As summer winds down, the fishing heats up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 10, 2002

It seems like only yesterday we were looking forward to summer. Now the Freeborn County Fair is history for another year and the countdown to fall has begun.

When I was growing up on Bridge Street north of town our neighborhood &uot;gang&uot; would always look forward to the fair. We would start to get excited about it two weeks ahead of time. As we anxiously awaited the fair we would make numerous bike trips to the fairgrounds to check on the progress of a new project the workers might be doing to get ready for the fair. Once the midway arrived we would be there checking out the new rides.

We would look at all the livestock and see who had the meanest looking bull or the largest pig and of course we had to judge the best corn dogs and foot longs. I saved my paper route money and mowed lawns all summer just to spend it in five magical days, though I don’t know if it ever lasted the whole five days. One year I learned a valuable lesson about the reality of the carnival games.

Email newsletter signup

For all the time we spent just waiting for the fair to start, we would be rewarded with the realization that after the fair, the beginning of school was just around the corner, which I always had mixed emotions about. My summer was about to end and the inevitable was about to happen. The beginning of football season always seemed to make the start of another school year almost seem exciting.

This is also a great time of year to think some serious fishing. The &uot;Dog Days of August&uot; can also be pretty productive, from a fishing perspective. The days are still pleasant or sometimes downright hot, but the nights are starting to cool down.

There were many years when I would pack the family into the pickup camper and head north for a week in August. It seems like we always caught our share of fish and sometimes we would have better fishing than we did earlier in the year.

In August there were some mornings when I would get up early only to find the lake so foggy I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of me. In the distance you could hear another boat going full speed, as if the fool had X-ray vision that allowed him to see through anything. This is very dangerous and could end up in a tragedy. If you must go out on a real foggy morning proceed with caution, don’t just bury the speedometer and think you know where you are going. A locator might let you know about structure but it doesn’t tell you what’s on the surface.

Getting up early while on a fishing vacation is mandatory in my book. Early morning is my favorite time to fish. If I were to sleep in one morning I always felt like I was cheating myself out of valuable fishing time. There is nothing worse than hearing the sound of an outboard motor buzzing across the lake while I am trying to get the sleep out of my eyes. Racing against someone I don’t know just to be the first to wet a line each morning can be exhilarating.

Many nice largemouth bass have been taken in the month of August. The water is gradually cooling down and the use of surface plugs can lead to some good action. Casting surface lures over the top of underwater weeds can be quite rewarding. This is especially productive early in the morning and in late evening. You can also look for open pockets in the midst of some thicker weeds. Casting a pig and jig or Berkley Power Bait into these pockets can trigger some good strikes.

On Lake Tetonka the fishing has been fairly good, with stripers still continuing to be active. Some crappies are being caught along with some nice walleye. You still catch a lot of small walleye to find a nice keeper but it is worth it because you are catching fish.

“Good Luck and Good Fishin’.&uot;

&045; &045; &045;

Statewide fishing update:


Sunfish are hitting at a good pace in 10 to 15 feet of water on most area lakes. Blackduck Lake and Lake Bemidji are the area’s best bets for walleyes in 12 to 22 feet of water. Muskie anglers also are reaping the benefits of a good August bite along the weed edges of Big Lake and Lake Plantagenet. Bass anglers are finding numbers of big, active fish along the weed edges of Lake Beltrami, South Twin Lake, and Grant Lake.


Redtail minnows continue to produce walleyes in 18 to 34 feet of water on most area lakes during the day. Look shallower with crankbaits during low-light periods. Bass and northern pike are on the bite in eight to 22 feet of water, and there are a few crappies biting in 18 to 30 feet. Sunfish are active on most area lakes in 18 to 24.


Small bucktails and spinnerbaits thrown over the tops of most cabbage beds are producing muskies on Cass Lake. The best bet for seeing numbers of fish is early and late in the day. The breaklines of Cass are giving up enough walleyes to keep anglers interested. North Cedar Bar, Deadman’s Bar, East Cedar Bar, and Turtle River Bar are all worth checking out. Bluegills are biting in the shallow weeds of Lake Andrusia, Kitchi Lake, and Cass.


A lot of 14- to 16-inch walleyes are coming off the main lake bars in recent days. Work the Snag Hole, Third River Bar, north end of Center Bar, the Humps, and the west end of Sugar Bar for larger concentrations of fish. Long, live bait rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers have been the hot presentations in 18 to 21 feet of water. Work the south end of Highbanks to Duck Pass, Raven’s Point, and Stoney Point for numbers of active northern pike.


Avid muskie anglers are touting this season as the best they’ve ever seen. From the main lake rocks to the weeds in Portage Bay, to Kabekona Bay, consistent muskie reports are coming in. Numbers of fish in the 40- to 50-inch class are hitting bucktails, topwaters, and small spinnerbaits. Bass fishing has been good on most smaller lakes in the area. Deep weedlines seem to be holding bigger fish. Walleye action on Leech remains slow.


East &045; Work the edges of most deep gravel and mud spots with spinner rigs and leeches. The fish seem to be scattered a bit more than they have been in recent weeks. Crankbaits or slip bobber rigs still are producing walleyes at night on the shallow rocks. Look to Hennepin Island, Hawkbill, Three Mile, and the Graveyard. Muskie anglers on the north end are hooking a few fish on crankbaits and bucktails. Smallies are active on the shallow rocks.

West &045; During the day, the deep edges of Curley’s Flat, Seguchie’s Flat, and Sherman’s Flat are kicking out a few fish. The daytime consistency has slowed a bit, with spinner rigs and minnows producing the best catches right now. The night bite is still strong in these same areas. Slip bobber rigs and leeches in 30 to 35 feet of water is your best bet after dark. Northern pike continue to be active in the bays. Crankbaits are turning fish early in the day, but sucker minnows are the way to go during midday periods. The points are holding numbers of active smallmouth bass.


Big Pine Lake continues to give up limits of walleyes in 12 to 20 feet of water. Most area lakes are producing sunfish, but Star Lake is a safe bet for bigger fish in 12 to 15 feet of water. Look to Big Pine Lake for numbers of northern pike, with larger sucker minnows producing bigger fish.


Leeches and jigs have been the hot bait this week. Black Bay, Lost Bay, and the main lake reefs are the best bets in 24 to 32 feet of water. If you like catching big smallmouth bass, hit the North Arm now! Numbers of fish in the four- to five-pound class are hitting artificial and live bait rigs at an unbelievable pace. Northern pike also can be had along the shoreline breaks and weeded areas.


Sunfish have been the big story again this week on Lake Minnewaska in eight to 12 feet of water. There have been enough walleyes caught along the shallow weeds of Minnewaska to keep anglers busy as well.