Where are they biting?
One of the most common questions people ask any fisherman is; "Where they biting?" Some of the more common answers are "Area Lake, Unnamed Lake and Lake X".
If the angler is bold enough to tell someone else where they are catching fish, there is usually a follow up; "What are they biting on?" Getting that information out of a good fisherman is like trying to get gold out of Fort Knox.
That being said, in my travels, I am usually on many bodies of water in a week. So here's a rundown of what I've witnessed to be working:
Walleyes - The transition appears to have started. On a recent trip to an Alexandria Area Lake (Lake X) we caught numerous fish anywhere between 13 and 20 feet. The fish were on the wind swept side of mid lake structures and the summer pattern seems to be in play. We used leeches and crawlers on a two-hook crawler harness or spinnerbait. We were using a two-ounce bottom bouncer to fish vertically. I know that sounds a bit heavy, but I've been seeing more and more "pros" using a two - or even three-ounce bottom bouncer when pulling live bait rigs and it works very well.
On Leech Lake, leeches and crawlers were out producing minnows 4 to 1. Once again, the walleyes were starting to move to deeper water. While we did catch some fish as shallow as six feet, they weren't "stacked" in the shallows, they were scattered on flats and sliding off break lines. The only first hand reports I have from Mille Lacs suggest those walleyes might still be shallow. I witnessed a seven-pound walleye being caught in seven feet of water. Speaking of Mille Lacs, as of last week, the smallmouth were on their beds. Some anglers were having 30-50 fish days. Any type of plastic or heavy pitching jig was effective, didn't really seem to matter. I personally experienced a phenomenal bass bite on a lake near Walker last weekend. The fish were on their spawning beds there too, however, most of those fish were in 9-11 feet of water. We caught those fish on a jig and grub. Panfish reports are strong too. I was fortunate enough to take the family out for a quick trip and it didn't take too long before we had a few nice crappies. We were in on a small midlake structure, in 14-20 feet, throwing a jig and plastic.
No matter what species you are after, and no matter what lakes you are heading to, you are guaranteed to catch more fish than if you stay at home. Like my dad told growing up; "You can't catch em' in your living room."
Remember, it's not about having time, it's about making time.