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Fishing Report
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Walleyes have begun to take up residence in their summer haunts. Look for fish in transition zones where islands and reefs transition into a mud or sand bottom. This is a good time to dust off those deeper running crank baits and troll along these areas where baitfish and their predators congregate. Varying the speed of your trolling patterns are important right now as fish will respond differently to a crank bait that can be running too slow as opposed to running too fast. A zig-zag approach can help in this process and will help you determine your speed. When making the sweep, take note if you recieve a strike on either the inside or outside turns. Baits will speed up on the outside sweeps and slow or stall on inside turns. If the outside baits take the hit, then it's time to speed up. Whenever you mark fish and they don't seem to respond to a trolled crank bait, then it's time to anchor up just off the area and work it over with a jig and live bait presentation. Whether you use leeches, crawlers or minnows, is not nearly as important as the location. Another thing to consider is that the walleyes will bunch up according to size, If you begin to catch fish on the small side, then maybe it's time to search for another area that may be holding larger fish.

Northern pike are responding to casted spoons and spinner baits. Work over the areas adjacent to weed edges or rock piles as these predators are looking to pick off an easy meal as the bait leaves cover to forage. Live baiting with suckers or shiners can be very effective as well in these scenarios. Work the baits in three to ten feet of water. Some of the larger pike will readily grab a trolled crank bait or spoon on deeper drop-offs, and will also pick up on dead baits fished right on the bottom. Try using frozen smelt or suckers as giant pike will take these baits without expending a lot of energy. Big fish don't usually grow big by expending a lot of energy, they are opportunistic feeders that will opt for an easy meal.

Crappies on smaller impoundments have begun to create spawning beds in the shallows. Water temps have begun to climb and this will trigger their activities. These fish can be in as little as one or two feet of water, down to six or seven feet, so this is a perfect time to work micro size jigs tipped with minnows, soft plastics or feathers. When in really shallow water it might be prudent to eliminate the slip bobber and opt for just the jig on light line. When fishing more than four feet or so the slip or fixed bobber will help indicate the strike. try using the smallest float that you can get away with to make your cast. Remember that these fish are very spooky in shallow water, so it's best to stay well off your target area and make longer casts.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass have begun the spawning ritual too, and can be very aggresive in protecting their nests. This is a great chance to refine your casting techniques as baits that are presented near, and even through a nesting site will be rewarded with the most fish slamming it as they attempt to remove the threat. The nest themselves can be easy to determine as the fanned out spot can be a different color than the surrounding bottom. A pair of polarized glasses are of utmost importance as they allow you to see through the glare of the waters' surface. This is where a jig and soft bait can be very effective. Cast either over ar near the nest and slowly retrieve the bait. A small floating crank bait or surface lure works great under these conditions too.