Fishing During the “Dog Days” of Summer

Arlo at North Haven Resort fishing the dog days

Fishing During the “Dog Days” of Summer can be tricky.  The “dog days” start roughly the first week in July and last until the middle of August.  This is on average the hottest stretch of temperatures throughout the year.  This results in the the warmest water temperatures in lakes and rivers too.  Fish breathe oxygen from water with their gills.  During the “dog days” of summer, this warmer water has less oxygen in it.  When a fish is receiving less oxygen, their metabolism slows down and they become less active and lethargic. Even though the fish are moving a little slower, that doesn’t mean they can’t be caught by an angler who knows where to find them.

Slow Your Lure Presentation

Spring and fall are times in the year where fast moving lures are the key to catching lots of fish.  These seasons are a time where crankbaits or jigs and twister tails retrieved fast work well for walleye and spinnerbaits or spoons are often used for northern pike.  Once the water temps begin to rise, lure presentations need to be slowed down. Think of this as a good time to use finesse baits.  This is where a setup, such as a Lindy Rig can be perfect for walleyes and a suspending jerk bait for northern pike.  The slow speed presentation of these types of lures are nearly impossible for fish to resist.

Fish Deeper Water

When water temperatures begin to rise on the surface, the deeper areas in a lake or river remain cooler.  The cooler water can make fish more active since the amount of oxygen is higher.  Typically a plan can be developed to try many different depths in order to find active fish.  A plan should include checking multiple depths adjacent to an area where fish were located earlier in the summer.  An example would be if walleyes were being caught in 8 to 12 feet of water in early summer, you might want to try 16 to 24 feet of water in that same area in the middle of summer.

Look for Weeds

As the water temperatures in the shallow and mid depths continue to rise through the “dog days”, underwater weeds begin to grow rapidly.  These newly grown underwater forests offer game fish such as northern pike a new place to feed and hide.  Lush weed beds attract small baitfish which offers a virtually unlimited supply of food for northern pike who are waiting to ambush them for an easy meal. These weeds also serve a different purpose. Similar to why fishing deeper water is beneficial because of increased oxygen levels, these newly growing weeds also increase the level of oxygen in the water, making game fish more active.

Fish Early and Late in the Day

The “Dog Day’s” of summer are the time of year when their is the highest amount of sunlight per day.  This can make fish more lethargic during the hot, long and sunny days, however they should be more active during the cooler mornings and evenings.  Focusing on these hours early and late in the day, can prove to be very successful. Often times, fish can be found actively feeding in shallower during these key times.

Fishing During the “Dog Day’s of summer can be challenging.  Fish are often not in the same places where they are found earlier and later in the summer.  When fish are found, they can be lethargic due to a lack of oxygen in the water.  If you are able to slow your lure presentation, fish deeper, find weeds and fish early or late in the day, the rewards can be tremendous.  During the “dog days” of summer the weather can be spectacular and so can the fishing!