Summer is officially a few weeks away, but as far as fishermen are concerned it has arrived.
Many bass, crappie and perch being caught near the banks a few weeks ago have moved to deeper water, where temperatures are lower and the bright rays of the sun are less intense.
When fish move to deep water, they are harder to find. But they gather in large groups and stay for days. Deep-water fishing isn't as popular with lake fishermen as it is with saltwater anglers, but what works on the coast will also produce great results on inland waters.
Saltwater fishermen have learned that fish relate to edges, ledges and drop-offs. The more dramatic the change in the bottom contour, the larger the concentration of fish.
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When you think about it, two of the lake's most popular fish, white perch and striped bass, have saltwater origins. In addition, black bass, particularly spotted bass, spend much of their time roaming the depths in search of forage fish near contour changes.
Deep-water fishing requires anglers to learn to read and interpret contour lines displayed on a GPS screen or a paper map and to distinguish fish images on a depth finder. That's easier said than done, but the learning curve improves with study and help from fellow anglers familiar with deep-water fishing.
Fish spend a great deal of time in deep water searching for food or merely using the channels as highways to swim up and down the lake. As a rule, the warmer the water, the deeper the fish will be.
So don't think you're fishing too deep when your fish finder registers 60 or 70 feet. Although the fish may not be right on the bottom, they will be at the depth they find comfortable.
To help anyone interested in better understanding how to use electronics to locate bass, stripers, white perch and catfish in deep water, a seminar is planned 6:30 p.m. June 25. If you are not sure where to drop your lure in deep water, the following suggestions may be helpful.
Bass: Underwater islands, deep points and brush.
Crappie: Bridge pilings, deep brush.
Stripers: Deep points, edges of river and creek channels, underwater islands.
White perch: Deep coves and brush.
Minnows are difficult to keep alive in a bait bucket during the hot summer months. Change the water frequently and use an aeration device.