It’s a Good Time to Get Out

I can’t believe that I’m writing for the June issue already. I guess it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, because we’ve been having fun this spring catching fish. So far this year, crappies are all I’ve been fishing for and it’s been good.

As I’m writing this, the water temperature is in the mid 60s. It has been as warm as 70 in some areas, but we had cooler weather move in for a while and that dropped it back down to the low 60s. I’m glad it did, because the crappies weren’t ready to spawn yet, and I was afraid they would end up spawning out in a little deeper water and that it would be hard to find them if the water stayed warm.

When the water temperature was initially rising and approaching the 60s, the crappies were just starting to move into a little shallower water and we were still catching them around 8 feet deep. Then the weather turned very warm and the water temperature soared into the 60s in just a few days. Then it cooled back down and the fishing got tough for a while when the water temperatures dropped, but then picked back again up as the water gradually warmed.

At the time this was going on, we had several periods of good rain and the lake level was gradually rising. It had been at winter pool for a while. And now as I’m writing, it’s only about a foot below summer pool and some of the crappies are really shallow and some are still out a little deeper.

Judging from the current conditions, I’m predicting by the time this issue comes out this June most of the species will be in post-spawn patterns and the lake will be at or above normal summer pool. We should still be able to catch them, but it’ll be a little harder to find them and they won’t be grouped up like they are now.

Largemouths should be transitioning into more summer-like patterns and fishing for them in June should be pretty good as usual. They’ll be hitting on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters like buzzbaits. They may hit better on one kind of bait rather than another, depending on what the current weather conditions are. With some stable weather, they’ll hit the faster baits, but with weather-pattern changes, you may have to slow down and work plastics in and around cover.

If you just want to “catch fish,” June is a good time to just throw crankbaits. You can cover a lot of water with them, they most resemble true baitfish and about all predator fish will hit them.

We throw crankbaits a lot during late May and June because they’re good for locating bass and they frequently catch walleyes, which is a bonus. Walleyes readily hit them and June is an active time for them. Many sit out on the drops with live bait fishing for them, but it’s a slow bite, and I’d rather be moving and casting. Besides bass and walleyes, you may also locate some white bass or an occasional muskie.

If you’re looking for numbers of fish, you might want to look for some whites. Last year, we didn’t find the big schools of them like we usually do, so I’m hoping they’ll be easier to find this year. If we’re looking for whites, we usually throw the double-rigged twister tails I talk about a lot. It’s another bait that about any species will hit. They’re effective in the shallows and deep water, but if we’re finding them deep, we usually use some type of jigging spoon. Also, trolling crankbaits is another method used here to locate the white bass.

It’s a good time of year, so get out and enjoy before the “dog days” get here.