Summertime Mixed Bag On Deep, Clear Inland Water

By Capt. Justin Kohn - August 2, 2018
Advertisement As a full-time fishing guide in the south-central Wisconsin, I am fortunate to have some very high quality fishing lakes in my area. I get the opportunity to spend most of my time during the summer work weeks learning and developing different technique on lakes like Winnebago, Puckaway, and Big Green. I guide on many bodies of water across Wisconsin, but I am going to share how I make targeting multi species on Big Green Lake so much fun through all of summertime months. Like most deep clear water lakes it can be rewarding but a challenge to figure out where to start. These techniques and fishing patterns can be used on any other deep body of water that you like to fish and learn more about.

Big Green Lake is always a little late to warm up compared to other close by inland waters due to its excessive depth of well over two hundred feet deep, but that helps the bite last longer through summer and into fall. Fish will almost always have the option to move into their desired water temperature by simply changing depth and they will most often be feeding consistently.

When the month of May rolls around and the opener for Big Green Lake starts, the water temperature is usually quite cold - around 50 degrees. The walleye and pike will be in the shallows where they can find the warmest during the spring. Shallow flats with minimal weed growth is easily the most productive way to catch any game fish with by trolling. Trolling is a big subject, obviously, but to simplify it you can defiantly catch a mixture of different species by driving just under two miles per hour holding a longer medium action rod with a number five Berkley Flicker Shad at a long cast behind you. Without much weed growth this early in the year, these fish are mostly relating to warmer water. With the wind switching direction the warm and cold water gets moved around often so covering water is usually the key.

As the water gets warmed up in the mid to late summer months, the lake develops a lot of changes - the weeds grow, the water clears, and a thermo cline develops. Big Green Lake can be extremely difficult and overwhelming to learn for even avid fisherman because of its endless structure and deep clear water. When trying to decide which depths to start targeting each day, it is important to look at the previous couple days wind and weather. When there is consistent wind from any particular direction for multiple days in a row, it tends to move a lot of water because of the lakes average depth of one hundred feet this can often times set up the best situation to target and can easily get over looked. Plankton, algae, and baitfish get moved by the current created by wind and the roaming predators will often times move along with them. Even the fish that are not roaming around with the wind, but primarily stay in certain areas of the lake, will get much more active with the movment of the algae stained green tint to the deep clear water. By stained I mean visibility going from twelve or fifteen feet down to three or four feet, which is absolutely ideal. When I get patterns set up like this, there are several ways I target these fish. The best way to pick off the most aggressive fish is by casting crank baits in these areas. My crank bait rods are seven foot, medium action rods spooled with Berkley FireLine Ultra 8 fourteen pound test for a super long cast every time. We all know that there are many different cranks that catch fish while casting in deeper water, but for me and my customers, the Berkley Digger casts far with little effort and digs right down into the desired depth with almost any retrieval speed. This loud rattling digger attracts fish from a distance and when walleye, bass, and pike strike this lure you will definitely know it.

Another technique that I use most often to catch very finicky smallmouth, walleye, even large bluegills is a very slow and subtle presentation. Over the years, I mainly use a rig called the drop shot which has become my weapon of choice on Green Lake for many reasons. The drop shot keeps your bait and hook just above the rocks and weeds which have green clingy algae which ruins your presentation as soon as it touches. It also always keeps your bait just above the fish so they can easily see it in the clear water. Drop shotting is very effective from three feet of water all the way to thirty feet of water by simply changing weights. As most fisherman know, a leach or a crawler will catch anything and everything which makes them my preferred live bait of choice. I use this rig when fishing in shallower weeds on cloudy days and also on clear calm days when the fish move out to deep rock and crib structures.

When I am focusing on larger game fish, such as bass, walleye, and pike, I have not found a better bait to rig on the drop shot than the new Berkley PowerBait MaxScent D-Worm. The D-Worm has proven itself in my boat to catch almost everything. Walleye, pike, and bass are extremely attracted to the large amount of scent this bait gives off. There are many rod, reel, and line combinations that can be used for drop shotting but mainly I use two different set ups. My live bait rods are medium-light action spooled with six pound test - Berkley Trilene XL. When I am drop shotting the D-Dorm, I rig it on a medium rod spooled with ten pound Berkley FireLine Ultra 8 and a four feet of ten pound fluorocarbon for a clear leader.

Big Green Lake Is a challenging clear water lake that is fun to continue to learn due to its constant changing of patterns throughout the season. These are just a few of my go to techniques that should help you be more successful on a challenging deep, clear lake near you.

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Capt. Justin Kohn