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Late Summer River Walleye
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.
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
Good luck and tight lines!
By: Raymond Tiffany
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