Fishing Through the Seasons — Wilderness North

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Fishing Through the Seasons

May

Northerns are coming off their spawn just after the ice is out. The females will be feeding heavily trying to regain strength and stamina from an extended period of other activities. Look for pike in dark-bottomed shallow bays (warmer water) as they will be looking for bait fish. Dark-bottomed shallow bays will generally warm up first in the water system attracting baitfish, in turn attracting predators.

Walleye will also be shallow this time of year, too recovering from the spawn. Look for them in moving water and at the drops from shallow to deeper water. They will begin schooling up again post spawn so it’s reasonable to expect more than a few once you locate them.

June

Northern Pike will still be relating to those shallow bays at this time of year. Though they may not be right up in the shallows, they will often cruise up to feed only to slink back to the deeper water adjacent to the mouth of the bay. June is where you can also start to target pike in relation to cover. Emerging weeds will be oxygenating an area, which will attract baitfish, in turn, attracting predators.

Walleye after the spawn will mill about in shallower bays looking for an easy meal. Again, the areas that warm up first in the system will be home to ravenous fish. Look for deep water structure to locate these fish such as humps and saddles, deep ledges and drops.

July

As the water gets to the low-mid 70s pike will tend to move to deeper areas of the lake relating to structure. Ideal water temperature for northern pike is around 65-68 degrees, this is where they are most happy. Consider slowing down any presentations when targeting pike in warmer weather. The fish will still be retreating to deep structure to ambush their prey. Finding moving water might be a great strategy here as flow generally will be cooler, more oxygenated and an attractant for baitfish.

Walleye in July will be down deeper in most systems at this time. Don’t discount moving water for smaller fish; however, most will be looking for the cool deep depths where baitfish can easily be found and picked off. Evening walleye at the first of the month may come to the surface in relation to a mayfly hatch. This phenomenon generally occurs for a few days early July and can be an interesting way to target dusk-feeding fish.

August

Early in this month, fishing could be similar to that of July. Slower presentations around structure will be key. As the nights get cooler and the overall temperature of the lake/water starts to cool off to pikey temperatures, the fish will begin to move back into early summer patterns looking to feed heavily in preparation for winter. Submerged weeds will begin to die off, so search for fresh green weeds (still alive) to find the pike. Dead weeds don’t produce oxygen, won’t hold bait and therefore have a lesser chance of holding pike. Late August and early September are prime time for large northern pike!

Walleye in the dog days of summer will most always be either relating to moving water, or will be deep. 15 feet or greater, looking for dynamic structure down low should have you in the zone for walleye. They will still be schooling and toward the end of the month, much like northern pike, will be looking to add to their weight for the slower metabolism they experience throughout the winter.

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