The following is from my fishing journal Sept 1 2012. I pull into the boat landing a little later then I would like about 7 AM.  This morning it is just my springer spaniel and myself. Fall is in the air.  A great time of year! Temperatures have dropped to be too cool for shorts this time of morning even though the temp will reach 85 degrees later in the day. The sound of gun fire in the distance reminds me that the early goose season here in Minnesota has started. Fall a great time of year for both fisherman and the hunter.







Left my favorite panfish bait described in this post.


The last two weeks of August and the first 2-3 weeks of September can be known as the very toughest time of year to catch any fish species. Referred to as the summer doldrums, the dog days of summer, or they just ain’t bitin no use to goin fishing are terms tossed out there.


What causes the slowest fishing of the year are combination of factors including high water temperatures and an abundance of young of the year fish minnows that since spring have grown into a very edible size for catchable size game fish. The lake I am fishing today is a milfoil lake.  Milfoil a very prolific bloom of weeds that chokes out most of the shallows out to 10-12 feet. Milfoil not native to Minnesota lakes is a very undesirable weed specie and is considered an invasive species by the Minnesota DNR. About halfway through the summer the Milfoil almost totally dies off and leaves areas once choked with weeds with no weeds at all.

I start the day with an approach that is usually successful right after the milfoil dies off (about mid- summer). This approach is you start fishing where the weed line was when the milfoil was present. I fish spot one , a 4 foot sunken island hump.  Working from the top of the hump out to 12 foot. I spend 10 minutes, no fish.

I go to spot two , there are no weeds present per depth finder. I fish 5 to 12 feet no fish. Still no fish caught. Spot 3 I fish a sandbar depths of 4 to 8 feet produced the first fish of the day. I caught four nice size crappie and sunfish.  But very slow. I fish a half hour then move.

Spot 4 I try a shallow marshy bay that earlier in the year is a pan fish hot spot. I throw the bobber and a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a small gulp alive 1 inch minnow by a brush pile. Bam, the first cast lands a largemouth bass about 3 pound. A very nice bass! Note I release the bass. Follow-up casts produced 1 small sunfish. I try spot 6 where two points come together . I fish in between the points working the depths 5 to 10 feet . No bites and I note no fish or weeds on the depth finder.

What a slow day so far but the day is far from over. I try 3-4 other spots still no results but a couple sunfish. So I decide let’s try a new spot somewhere else on the lake that I have seldom fished. A marshy island. As I motor to the island I am surprised to note plenty of weeds on the depth finder and visually I see plenty of weeds on the surface. I think finally some weeds. But they are not the milfoil weeds you are used to seeing all summer. They are coon tail weed!  A very desirable weed to hold bait fish and game fish.

I work the depths looking at my locator before fishing and note batches of weeds from the shallows of 3 feet to about 7-8 feet. I throw out a marker boy at about 6 feet where the weeds taper off significantly. This looks good I think.  Sure enough right near the marker boy  I catch some very nice crappies and sunfish. Over the next hour I boat about 20 nice size sunfish and crappie about a dozen of which I keep to eat. See post Baked Pan Fish Delights.  A very successful day on the water for three hours of morning fishing.

Note: I like to work the area within about a 50 to 75 yard radius of the marker boy. Use the wind to drift and fish this circular area. You will most of the time find the fish in particular spots. The orange marker is a great visual reference so you can return to the exact spot to catch more fish.

I journal and write the type of fishing you need to do this time of year. You fish from spot to spot spending not more than 10 minutes on one spot if you do not catch anything.  Move then move again. Move until you catch fish. Look for weeds.  The baitfish and game fish relate to that. Weeds are hard but not impossible to find this time of year.

Also note I am fishing the a green or yellow /32 oz jig with a gulp alive 1 inch minnow with a bobber. Set the bobber at a depth to match the depth you are fishing.  The highly productive 6 feet depth requires you to set the jig depth at about 5 ft.  When fishing nine to ten feet set the jig depth at about 7 feet. I end this beautiful day of fishing noting it took some work to finally locate and catch the fish. But with that said it was a very satisfying day of fishing.

To summarize do not give up, keep moving from spot to spot fishing no more than 10 minutes per spot if you do not catch some thing. Look for weed growth! Fish at different depths. All these tips will help you catch more panfish. And by all means enjoy the day in the great outdoors!

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