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Late Summer River Walleye

The dog days of summer, that’s what we call them. So hot outside it is barely tolerable, water temps are sky high, algae is in full bloom, and fishing is hard, especially for big fish……. Or is it?

When it comes to the dog days, there are usually two types of water we try to target; deep lakes or deep rivers. When water temps rise on shallower water, deep water maintains cooler temperatures, and usually fish. Rivers are the same, with the added bonus that moving water is naturally cooler water, which allows you, in most cases, to find those cooler temperatures, and fish, shallower than you would in the lakes.

On a recent trip here in Wisconsin with my son, we decided to hit a river system, below a dam, that held a hydroelectric plant on one side. Knowing that the turbines would keep the current moving, and that the water was a little deeper, adding in the plant itself and a huge concrete wall to block a primary part of the day’s sunlight, we were certain we would find fish. What we did find were not only fish, but huge fish!

Although I know plastic baits would have worked, we found our success using ½ ounce Hot Heads jigs, by K&E Stopper Lures, tipped with a lively 6-7 inch sucker minnow. The jigs work well as they are designed for use with a stinger hook if needed for short biting fish, the colors are bright and vibrant, and they hold their paint well while jigging over the rocks and debris that lied below.

We noticed that a section of the plant did not have the turbines running and that is where we headed. The calmer water is where the baitfish will be holding, which in turn, is where the bigger fish will be feeding. Casting upstream, toward the plant, we wait until our jig reaches bottom, and gently walk our bait back, with the current, by giving quick 8-10 inch “pops” to our rod, reeling slack line consistently. “Dad, I got one!” are words that every father loves to hear, and came within minutes of wetting the first line. The rod buckled, the fish hammered hard, but in the end, it rested angrily in the net. “Holy cow, Dad, look at the size of that thing!” My heart swelled at the sight of my son’s personal best walleye. It was a 28.5” river giant with heavy shoulders and a mean attitude.

Don’t let the dog days keep you off of the water. The fish still have to eat. It may just take a little different approach to hook up.

Good luck and tight lines!

By: Raymond Tiffany



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