Dog Days: those days of July and August when the temperature rises high and the sun beats down and the days seem to drag in slow motion. Dog Days: when heat simmers and tempers fray and the lakes invite with cool water and shade trees are like treasure. Dog Days: ready or not, they’re here.
And there’s not much you can do about it.
You can hunker down inside and let the Air Conditioner roar and deliver it’s chill. You can find shade in the yard and sip cool drinks in glasses beaded with condensation. You can find beaches and cool water, while baking in the sun dive deep into the cool layer of water.
You can bicycle or kayak or fish or water ski or use a stand up paddleboard. And most of all you can simply deal with the reality of summertime heat.
If it gives you comfort, six months ago it was 10-below zero. Six months from now it may be the same. So, be careful what you wish for if you are edgy about the 90 degrees this week. A swing of 100 degrees is pretty extreme but we’ll see worse-it is Wisconsin after all.
In weather such as this one must plan carefully one’s days off. There is an argument to be made that early morning is the best time to ride then or paddle or go fishing. Mid day can bring sweltering heat. Plan for time at the lake if you can. Late afternoon can wear one down. Too much heat can do that and time inside might be an option.
Evening? Sundown brings lower temperatures and is a great time to head out fishing.
High heat puts most fish deep. Location is what it’s all about. Walleyes and smallmouth bass and muskies usually go deep now. Find where they are and you have a chance to do well; miss them and you’ll go home empty handed. Look for deep rock bars or sandy areas next to weeds; fish walleyes and smallies there. Muskies can move some but like the cooler areas near weeds where they can find shelter and feed both.
There is no easy answer to finding fish in summer. Good lake maps and fish locators help a lot but it takes time and patience.
The one exception may well be largemouth bass. They like to prowl shallower waters along lily pads and weeds. Nightfall is a great time to find them there and they often respond to top-water lures that are noisy and splashy. For us largemouth are our favorite summertime fish given that they are active and easier to locate.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.