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With the days consistently over 90 degrees, the dog days of summer have arrived here in Colorado. Most fishing reports you hear are not all that good as many people tend to fish for trout despite water temperatures hovering around 75 degrees. Anglers targeting warm water species such as bass and walleye tend to fair better this time of year but can still struggle to put enough fish in the boat to consider it a successful day. Fortunately, there are a few methods anglers can take advantage of to increase their odds of fishing this time of year.
The most important thing is timing. Fish are generally not feeding heavily in the middle of a hot summer day when temperatures are in the 90s or 100s. Instead, they will be doing most of their feeding during the cooler parts of the day such as morning, late evening, and all throughout the night. This can be a good thing for those with day jobs as their working schedule doesn’t conflict with the prime times to be on the water. Getting up super early to fish for a few hours before work or going out at dusk and fishing into the night is when you’re most likely to have success.

When I go out during these low light periods, I am always looking for a top water bite and have a few different strategies depending on what time of day I am fishing. If I am going out in the morning, I tend to get out about an hour before sunrise and start out throwing a variety of top water presentations. Buzzbaits, poppers, whopper ploppers, frogs, toads, and wakebaits all consistently produce for me. I will rotate through these lures throughout the morning as the bite changes until I no longer am getting bit consistently on a top water presentation. At that point, my favorite bait to transition to is a beaver style plastic (i.e. Pit Boss, Sweet Beaver, D-Bomb, etc). Beavers along with senkos casted in and around cover will catch you plenty more fish before the heat really settles in for the day. Once that bite slows down, I have been on the water for a good 6 hours and will pack it up and call it a day.

The other strategy I utilize is fishing late evening and into the night. Whereas before I went from fishing top water to plastics, now I focus 100% on top water. You can catch plenty of bass using other lures during this time, but I personally have had better success catching larger fish at night throwing top water baits. The same baits I mentioned before will all still work throughout the night. However, I spend most of my summer nights looking to catch one big fish. To do this, I fish with only one lure, and that is a 9 inch MS Slammer wakebait. With the size of this lure, I don’t typically catch a lot of fish but the ones I do catch are of better quality on average. I may go some nights without a bite on this lure, but that’s okay as this is not a numbers game.

When you’re looking for one big fish, patience is key. Over time you will get your opportunities at a few larger fish and you can begin to dial in patterns that will successfully work all summer long. After spending a lot of time fishing the MS Slammer at a local pond, I have found the best way to manage my time fishing this lure. On this particular pond, there are 6 spots that have consistently produced larger fish on the Slammer. After dark, I will rotate through each spot only making a few casts in each location. After 3 or 4 casts without a bite, I will pack up and move to the next spot. I literally do circles around this pond fishing each spot for just a few casts looking for one bite. Like I said before, this isn’t a numbers game, and as you start out you might feel a bit frustrated. Keep at it and once you get bit, remember to try that spot again in the future. Eventually, you will develop your own system that works for you and will consistently be rewarded for your efforts.