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The Best Fishing Of The Year?

By Bob Jensen - June 1, 2003
Early summer is perhaps the best time of the year for fishing. Autumn is probably better for trophies, but big fish are also available in early summer. Numbers of small to medium sized fish are also very good. Combine lots of fish with nice warm weather and you have the makings for a great day on the water. Here's how you can take advantage of early summer fishing.

There are a couple of reasons why the fishing can be so good early in the summer. First, the water is warming, and as the water warms, the fish's metabolism picks up a little. This increase in metabolism makes the fish bite better.

Also, the fish have completed the spawn and the recovery period that follows the spawning ritual. For the past several days and maybe weeks, the fish, especially the females, have not been eating too much. Now is the time when they start eating aggressively, and fish that are eating aggressively are fish that can be easy to catch.

Fish will be found in a variety of locations. The most important thing is finding the baitfish or whatever the fish are eating. They will be hungry, so they will be near their food. If there are no perch, shiners, shad, or crawdads, there will be no walleyes, bass, crappies, or pike. Find the food and you will be near the gamefish.

A wide variety of lure presentations will work at this time of year. Roach Rigs with a leech or crawler, or jigs tipped with some form of plastic or live bait will be great choices for walleyes. Fish them along drop-offs, sunken islands or flats, or near the edge of a weedbed and you're probably going to get bit.

If largemouth bass are the quarry, move into the rush beds and throw Reed-Runner spinnerbaits and Power Slugs. This is exciting fishing. Move quickly in the reed beds, as the bass will be spread out. If there is a bass nearby and it sees your bait, that bait will probably be eaten.

For crappies this time of year, it's tough to beat a Thumper Jig tipped with a one or two inch Power Tube or Power Grub. Fish this rig over and along cabbage weeds or near a drop-off.

Pulling crankbaits or spinner rigs can be very productive when the walleyes are spread out. Experiment with size, color, and running depth. The best way to experiment with these factors is by getting as many lines in the water as you can. Planer boards enable an angler to cover a wide area of water with a variety of lures. The Off Shore planer boards that are favored by many anglers are easy to use and really allow for experimentation.

Right now is an absolutely great time to be on the water. Remember to wear sunscreen, take a variety of bait, and cover water until you find the fish. If you do these things, you will discover why so many anglers look so forward to this time of year.

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
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