Hot fishing this August

Despite all the marginal weather, summer has gone by in a flash so far for me.
August is here and the KBI is getting ready to kick off this weekend. Once the KBI is wrapped up, I get the opportunity to do a lot more fun fishing and fishing for some different species other than bass.
Don’t get me wrong, bass are my favorite fish to angle for, it’s just nice to go have fun and target some other critters after the two big tournaments are finished.
August fishing on lakes throughout Sunset Country can be excellent for nearly all species. Most fish abandon the shallow bays they may have spent the early part of summer in and move to main lake, main basin stuff. This is where most of the best fishing occurs for most species. Obviously there are always exceptions in fishing, but that is a good general rule. The following are some secret tips to help you put more fish in the boat this month:
•For big pike, think rocks. When most people think of pike and where to catch them they think of shallow, weedy bays. Early in the season this can be correct, but in August, it’s all about fishing main lake rocks.
By rocks, I mean humps, reefs and rocky shorelines. Pike are feeding on big baitfish like cisco and smelt and this is where they will find them.
My favorite bait is a Rapala X-Rap Mag-20, a bait that can be trolled very fast, yet always runs true. Troll big crankbaits like this in open water, around rock structures and you will catch some big gators.
•For musky, think skinny. By skinny, I mean skinny water. I’m not sure why, but I learned early on in my guiding days that a good percentage of big muskies move into shallow water in August, especially later in the month.
Now, I say shallow water, but I still mean main lake stuff. Find some shallow humps, reefs or weedbeds and cast large bucktails around these spots.
The key when casting for muskies is to always watch your bait for follows and when you get a follow up, try to entice the fish by making large figure-8 circles up and down the side of the boat.
I like bucktails because they are easy to use and they hook fish well.
•The key to finding walleyes in August is to focus on two things, current or humps.
Next weekend, the Lund Angler-Young-Angler Championship is taking place out of Kenora on Lake of the Woods. I can just about guarantee you right now that the winning catch of walleyes will come from a strong current area like Keewatin Channel or a main lake hump, which there are a lot of.
The key is to find which humps hold the most fish or the biggest fish.
I like to troll crankbaits in the current and use bottom bouncers with a spinner rig and crawler on the humps.
•As for bass, the way my pre-fishing for KBI has been going, I probably shouldn’t say anything. My partner, Chris Savage and I have been practicing hard but we are having a tough time putting much together.
Fishing is tough. I think the unstable weather is the biggest factor right now. There are some fish shallow, some deep, but there does not seem to be any big schools or groups. Typically as summer goes on, good numbers of smallmouths school up and move to main lake structure, at least on the big waters like Woods and Rainy, and they chase smelt.
Imitate smelt with suspending jerkbaits like a Husky Jerk or with soft plastic jerkshads rigged on 1/8 ounce jigs.
Largemouths are a different story, they seem to be affected by the weather more than smallmouths. The hotter it is, the shallower they go and the cooler it is, the deeper they go. By shallow, I’m talking two to five feet of water and by deep, I’m talking six to twelve feet.
We like to use a combination of topwater baits and soft plastic worms to catch largemouths.
The general rule is as summer starts to fade into fall, largemouths slowly make their way out of the shallow bays to the nearest structure and deeper weeds.
Be sure to follow the KBI results this weekend at or better yet, stop by the tent to catch the weigh-in Thursday through Saturday.

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