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Fishing Success During the Dog Days of Summer

By Bob Jensen - August 1, 2007
Here in the Midwest, we’re right in the middle of the dog-days of summer, and we’ve got at least a month of the dog-days left. A very basic definition of the dog-days is the period of time during the hottest part of the summer. Anglers often describe the dog-days as the toughest time of the year to catch fish. Although fish can get a little more difficult to catch, they’ll still eat. In fact, if you keep a few ideas in mind, you can catch plenty of fish during the dog-days. Following are some of those ideas.

"If you should happen to be on the water the day after a weather change, and the skies are clear and the air temps are cooler, consider chasing northern pike."

Summer BassOften the best bite will occur early and late in the day before the sun gets to its peak. Fishing is often more comfortable at this time of day as well. The fish will often be shallower and away from heavy cover early and late in the day.

That doesn’t mean the fish won’t bite at mid-day. If largemouth bass are the quarry, try the areas where the cover is heavier. Flip a jig into the heaviest cover you can find. If there is a bass in there, it will eat the jig.

For walleyes, go a little deeper, and fish the shaded side of the structure. If you’re on a sunken island, and the sun is more toward the east, try working the west side of the structure. It will be a little more shaded, and the fish might be a little more active.

Again for walleyes, if you see fish on a deep structure and they’re grouped up, run a Roach Rig with a crawler or leech through them. Slow down and work them very thoroughly.

If you can’t find them grouped up, speed up your presentation. Tie on a Baitfish-Image Rainbow Spinner and cover water. You’ll catch a fish here and one there, and by the end of the day you’ll have caught a good number of fish.

Remember that in the summer, the baitfish will be aggressive. They will be constantly nipping at your live bait, so you will need to reel in and check the bait frequently. To get around this, use Gulp! or Power Bait on the spinners. The baitfish will still nip at these baits, but they won’t damage them, and the walleyes will eat them as good as they would live bait.

If you can plan the timing of your day on the water, take a look at the weather forecast. If you can find a day when the weather has been stable for a few days, that would be good. If there have been a few days of stable weather, but the forecast is predicting a change, the day before that change can be very good. If you can react quickly to the timing of your day on the water, and you see that there could be a change in the weather, try to go fishing before the weather change.

"Remember that in the summer, the baitfish will be aggressive."

If you should happen to be on the water the day after a weather change, and the skies are clear and the air temps are cooler, consider chasing northern pike. They don’t seem to be as affected by weather changes.

I just returned from a dog-day fishing trip. The action for bass early and late was tremendous, while mid-day action was noticeably slower. Keep the above ideas in mind and you’ll catch plenty of fish during the dog-days of summer.

For more fish-catching information, visit

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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