Most people who think of summer time fishing immediately picture deep water fishing on offshore structure, or fishing docks in order to catch fish that are cooling down in the shade. While these are great techniques that definitely play a strong role in summer time success there is another option that is often forgotten!
Creek fishing is possibly one of the most under utilized techniques for catching fish throughout the hottest months of the year. When I say creek fishing I'm not talking about fishing in big open creeks, what I'm referring to is going as far back in the creeks you can go, and actually fishing in the original creek channel. Here is why the very back of creeks are almost always a place you can find fish in the summer months.
Why Are Creeks So Good?
As water temperatures rise oxygen levels diminish throughout much of the lake. Creeks however are easily influenced by any small amount of rain and are often much cooler then the main lake temperatures due to underwater springs. Those two facts alone make them a given for summer time fish attempting to beat the heat and thrive with more oxygenated water. Another fact is that there are large populations of fish that are residential to the small creeks that stretch across most of the country. The majority of fish holding in the back of creeks where born there and will live out there entire lives in these places.
What Cover Should You Focus on?
Fishing in shallow creeks is fairly simple because the fish have far less places to hide when they are in these tight quarters. There are three things I really focus on when fishing creeks in the summer, lay down logs, overhanging bushes, and rocks. All of these different options hold fish and are often the most effective if they are in a creek bend where the water is deeper.
What Baits Get The Job Done?
As far as bait selection goes I go with a three technique approach. First is a texas rigged soft plastic, second is a square bill crankbait, and third is a topwater buzz bait. For the texas rig several different soft plastic options can get the job done but one of my very favorites is a Zman Palmetto BugZ, as well as the brand new Zman Z Hog. Square bill crankbaits such as a Spro Little John and a Spro Fat John bumped into heavy wood cover and rocks can trigger some great mid summer creek bites. On cloudy days or under overhanging trees a buzzbait can be a great option to get a big bite as well. What I like to do is rotate between these three options throughout the day in order to figure out what the fish want while maximizing my opportunities to trigger bites.
Not every creek has a defined original creek channel but a large majority of them do. One of the best tools you can use in order to find creeks that have potential is google earth. So find a creek that looks like it stretches far into the woods in the back of a major creek, then go out and do some exploring. Always take your time so you don't end up hitting a stump until you really feel confident and learn the creek well, and if you see the water temperature dropping and bait fish such as shad and bluegill present then get ready because a big bass might be just around the next bend.
I'll see you on the water!!!