Fish Beat: Temps hamper local fishing

August 5, 2009

July cold spells have slowed down fishing in recent weeks. Anglers are having spotty success. This 14-inch largemouth was one of only three caught during a four-hour area outing last week. A warm August could rebound area fishing before anglers begin thinking about pulling them through ice. (Photo by Jim Hagerty)

July cold spells have slowed down fishing in recent weeks. Anglers are having spotty success. This 14-inch largemouth was one of only three caught during a four-hour area outing last week. A warm August could rebound area fishing before anglers begin thinking about pulling them through ice. (Photo by Jim Hagerty)

It’s not often when temperatures reach 80 degrees at mid-day and breath-condensing conditions through the evenings. This summer, especially July, seems like an exception. Whether global warming, El Nino or the next ice age is responsible certainly isn’t worth debating. What is known is drastic July temperature fluctuations have made the fishing a bit slow.

In the last 10 days or so, it’s almost as though some species made a mass exodus or a pact to simply stop eating. Truth be known, the latter is usually the case during unusually intermittent cold and hot fronts.

While Illinois bluegills usually stay relatively active year round, the last week has been slow, to say the least. By July, fans of the little fighter usually have a freezer full, dozens of stories to tell, and secrets they won’t reveal. July is in the books, and bluegill are still at large.

With only a few 12- to 14-inch largemouths per outing these days, resorting to near winter and fall techniques for walleye, muskie and northern pike have been resorted to by a slew of area bass fishers. Smallmouths are biting on leeches and bright-colored plastic worms.

This, too, shall pass…maybe

Generally, fish don’t feed as often in cold weather. Food is scarce and metabolisms slow. After the last ice, water temperatures rise and feeding patterns increase. By summer, most fish toggle between deep, open water as the temperatures dictate. This year, as it feels like fall, some species have begun their journey to these depths significantly early. When this occurs, a string of hot days is all they need to get back on schedule.

Keep in mind, this is the Midwest. While there is enough time for a warm August to save area fishing, anything like July could prompt even the most successful anglers to get their tip-ups and jig poles ready for the ice. We’ll see.

Send us your fishing photos

The Rock River Times is interested in seeing pictures of local fish caught in area waters. Send digital photos to us at contact@rockrivertimes.com with “Fish Beat Photos” in the subject line. Glossies can be sent to The Rock River Times, 128 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61101.

from the August 5 – 11, 2009 issue

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