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Looking forward to fall season

If you are an early riser, you can feel it in the air. While this is a very subtle weather change, it is still a change.

Something is better than nothing. Of course by noon you can still scramble eggs on the deck of your boat. Yesterday morning felt great. I stopped by the public launch ramp on the Old River that the locals call Minorca, but officially it is Marengo Bend.

Most all the people that were launching their boats were our customers/friends. I spoke to several, helped get a few boats in the water and took off to work.

My plans are to fish this evening which would now be yesterday evening, so I really can’t say how that fishing trip went since it has not happened yet. I received the same depressing reports from the majority of the fishermen and ladies on Old River, but a few did say they were catching enough bream, perch and a few bass to keep it interesting.

Needless to say, the fishing is tough this summer. The veteran fishermen, for the most part, agree that we cannot recall a summer when the Old Rivers did not produce enough fish to curb our fishing habits while the public landlocked lakes were hot and full of pleasure boats.

It may be this fall before the game fish in the live oxbow lakes turn on. The fish are there. Don’t ever think the fish are not there. I firmly believe the perch and bass are on a shad feeding pattern offshore during the early morning hours.

You can always find a fish or two in the shallows in hot water, but to find them grouped up in this heat you are going to have to turn your sonar on and ignore the banks.

We have done this for years; fish an entire day and never get within casting distance of a bank. My preference is offshore fishing in freshwater, but my water temperature preference is below 57 degrees and we are a long way from that. I just like cold water.

Fish are much easier to pattern and easier to catch. You can use your sonar to help find fish in the summer by locating structure with break lines that no one knows about.

The more hours you put in on the water, the more likely you will figure out what the fish are doing during this strange summer.

The major culprits that killed the shallow bite on some waters are the lack of wind combined with surface water temperature topping out in the low 90’s by mid afternoon.

Ninety-degree water is hot and fish are not going to move much when the water is that hot. They will feed and lay up for hours.

The oxygen deprived deeper waters that are much cooler than the surface water just cannot hold fish. The thermocline recently pushed up even shallower than it was two weeks ago on some lakes. The thermocline was at 12 to 18 feet. Now it is at 8 to 14 feet.

That change created a significant fish kill in the barrow pits that don’t have water that deep and a less subtle fish kill on the Old Rivers and some of our other public waters.

The fish die off was more pronounced in the shallower lakes like the barrow pits along the levee and in the wind protected areas of the larger lakes. There is no reason to think all the fish are dead. This happens every year about the same time.

We will have another fish kill in October when the water turns over as the thermocline pushes all the way to the surface. The dog days of summer will then slowly loose its grip. Even the summer lovers are ready for this one to be history.

The ladies that fish and the fishermen that cast are past ready for the heat to give us a break. The break is coming but it may be toward the end of September and on into October before we see a major increase in shallow fish activity.

In the meantime, think deep and fish for suspended fish.