Getting back to normal would be my theme for early August. After my last post late June, we were still running way ahead of schedule. Fish were way deeper than normal (on average), and they were scattered and less "bitey" than usual for that early in the season. Since then, though, we've had probably a below-average temperature pattern most of the summer, and while fish haven't gone any shallower, they haven't gone deeper either, and things seem to have settled into a fairly normal pattern for early August. Some days we get limits by noon, sometimes it takes a little longer, but most every day we get there. Have to keep some 15-16 inch fish usually compared to the easy limits in June of 18+, but it's just really solid fishing for the "dog days of summer."
Most of the fish are hanging around in that 30-35 foot range. There are pockets of fish we've found shallow around 20-25 feet, sometimes even 12-15 feet, but they're the exception. The days you find them in 20ish feet are the times you find them pushing smelt up on steep breaks. The ones we find in 10-18 are usually chasing something else, presumably perch or emerald shiners. Flats are okay, but I'm starting to prefer structure with steeper edges, either humps or points or shoreline breaks where those 20-35 foot feeding platforms drop quickly to much deeper water just outside.
Bouncers and crawlers are good, sometimes plain hook, sometimes spinners. Crankbaits are good. Jigging raps are good one day, not so much the next, so still a little unreliable (though they days they're on they may be better than anything else). Looking at the mild forecast this coming week, I'd say we should continue to see the same pattern for a while, very solid fishing in around 30 feet of water. A big heat wave, though, could make things a little tougher and see them hitting the 40-foot mark. These depths, however, are more focused in that Deepwater - Van Hook - up river area; the east end is fishing deeper (40-60) and more scattered.
If you want to book a fall trip, now's the time as those dates are starting to get picked over. Given what we saw in June, I would say the fall should be really fun, possibly some of the best fall fishing for "photo" fish we've seen in a while. We caught tons of 19-22 inch fish early summer and more 25+ than I've seen for a few years, so add another inch and some fall belly weight, and things could get really exciting!
Oh...and the wall hangers leader is currently 28 inches held by Craig Kramber!
And now the videos: