Find Fish in the Summer

By Bob Jensen - July 1, 2006
Finding fish is almost always the key to fishing success. It has been said so many times before: You can't catch'em if you can't find'em. There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for summer fish.

First, remember that eating is what fish do all summer. Their main objective every day is to find something to eat. Therefore, you should be looking for the areas that hold the food for the fish. Smallmouth bass eat crawdads much of the summer, so you should be fishing where the crawdads live.

Walleyes eat perch in some lakes and open water forage like smelt in other lakes. If you're on a lake where they eat perch, you should be fishing near the bottom.

If you're on a lake where they eat open water forage, you should consider fishing for suspended fish in the open water.

In most lakes, structure is an important consideration. Walleyes can often be found near sunken islands, shallow reefs, or shoreline points. However, don't fish structure just to be fishing structure. Some structures will hold fish while a similar structure close by won't.

Consider a shallow point or reef for walleyes. Wind is a very important consideration. A windblown point or reef at one end of the lake will generally be much better than a similar point or reef at the other end of the lake that isn't windblown. In fact, the windblown side of a point will usually be much better than the calm side.

Sonar is such an important tool for fishing success in the summer. Use your sonar to check a structure before you even drop a line. Look for concentrations of baitfish and the larger marks that usually indicate predator fish. Concentrate your efforts on the area of the structure where fish are. If you see no fish, don't spend too much time in the area.

Some color sonar units do a wonderful job of drawing a picture of everything between the surface and the bottom of the lake. They reveal bottom content changes very well and are extremely easy to see in the sun. Humminbird has created a series of color sonar units that are easy to use and do a marvelous job of showing what's down there. They're priced right too.

Weedlines are another summer fish-holding area. What you need to find for maximum success are the irregularities in the weedline. There will be fish scattered here and there all along the weedline, but the groups of fish will be found on the points or turns. Find these spots and you'll increase your chances for getting bit.

With all the innovations in rods and reels and boats and motors and lures, the key to fishing success is still finding the fish. Spend more time finding the fish this summer and you'll catch more of them.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at