the locator to follow the right depth. If that’s not working I’ll keep the baits in and just idle back and forth across an area and go over different depths and watch the locator for schools. If you find them, you can frequently vertically jig your bait. If you’re catching them and then they stop, they’ve most likely moved some so you have to start casting out in different directions and work your baits back to the boat until you relocate them. They move a lot chasing the baitfish so you have to be mobile and follow them.

For numbers of fish this time of year, the whites are your best bet. But if you’re more into sport fishing instead of panfish, largemouths are usually active in the warm months in Lake Shelbyville and can be caught deep or shallow. As long as the water is high and there are weeds and willows, that’s where I’ll fish for them. We don’t always have green cover in the water, but when we do, they use it.

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If there are any openings in the cover, throw a buzzbait or spinnerbait. And if the water is above that cover just enough then you can also try a shallow-running crankbait over it. If these aren’t working just slow down and use a soft plastic bait like a plastic worm or craw-worm-type bait or a bass jig.

By July, there may not be too much water left in the weeds, but these baits will work most of the time. If you’re not successful at first, go to the heavier plastic baits—or heavier weights—to fish deeper on points and drops. Some people prefer to do this, but I always try the shallow patterns first. I feel these fish are more active, easier to find and more fun to catch.

And remember, they don’t give up just because of the hot weather.