If you are fishing in this heat remember to put your fish on ice immediately if you plan to keep and eat them. If you practice “Catch & Release”, make sure you don’t keep your fish out of the water too long as it doesn’t take long in this heat to harm the fish. Take your picture quickly and put the fish back!

If you find you are not catching fish; go deeper. Fish seek out optimum temperatures just like humans and many times that optimum temperature is in the deeper waters just above the thermocline (a steep temperature gradient in a body of water)

To find this area in a body of water you might have to run crankbaits at different depths and it could be as far down as 20 feet in deeper ponds and lakes throughout our area.

I’ve always said that if you can find one fish at a certain depth or around a certain type of structure, there will be others there as well! Once you find a pattern you can try that pattern in other areas of the lake or pond as well. Find that perfect pattern and you can catch fish even during this heat.

It’s much easier to find that particular structure or pattern on a cool spring or fall day but, it takes a lot more patience to find a pattern during this heat.

Not only is patience a virtue during the heat but technique is just as important. Technique could also be exchanged with the word presentation. Presenting you lure in a manner as to attract the attention of the fish is key during these hot periods.

Most crankbaits don’t run 20 feet deep without a little help and most area ponds and lakes don’t have 20 feet of water in them. Therefore, getting your lure down into what is called the “strike zone” is the key factor in fishing this heat.

Fish are not always at the bottom during this heat just like we are not in a freezer during this heat. Instead fish and humans seek out where they are most comfortable, generally somewhere between 65-75 degrees. Find that temperature and you will find fish!

I used to fish a lake in southern Indiana called Dogwood. Dogwood lake, at its origin, was full of timber as the lake was filled with trees still standing. Anglers would go into that timber fishing 5-6 feet deep and catch bluegill by the hundreds that were small fish. The big bluegill layered out at about 17 feet during the summer and early fall and, if the bait was too deep or too shallow, bites were few and far between. At 17 feet, however, the fish were there and ready to eat.

Evening and morning are, of course, the best times to fish in July but not everyone has those hours off. Fishing at night is even better. Whenever you can fish is always a great time so go out, fight the heat, and catch fish! Remember, take only what you need for you and your family and put the rest back; it’s the way it should be!

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Saturdays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net

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