Some call it the “dog days” of August. When most walleye anglers talk about August, it can be a challenging time for most bodies of water. There are a number of good reasons why catching walleyes in August in many waters is difficult and why walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods excels. Gary Parsons of the Next Bite TV show and successful professional tournament walleye angler summed it up nicely here…
Here are some reasons many of bodies of water are tough for walleyes…
- Plethora of baitfish. In the first part of the summer, much of the young of the year fish, perch, panfish and minnows were very small. They have now reached a size in which walleyes are interested. For a walleye angler, this literally means competition with literally thousands of offerings to walleyes they really didn’t have earlier.
- Weeds. It is summer and weed growth has made it difficult to troll, jig or pull harnesses in many areas. Walleyes still may inhabit these areas, but they are very tough to get to. Hence, the overall equation means touch to catch walleyes.
- Walleyes seek colder water. For many bodies of water, this may mean suspended fish of fish more difficult to target.
- Bait stealers. With the growth of panfish in many systems, anglers have a very difficult time pulling crawler harnesses for instance or fishing a Lindy Rig as the small fish will eat up your live bait in no time.
Anglers who fish Lake of the Woods are fortunate. Most of the time in the late summer, there is a distinct pattern that sets up. On both Big Traverse and Little Traverse Bays, there are huge stretches of “no man’s land” or mud that extends for miles. The depth is consistent in most areas, typically 30 – 34′, a trollers dream. Many anglers will approach these walleyes trolling as many are spread out picking away at schools of bait and a variety of offerings living in the mud.
To get lures down the 30′ or more, angler’s have some good options.
- Jump on a charter or in with a guide. Charter boats are equipped with the necessary equipment to catch walleyes wherever they are roaming. In some cases, live bait techniques may be used. In other cases, if the captain feels angler success will be much higher, they may decide to troll crankbaits. It is very helpful to have a charter captain who understands walleye movements during the dog days of summer. It also helps to have other charter captain friends on the lake to share real time info with, ensuring high customer success.
- Downriggers. Riggers can be spendy for the average angler to consider. They are effective however during the dog days of summer. Basically, a lead weight on a cable that comes off of a large spool that is mounted to the boat. A lure is attached to the cable via a special release that will release the line once fish hits.
- Snap weights. Considered old school by many, snap weights are weights anywhere from 1/2 ounce to 4 ounces with a clip that attached to the line. The idea is to let out 25 – 50′ of line with your lure and attach the proper sized weight to get down to the fish. When a fish is caught, reel up to the weight, remove it from the line and continue reeling in the fish. The key here is to not give the line any slack.
- Leadcore line. Very popular amongst walleye anglers to get crankbaits down to dog days walleyes, this is basically line that has lead inside of it which causes it to sink. Anglers can determine how deep lures are running based on how deep the lure runs on it’s own and how much leadcore line is let out. In a nutshell, let out 30′ of leadcore for every 5′ of depth you desire. Most use linecounter reels with this technique.
- Big billed cranks with superline. There are some crankbaits with larger bills that are designed to get deep. This combined with a very thin diameter superline like a Suffix or Fireline can really attain good depth.
There are certainly other methods to achieve depth when trolling, but on Lake of the Woods, the aforementioned are the most effective.
August is an incredible month to fish Lake of the Woods. Some anglers actually plan their vacations to target dog days walleyes on LOW as some of the largest fish in the system are active and very predictable, roaming “no man’s land” in search of food which for the really big walleyes includes roaming schools of tulibees. There are a nice variety of resorts and hotels geared towards fishing in the area. Some offer full service with bar and restaurant. Others offer lodging and you cook your own meals. A little bit of everything is available.
In some cases, angler’s paradigms of poor fishing for walleyes in August during the dog days of summer isn’t far off. Up at The Walleye Capital of the World, fishing is just kicking into high gear!
Last modified: 07/31/2020