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"Summer Walleye"

For those of you that have not fished Lake Oahe in the summer season (mid June through mid September) you are missing a great time.  Many small lakes and reservoirs seem to have great spring and fall Walleye fishing but during the warm days of June and July the Walleye seem to go deep and get a bit inactive and difficult to find and fish.

Not so on Lake Oahe.  Oahe is a huge cold water reservoir fed by the runoff from the Rocky Mountains.  The lake is close to 200 feet deep in places and the Corps of Engineers is normally running water through the system year round.  While current is barely detectable on Oahe, the water does move through constantly.  This means that even when the surface temperature of the water gets up to 70 degrees plus in late July and August not more than 10 to 20 feet below the surface the water cools quickly.

The result is some of the best Walleye fishing for mid summer that you can find in the country.

Each year is different, but normally sometime around the middle of June we start switching from jigs and minnows to crawler bait or leeches.  My best luck with crawlers varies from just a plain hook and bead with anywhere from a 3' to 6' leader fished behind a bottom bouncer.  As the summer bite progresses I start adding spinners to the presentation.  I tie my own spinner baits and use barrel floats instead of the normal string of 5 or 6 beads.  I also like to use Indiana blades as they will spin with slower presentations.  In mid August I also add "phelps floating jig heads" to the crawler presentation.  Some fishermen like to use the multiple hook worm harness.  Personally I like using a single hook.  I use #4 and #6 Eagle Laser bait holder hooks.  If I am getting short bites I start breaking the night crawlers in half.  Using a short piece of crawler has worked quite well with the floating baits.

Summer live bait presentations of leeches and crawlers usually require when you first feel the bite to feed a bit of line out to the fish before setting the hook.  It is a transition from the cold water presentation of jigging that when you sense the slightest hesitation to set the hook.

Regardless of the presentation used or the depth, fishing with bottom bouncers needs to be done with as vertical presentation as you can.  The greatest mistake I have seen is that many fishermen a) use much more weight than they need and b) have way to much line out.  Long lining bottom bouncers is asking for plenty of snags.

As with the spring fishing I personally like to use as tackle as light as I can.  Since I got sold on Berkley Fireline I use 6 pound test line most of the season.  I do tie my leaders with 10 pound test mono filament line.

Also in the summer running crank baits either behind the boat or with planer boards can produce some nice large fish from time to time.  Each year it seems as if a new "hot lure" is the thing to have.  My favorites are Rapala Shad Raps, Rapala Husky Jerk Baits, Storm Thunder Sticks, Reef Runners and Long Bombers.  I have a variety of crank baits and experiment until I find the bait and color that is working.  I like to spread 4 planer boards out with a 5th rod running behind the boat.  Pulling crank baits has gotten quite scientific and I recommend line counter reels and med. Heavy rods (especially when pulling the deep running baits behind planer boards).  I use the 10lb test/4 pound diameter Fireline for pulling cranks.  Another must is an accurate "depth guide" for determining the length of line out needed for getting the particular bait to the desired depth.

The best information I can offer is not to over look summer fishing here on Lake Oahe.  The fish are aggressive and many different presentations work.  More than likely the best part of the excellent Walleye Fishing here on Lake Oahe is that the die hard Walleye fisherman gets to fish all season long and improve his skills with a myriad of different presentations.

Check out the picture pages for June, July and August from the main page or link here.

  June 1998 Pictures

July 1998 Pictures

August 1998 Pictures

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Email: Greg Adams