Cure for the summertime blues

This summer’s fishing has not been overly kind to me and I’m trying to learn the reason why. Oh, I’ve caught fish, but during previous seasons I’ve had no trouble catching plenty of crappies and walleyes here at the lake.

So why is this season different? Is it the weather? Maybe, because the water temperature has often been on the plus side of 80 degrees. Could it just be me? Perhaps as I have not fished as often or as hard as usual. It could be either of these reasons or more likely a combination of them both.

I also think the over population of minnows has made my lures less enticing. Why should a fish chase a Hot n’ Tot when all he need do is glom down an entire school of minnows. I’ve seen the same thing happen with deer hunting.

The area surrounding my hunting area is all planted with corn and soybeans. So the deer have plenty to eat without moving much. I’ve seen them actually bed down in a corn or soybean field and spend much of the day there, and probably the night too. Talk about being lazy.

So maybe much of my problem is environment related and there is not much I can do about it other than try to adapt. As for the hot lake temperatures I need to get down deeper when the fish go down to cooler water. I also need to find either a lure or bait to make them want to move and either eat or attack.

In other years I have found that a nightcrawler will work when fish have minnows all around them. In 2017 I used my homemade nightcrawler harnesses and caught my share of walleyes. This year the fish don’t seem interested and I’ve tried different presentations without much luck.

I slow troll the harness with enough speed to make the spinner blades spin. That is usually around .7 to 1.5 mph as determined by the Humminbird’s built in GPS. I have also tried a faster speed, but still only caught a couple small perch, that I think were just interested in the juicy nightcrawler on the end of the harness.

Our best luck has been trolling green chartreuse Hot n’ Tots and Wally Divers. We pull these at between 2 and 3 mph. If the heat keeps up I plan to add more weight ahead of the lure to make it run deeper. There are a couple ways to accomplish this.

Perhaps the easiest way to add weight for small lakes is to use a walking sinker. These weights have lead melted on the end of a small wire and you attach one end to your line and the other end to a leader and then the lure. A bottom bouncer weight works on the same principle except that there is a longer wire that bounces along the bottom.

I make my own bottom bouncers and have replaced the soft wire with the spring steel wire I get from a hobby shop that sells model airplane kits and materials. The more expensive wire probably makes no difference, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something special.

One thing certain is that I need to solve my problem fast, or leave it until next year. Having my boat docked on a lake has some wonderful advantages when it come to trying new methods, but there is one big disadvantage in that others decide when it is time to put the boat on its trailer and go hunting.

When we had our boat on Atwood Lake the Corps of Engineers decided when it was time to lower the lake. In my opinion they did it the army way and when the manual gave a date to lower the lake they pulled the plug.

Here on Lake Tomahawk much more thought goes into lowering the lake and the trustees do their best to please everyone. I appreciate their consideration, but they have things that just need to be done that are more important than my fishing.

Eventually the lake water level will have to come down so I’ll try to figure out my fishing soon. I have no idea what to do about the crops around my hunting area. Maybe I just need to hunt harder.