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Houston's Fishing Report: Fish find summer patterns, feeding windows

Jarrid Houston

Here we are, post-Fourth of July and fully into summer patterns. Fish throughout the area have definitely moved to feeding windows of morning, night and overnight.

Of course, fish can still be caught during the day, but watercraft traffic, heat and sun can surely affect a bite. I prefer cool mornings and late afternoons into dusk.

Live minnows are sort of taking a backseat to crank baits and speed fishing. However, leeches and worms are still on board the boat every day. It's important to not fish memories; expanding on different tactics will surely be best. If something is not working, try something different.

Lake Superior anglers continue to travel 8-12 miles from the Twin Ports to get past the near-shore mud line caused by dirty runoff from local rivers. Some are catching fish in the brown water, but best bites are coming in transitional areas of mud to clear and clear water.

Surface baits are working, but it's important to cover all levels of the water column now. If one color bait picks up more than one fish, it's time to start matching that bait.

It's mostly lake trout being caught now, but some anglers are a catching a few salmon. Stick baits, spoons and flasher-fly combos are all taking a few fish.

The South Shore has a long way to go to clear up. Many walleye anglers are ready for a South Shore bite. I know I am.

The St. Louis River is showing signs of progress of cleaning up clarity. Still lots of areas of "chocolate milk," but areas from Spirit Lake and up river are improving.

Muskie fishermen have been busy chucking shorelines and having some success. Walleye fishing has been OK, with some days better than others. Trolling shallow rattling crankbaits or worm harness rigs is picking up a few fish.

The catfish bite has been on fire lately with some nice-sized whisker mouths. Slowly dragging a crawler or leech has been best.

Inland-lake fishing continues to be busy. Sunfish have moved off their spawning grounds and are now being located in deeper, vegetated areas. Small slug bug jigs rigged with small plastics or regular 1/16- to 1/32-ounce tipped with small leeches have been good.

Crappie fishing has been on the slower side as we have only picked up one here and there fishing panfish.

Pike and bass are coming off of shorelines with cover. Best bet is to tie on slow-dropping plastics. Sometimes, I tip them with a small chunk of crawler.

Walleyes have move toward deeper water and are getting a little more picky. Leeches under slip bobbers or dragging regular hook and split shot over deep transitional areas has been best.

Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.