The Summer Period (Over 70°F) / Learn to Fish Reservoirs

Stable Summer Water Fishing Period

Still dark.


The faint smell of campfire hits your nostrils as you place your cap back upon your head. Some of the smoke from last nights fire has decided to linger – but you don’t mind. It’s the perfect compliment to the cup of black coffee you just poured yourself.

It’s summer… and we better get moving if we want to catch the morning bite.

Campfire before a fishing trip
Snap… Crackle… Pop.

Water Level

In summer the weather is more stable. Many bass have moved offshore to deeper structures, and they are less affected by the whims of Mother Nature.

As water rises and settles, the bass that have remained shallow move even further into shore. Starting with frogs, walking baits or buzzbaits can help you fish through this flooded cover.

Boat docks are a prime summer location, especially those with planks that sit closer to the water. Larger docks that offer extensive protection can attract more fish, especially if they are the last in a series of docks and the closest to deep water. Cast towards the outside edge, skip plastics up underneath, or run a swim jig right along the edge.

(Check out our Top 10 Swim Jigs if you’re looking for new gear.)

If the water recedes, fish will pull back offshore to the next available cover or suspend. A drop in depth of a foot or more is a good indicator that it’s time to look for deeper fish. Current is usually associated with a rise or fall in water levels, and current also has an impact on the position of fish.

Water Temperature

In summer changes in water temperature are rarely an issue. For the most part this is a stable period. Be mindful of huge swings – say 5°F to 10°F – or aggressive stormy weather that might “turn fish off”. When you’re able to get back out fish what was working previously, and if you don’t get bit – slow down, downsize, and try finesse.

Water Clarity

It takes a fair amount of time for shallow water to clear up in different parts of the country. As visibility increases, think stealth. Think natural colors. Think finesse for those fish that remain shallow.

Green Pumpkin Hula Stick Ned Rig
Green Pumpkin Hula Stick on a Ned Rig Power Finesse Jighead

If the water muddies up again, the fish can get displaced – even those that are deep-structure oriented. Muddy water means it’s time to focus on shallow cover.

Fish brighter. Fish tighter.

Grab a high-contrast spinnerbait with orange or chartreuse blades, a vibrating jig, squarebill crankbait or some jigs and soft plastics. In addition to the high-contrast colors, experiment with dark colors like black & blue. Dark colors can be more visible in dirty water.

Shallow Muddy Water Bass Cover
Chocolate milk? Get in tight.

Moving Forward

As the day comes to a close it’s time to tie the boat up for the evening. You notice a different smell as you wipe the sweat from your brow. It’s a bit fishy, but subtle – it smells like hard work. Like success.

You crack a smile.

Some men shy away from such a smell, but you pause for just a brief moment to relish in it as the sun starts to dip lower towards the horizon.

The lake glistens with a toasty orange haze and you turn back towards camp.

Time to get that fire going.

Let's get better.

Tight lines.

NEXT SECTION: Fall into Winter (70°F & Cooling)
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