Column: Take the bite out of dog days

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 2, 2003

The &uot;Dog Days&uot; are here and still making fishing just a little tough on some of the area lakes.

Working the weed edges may surprise you at this time of year. Fish seek cover in hot weather and weeds are a good place to find them. There are no rules the fish follow and every lake is a little different, but no matter what lake you are on you can always find some fish along the weed lines.

The past couple weeks I got to spend a little time fishing with the grand kids. My wife, son Brad and I took grandson Dylan to the channel for a little fishing. While the fish weren’t big they were plentiful enough for Dylan to have fun. Once again it shows that kids don’t really care what they catch as long as they catch fish.

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Dylan also had to ask the question: &uot;How many fish did I catch grandpa?&uot; The next question was a loaded one: &uot;How many fish did you catch ?&uot; I guess I try to make sure they can out-catch me (not always by choice). This gives them confidence and keeps their interest. When we go fishing we usually have a small wager on the first fish and the biggest.

Last Friday my son Brian and his family asked me to a little picnic at Edgewater Park. It was a fun, relaxing time and &uot;The Fisherman&uot; was there. Grandson Trevor fished from the time we arrived until we left. It didn’t take him long before he figured out where the fish were hiding and how to get them on the line.

When it comes to fishing Trevor is all business. He only stopped long enough to eat a burger and then it was back to fishing until the time we left. He reminds me of how I was as a young aspiring fisherman.

I told him of how I had a friend from Austin named Dennis and he would come over and stay with his grandpa Gilbert. His grandpa worked for the parks department and he maintained Edgewater Park.

Dennis and I would ride to work with him in the morning and we would fish all morning until Gilbert would come and find us so we could eat this grand lunch his grandma had packed for us.

As soon as lunch was over it was back to fishing because we knew when his grandpa was done work it would be time to go. I can never remember being bored even when the sun was at its hottest and the fishing slowed. It was just a little more of a challenge and we would have to become more creative to catch fish.

The lakes are still there, the parks we fished as kids are still there, and the fish are still there to be found.

It’s fun to watch my family catching fish in the same places where I caught fish more years ago than I care to think of, although it seems like only last week.

Time really has a way of going by fast. One day you’re the little kid that can’t get enough fishing, and the next you’re the grandpa that gets out-fished by that little kid you used to be.

From some reports that I have heard and read there are a couple lakes in the Waterville area that may be worth checking out. Tetonka has been showing some nice northern action and of course there is always a striper or two to be had. The perch are nice if you are lucky enough to find them. There is another thing to keep in mind about this lake. The state record large mouth came out of this lake.

I have heard that French Lake was pretty hot in mid-July for some nice muskie. This is an exceptional lake once we head into fall.

Here are some reports from guides and bait shops statewide:

Alexandria – Walleyes on Miltona and Ida providing the most action. Start around 20-25 feet of water with a crawler tipped spinner. A few fish coming off Reno but they have been running smaller. Sunfish bite good on most area lakes with the bigger fish coming off the deeper weed lines. Bass bite also good from the deep weed edges up to the shallows. Topwater has been a good bite, but jigs and pigs and power worms catching plenty of fish. Northern pike action has been good on sucker minnows although good reports of success with crankbaits on the weed edges.

Bemidji – Walleye bite good on Bemidji right now with spinners and twister tails producing good numbers in 12-14 feet of water. The jig and minnow bite has also been effective. Muskie bite has been good and getting better with 50-inch fish reported on Bemidji and Cass. One came off a bionic bucktail. Crappies are starting to show up near the cribs on Red Lake with a good northern pike bite continuing. Panfish action has been very good on area lakes with the deep cabbage out-producing most other areas for good fish. Waxies and small leeches on ice jigs the favorite here. Bass are still hot and heavy on local lakes with both deep worms and topwater offerings producing fish.

Mille Lacs Lake – Walleyes are still biting during the day on crank baits. Fish are still being caught off the mud flats and deep gravel bars. This pattern will continue for the next month or so as long as it doesn’t get too hot. Current surface water temps are around 75 degrees. The night bite will really pick up in September.

Leech Lake Area – Not much has changed on Leech Lake in the last week. Muskie fishing continues to be quite productive with bucktails being the best bet. The best action is occurring early and late in the day.

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Good Luck and Good Fishin’

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