We certainly have had everything except stable conditions so far this season, making catching fish of any species more challenging. One thing you can count on is the fact the fish still have to eat.
Fish are cold blooded creatures meaning their body temperature is the same as the water temperature. So the warmer the water the faster the fishes metabolism. The faster their metabolism the more often they have to eat.
These constantly changing water conditions that we have had this season will also make the fish do some crazy stuff. A friend and I were recently fishing for bass in shallow water, and we not only caught a nice bunch of bass but mixed in with them were some very nice walleyes. There’s lots of extra water out there so how do you find fish? The answer to that seems kind of simple, cover more water and let the fish tell you where they are. In this high water situation using artificial lures to cover water can be very effective, it can also be very challenging since with the extra water comes extra debris to snag on.
Here are a couple of great ways to fish this new water. A Beetle Spin is probably one of the most versatile lures out there. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to match up with whatever you are fishing for. Chucking and winding a small spinnerbait like the Beetle Spin in the shallow water of the lakes and rivers around the Cedar Valley is a sure way to catch some crappies and blue gills, then step up to a little larger Beetle Spin and bounce it across the bottom for bass and walleyes.
Another simple but very effective way to cover water is with a slip bobber set up. For panfish like blue gills and crappies a small jig like a Rock Hopper or a Ballsy drifted across some shallow water under a slip bobber can be deadly, especially if the wind is blowing making other presentations difficult. With these small jigs it may be necessary to use a weighted bobber for added casting accuracy or distance. For larger fish like bass and walleyes simply switch to a larger jig. A plain 1/8th ounce lead head jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp Alive minnow drifting across a shallow flat under a slip bobber is hard to beat!
As I mentioned earlier covering water is often the key to finding fish in high water, whether you are fishing from a boat or walking the shore be prepared to move around. When you do catch a fish, work that area over thoroughly from different angles before you move on, you will most likely catch a few more fish from that spot. Also come back to this productive area later in the day, the fish are moving around and other fish may move in to this “hot spot”. Don’t sit around and complain, being aggressive and moving around looking for feeding fish is a great way to combat this high water that we are faced with right now. Just remember to be extra careful and respect the power of mother nature. Until next time keep your lure wet.