This is a fantastic time to be on the water chasing a variety of sport fish. The late spring and early summer period, encompassing the months of May and June, can be the very best of times for anglers.
As a full-time fishing guide for over a decade now, there are certain questions I’m used to being asked each season. One of the most popular is, “What’s the best time to plan a fishing trip.” Well, that’s not always the easiest answer, as peak fishing periods can be a little different for various species. It can also depend a little upon whether anglers are interested more in fast action or truly giant fish, as these peaks can happen at different times for a few species. But, there are times in which a higher number of species in general are active and aggressively feeding often. Each season has these multi-species peaks. Fall and winter both see peak periods for targeting multiple species. Spring and summer is a little different though, because these peaks overlap, creating an extended period of high activity for many species at the same time. The late spring and early summer periods are awesome! This is not just a personal favorite time of mine for hot multi-species action.
I have more than a half dozen staff guides that work for my guide service/lodging operation on my home lake, as well as dozens more at my outfitting company’s many locations across the country, and they all look forward to this peak. Several of my tournament victories and high finishes have come during this magical time of the year as well, and we have filmed some great regional and national TV shows during this period too, especially the multi- species programs. For multi-species action in spring and summer, this period can’t be beat!
Since water temperatures are warm and usually at or near the optimal range of most species at this time, many game fish are active and aggressive in the late spring and early summer time frames. What does this mean for anglers? This means lots of fish in high levels of activity that are willing to strike, often violently, a wide range of lure offerings. Basically, this is one of the best times year to be able to catch fish on your own terms, using the lures and styles of fishing you enjoy most. Some prefer fishing top water lures, while others prefer jigs. Some have more confidence in spinner baits, while others would rather drag plastics.
At this time, anglers can get away with all kinds of fishing methods, and go with what they prefer most. Still, while anglers can often catch fish in late spring and early summer with most presentations, some tend to produce faster action than others, simply due to water coverage. Some lures, like top waters, spinner baits and shallow cranks can be fished faster to contact more active fish, and this works great at this time of the season. These are often the most exciting ways to fish too, adding visual appeal, by targeting fish on or near the top of the water column in the shallows. But, whatever your personal cup of tea is, you can have it often when targeting multiple species during this blissful time to be on the water pursuing our favorite sport.
Almost all species can be caught at this time in numbers. Because of the water temperature and activity level of the fish, this can also be a good time for trophies of various species as well, since an increased metabolism causes all fish, bigger and older specimens included, to eat more frequently. In most areas, this is one of the best times of year to chase largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass alike. It’s also a great time for muskies and northern pike. Bluegill and sunfish action is extremely high at this time, and crappies and perch bite well too.
White bass, yellow bass and hybrid stripers are often taken in high numbers at this time of year, and it’s also the tail end of good fishing for stripers on many waters too, so they’re an option as well. All species of catfish bite well in late spring and early summer. Fishing walleye and sauger is good too, and the same is true of other species as well. The late spring and early summer peak, offers up a literal smorgasbord of multi species action on countless waters.
*Get Out There
The late spring and early summer peak is one of the most exciting times of year for targeting many species of game fish in one trip. It also produces some of the most pleasant weather of the year too, as an added bonus. The only real mistake that any of us can make is not making time for trips out into God’s great outdoors. The wonder of nature, and the thrill of the sports we pursue there, is like the fuel in our mental tanks. It relieves stress, improves our health and makes it easier for us to keep pushing through the rest of our lives, until we can get back out in the wild again. It’s like restoration for the soul, so get out there…
– Colby Simms