Fishing tip: Beat the heat and troll for hungry moonlight walleyes
Summer heat has set in, and it can get difficult to fish during the afternoon. We have a great option this weekend: late-night fishing adventures when it can be significantly more comfortable.
A few years ago I was staying at a cabin over the Fourth of July holiday, and the weather was hot and humid – nearly unbearable to fish during the day. If we went outside during the day then we were in the water. Another problem: As the sun set, hungry mosquitoes descended on us, which also made it extremely difficult to fish.
Our trip coincided with a full moon, which set up a great alternative: night trolling. After 11 p.m., the bugs settled down and made it bearable to fish. A few other positives: waiting deeper into the evening, the moon got higher and made it much brighter out and easier to set lines. The fish also moved shallower and could see our baits easier thanks to that moonlight.
A top location is a shoreline with little to no weeds in the 8- to 12-foot range. Look for hard bottom areas with rock and or gravel that may contain just a few sparse weeds. Areas just outside of bulrushes seem to have the right kind of bottom for this method of fishing.
Monitor your sonar and locate where fish are hanging out and understand that they often will continue to move shallower as the night progresses. This is where side-imaging can really improve your game and keep you in the right area as the fish move in.
For this type of trolling I normally use a No. 5 Shad Rap pulled around 2 mph with the electric trolling motor. I run anywhere from 60 to 125 feet of line depending on depth and how far the fish are off the bottom. Stickbaits like the Rapala Original Floater or a Rapala Husky Jerk can be a better option if there are short weeds on the bottom; you can pull your bait right over the top of them.
Don’t forget some bug spray and a headlamp.
To beat the heat and still catch some fish, head out during the (relative) cool of the evening and give it a shot.
Good luck fishing and stay safe!