Across North America, we're smack in the middle of summer. Fishing can be good, or it can be tough. If it's tough though, it generally doesn't need to be. There are some things we can do to catch more fish right now. Following are some of those things.

This largemouth bass was hanging around a school of bluegills but eagerly inhaled the gaudy colored bait that Sam Amsbaugh was throwing.​

Many of us have a tendency to fish memories. Maybe a month ago in mid-June, we were catching walleyes on jigs in shallow water, or we were catching crappies near logs along shorelines, or catching largemouth bass in the rushes all day long. Now in the end of July or August, we're fishing those fish in those same places using the same techniques and our success isn't so good. It's not because the fish aren't biting, it's because they're probably not there in the numbers they were earlier in the year. We need to adapt: We need to look for the walleyes, crappies and bass in different places, and we probably need to use different baits.

Weather can be a factor, too. Just a few days ago I was in northern Minnesota fishing for largemouth bass. A severe weather front had gone through. Air temperatures dropped twenty degrees overnight, the skies were clear, and the bass didn't want to eat. However, northern pike were very willing to smash our spinnerbaits. They weren't real big pike, but they were fun to catch. When weather conditions change, if we want to be successful, we need to switch species or switch techniques, or maybe even switch to a different body of water. Oftentimes, river fish won't be as affected by weather conditions as lake fish.

When fishing conditions are good, meaning the weather has been stable for a few days, a faster presentation will often be productive. A faster presentation enables you to cover water quickly, so you can show your bait to more fish. Summer fish are often hungry, so the more fish you show your bait to, the more bites you'll get, usually.

There are a lot of baitfish in the water in the summer, so the predators have lots of choices of what to eat. Some anglers subscribe to the "match-the-hatch" theory that we should use baits that resemble the baitfish that are abundant, and that idea works. However, there are a good number of anglers who like to give the fish something completely different. It's kind of like people: When we eat cheeseburgers for several days, eventually a piece of pizza looks pretty good. A walleye that's been eating perch for the past few weeks might prefer something that looks completely different. I don't know how fish think, or even if they do think, but I know that sometimes a bait that looks nothing like what lives in the water can be very productive.

In many bodies of water, a variety of fish will live in the deeper water in the summer. There will still be shallow fish, but the depths will hold the numbers of fish. Many anglers that are fishing deep water won't even put a bait in the water until they see fish on their sonar. Many of today's sonar units draw an amazing picture of what's below the surface of the water. They show baitfish, big fish, vegetation -- whatever is down there will be revealed. I started using Raymarine sonar units this year and have been so impressed with their ability to show me walleyes hovering right above the bottom. We don't always catch them on the first trip to the location, but we know they're there, so we keep coming back during the day to see if we can make them bite, and usually, eventually a couple will open their mouth and take our bait.

Summer is a great time to be fishing. If you keep these ideas in mind, you'll have an even better time because you'll catch more fish.

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