Catching fish in June can be a difficult, especially for some species. Bass are off the beds throughout most of the lake, in some areas they are recuperating while in other areas they are beginning to feed.
Location and lure presentation are keys to success now. Some fish suspend in coves close to where they spawned, while others are setting up on rocky points or in dock brush.
Mike Foree and Randy “Big Fish” Terrell took second place in a tournament last weekend. Their fish came from chunk rock shorelines and brush in shallow to medium depths. Foree’s lure of choice was a Cowboy-colored Bullseye jig tipped with a four-inch Berkley Chigger Craw. “I like to add chartreuse dye to the claws, plus I do a few other things to the rig,” Foree admitted.
He favors pulling the jig along the bottom, occasionally giving the lure a slight pop. “Sometimes a bass will pick up the jig and move toward the boat which makes it difficult to get a solid hookset. I lost a good fish during the tournament because of that,” Foree said.
Guide, Skip Surbaugh, echoes the jig fishing advice. “I’m catching some fish on jigs and shaky heads in the brush early and late, I’m sure they would hit plastic worms also but I haven’t tried them yet.” During the day, he recommends anglers try crankbaits on points.
Anglers who want to try crankbaits on points and flats can choose from a plethora of baits. However, depth determines the actual model of lure that will produce best. For instance, points and long tapering flats will require more than one lure to fish all depths effectively.
Some good choices for areas that are two to four feet deep are the Bomber Square A, Norman Square Bill Wake, and the Strike King Square Bill Series 1. In clear water, choose colors that imitate forage such as crayfish or shad. In murky water, choose lures with a rattle and colors like combinations of fluorescent yellow and chartreuse.
For the five to ten foot depths, try lures like Norman’s Deep Little N, Rapala’s DT10, and Strike King’s KVD 1.5. For the 10 to 14 foot depths anglers might try Bomber Fat Free Shad BD7SF or BD8SF, Norman’s DD22, Rapala’s DT14, Storm’s Wiggle Wart, or Strike King’s Pro Model Series 5.
Osage Outdoors owner, Jamie Bryant, offers this advice for bass, “Most of the bass are in post-spawn mode now, so I would look for them in submerged brush using a 10-inch plastic worm.”
Page 2 of 2 - “I’ve caught some fish shallow, early in the morning, on Heddon’s Zara Spook,” said Surbaugh, offering another tactic.
Echoing that sentiment, Bryant said, “Bass are an ambush fish, look for them along shoreline structure like laydowns or visible brush, especially in shaded areas, and then fish parallel where possible. Also, check the back corners of shallow docks.”
The lake is blessed with an abundance of aggressive blue, channel, and flathead catfish. They have provided the hottest bite on the lake for several years in a row.
“Catfish are on fire right now – maybe they are getting ready to spawn. I’m getting great reports from jug fishermen in the mid-lake area. Mostly, they are using cut bait and shrimp. Shorebound rod and reel anglers are doing well also, using the same bait on a 4/0 Circle Hook,” Bryant continued.
Throughout much of the lake, crappies are the angler’s weak link. They have spawned and moved out to deeper water, looking for food and cover. “You need to hover right over them and use a jig or minnow. No need to cast, just use a vertical presentation,” said Bryant.
Surbaugh is finding crappies 30 feet deep around large boat docks, like those for resorts and condominiums. “They don’t need brush in these locations, they just suspend and feed on what’s available,” he said.
On flats and humps where cover is not available, anglers slow-trolling small crappie-sized crankbaits like Norman’s Crappie Crankbait, Rebel’s Crappie Crank R, or Strike King’s Slab Hammer Crappie Crank should catch a few suspended fish.
Walleye are moving down the lake in their post-spawn cycle looking for deep-water structures where they will spend the summer. Early and late in the day, some fish will move shallow on points, flats, and humps to feed. The best spots will have shad on top of the structures or suspended nearby.
Slow-trolling crankbaits like Norman’s Deep Little N, Storm’s Wiggle Wart, and Cordell’s Wally Diver or Wally Stinger are excellent choices. Anglers should use lures with running depths that reach the bottom and bump it vigorously. And, yes, you will snag some lures but that is part of walleye fishing.
One choice for recovering snagged lures in water less than 15 feet deep is Frabill’s Telescoping Lure retriever. When lures cost from $5 to $10 each, it will not take long for this retriever to recoup its $40 cost.
June fishing can be tough but these tips should help.