Make the summer doldrums a thing of the past with these hot-weather tactics for some of the best walleye, bass, pike and muskie fishing of the year
#4 EMBRACE THE HEAT
The sweltering conditions my guests and I enjoyed during that memorable day of walleye fishing are even better if you’re chasing muskies and northern pike. Honestly, nothing beats those days when the sweat is dripping off the end of your nose and down your forehead into your eyes.
I mention that memorable walleye day for another reason. For many years as I refined my heavy jig and swimbait program, I attached short monofilament leaders to the ends of my braided main lines. That often resulted in a pike or muskie biting off my paddletail. At first, I simply regarded it as the cost of fishing for walleye in toothy critter water. Then I got to thinking that if I could find a super-thin, nearly invisible wire leader material, I could still catch walleye, but also prevent the bite-offs, save baits and nab some bonus trophies. The solution was 13-pound-test AFW Surflon Micro Supreme, stainless steel line that’s so limp you can tie your favourite knots with it.
Overnight, I started landing gorgeous, knee-knocking northerns, which, not surprisingly, prefer water temperatures almost identical to walleye. In fact, these big pike school with the walleye in the summer on the same main-lake rock structures—boulder piles, reefs, saddles and underwater points—and feast on the same pelagic pods of ciscoes and smelt. It was a eureka moment. We were kilometres from the nearest shallow weedy bay, in water at least twice as deep as most anglers associate with pike, catching giant gators under the hottest, calmest, sunniest conditions.
BONUS TIP: WEATHER WATCH
It may only happen a handful of times each summer, but if you can get out on the water before a thunderstorm at the very end of a long string of stifling hot, humid, calm days—the longer the heat wave, the better—you will win the summer fishing lottery. Don’t take chances, but when the sky begins to darken and the breeze picks up slightly, the fishing will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.