Water temp: 84
As we are coming into the dog days of summer, fishing is still pretty good for most species. Recreational traffic gets pretty hectic on the weekends, but fishing early or late can be a much more enjoyable time. Here’s what to look for:
Stripers: Most of the stripers have moved into they’re summer rituals, meaning big schools can be located, although a lot of fish are scattered out and in small pods. The fish are running between 25-60 feet in the c water column. Some can be a lot shallower early mornings ... Focus your fishing in the mid to lower section of both river arms and even around the main lower basin. Downlines, lite lines and lite weighted planers are working effectively. Baiting with alewives/bluebacks. Keep your eye on the sonar for schools of fish coming through. Scout around before fishing as well as work your lines up and down over the tree tops, points and humps; don’t be afraid to go deep.
Artificial: Jigging is an effective method. A simple 1/2-3/4 swamp monkey jighead matched with a 5” fluke is a sure thing. Several methods are effective. Such as jigging in an up and down motion, but I prefer to give it a few hops instead of just one upward jig. Dead sticking in deep water is effective, by just simply letting your jig sit, in or on the tree tops. I’ve seen a lot of trollers out and hooking up. Some with umbrella rigs, others with deep divers, spoons and sassy shads.
Catfish: low light, nighttime is definitely your best time for cats. Focus your efforts in 20 feet of water and less. Keep in mind cats don’t always feed on the bottom. Fishing under floats is also effective. I’ve seen a big channel cat chasing alewives and shad on the surface just like stripers! Which is why I prefer fresh live and cut bait for bait. Don’t be a fool; release those catfish over 10 lbs.
Crappie: I have heard NO reports. But catching a few in my net in 20-plus feet of water. White perch are extremely active right now. Attacking my alewives when I get to shallow such as 15-20 feet of water. Some are rather large, going 14”. Small minnows and spoons are effective as well as sabiki rigs. Even spoons tipped with a small piece of cut bait or worm. And white perch are extremely tasty.
L.T. Burnette of Swamp Monkey Lures reports on bass: As the summer heat continues to bear down on SML, the bass fishing is as hot as it has been all year. The Tuesday and Friday night tournaments out of Captain’s Quarters are consistently taking over 12 pounds in a three-fish limit to make the cut. The amount of daytime tournaments have been reduced due to COVID-19 and of course the incredible amount of boat traffic that appears every summer at SML. However, the day and nighttime bites line up very similarly.
Anglers are finding success in deep water around rocky points and brush piles located on or near the main lake. Spend time utilizing your electronics to find the rock and brush you need to increase your catch rate. Carolina and Texas rigged soft plastics such as Zoom Ol’ Monster and Berkley Power Worms, along with football jigs and deep diving shad colored crankbaits, are tried and true techniques for the summer. Natural colors such as watermelon and green pumpkin work well during the day while dark colors such as grape and junebug will be productive at night.
The topwater schooling bite is hit or miss during the day, and the alewife spawn continues to slow down or push extremely late into the night. Zara Spooks and Lucky Craft Sammy’s are great topwater baits for schooling fish, and the Storm Thunderstick or Jackal Mikey are notorious for producing during the alewife spawn.
I have never personally seen the pleasure boat traffic as congested as it has been this year. So when you are fishing, day or night, consider wearing your life vest at all times. You never know when that rogue wake could hit your boat and send you off the boat and into the lake. Always be on the lookout for the other boater! Tight lines and be safe!
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