By Rick Windham Outdoors Columnist
When it comes to trout fishing, this is one of my favorite times of the year, but you need the right bait, and grasshoppers are the bait.
For most of the year, if you’re fishing Lake Ogallala or the canal, Power Bait is usually what you need to use. Right now, anywhere there is flat or slow-moving water in Lake Ogallala and the canal, a surface-disturbing grasshopper is a great incentive for trout.
Find yourself a good grasshopper and a small hook with a long leg. Or I’ll push the hook through the grasshopper just behind the hard plate that covers the thorax.
The grasshopper will stay alive and active and that will attract trout. I also hook the grasshopper on the femur, the largest part of the leg.
A grasshopper on its own is usually not heavy enough to cast accurately, so I add a cast bubble to my line. A cast bubble is a tear-shaped plastic float. It is made in such a way that it has a tube to pass the line through and by either twisting or nailing it can hold the bubble in a specific place on the line.
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Casting bubbles are also built so you can fill them with water. Water equals weight, so you can put the amount of water you need to cast wherever you want. It’s actually quite a versatile piece of rigging.
I will normally set my launch bubble 18 to 24 inches above my grasshopper. I’ll cast to a spot where I think the trout might be and let the grasshopper do its thing.
A few shakes is often all it takes and I have a fight on my hands. Try this technique.
As for the fishing in the region, it can be summed up in one word: slow. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb: as the weather gets hotter, the fishing slows down. There are fish to catch, and many fishermen are catching them, but you will have to work for them.
Lake McConaughy’s fishing action spans the entire lake. If you want to fish the dam at night, you have a decent chance of catching some larger walleye or some windshield wipers. Troll or cast big crankbaits in fire tiger or crab pattern.
The upper part of the lake, the Big Mac Triangle as I call it, from Eagle Canyon to Otter Creek and west to Lewellen seems to be where a lot of walleye are caught right now.
The lake is about 45% pool full or think it’s half full.
If you can find flooded wood, fish those areas in the morning and then trawl in 15 to 20 feet of water the rest of the day. Nightcrawlers and leeches can be the best live bait deals. Salmo crankbaits in the hot pike and hot perch patterns are doing well with walleye.
The Sutherland Reservoir inlet still has an intermittent daily pattern, mostly closed.
Walleye fishing is better in the main lake than in the flats in 7 to 10 feet of water. Some walleye are trapped around the Bubble. Cat fishing remains active in much of the lake. Get some cut bait in the water and you can probably catch a catfish.
Lake Maloney anglers who fish the inlets are having their best luck in the mornings and during the last hours of daylight.
Live baits seem to be doing their best here. Walleye anglers are scooping up some drift fish and slowly trolling the main lake, usually in 8 to 12 feet of water. Nightcrawlers and larger minnows are doing well.
Our local interstate lakes are always a great place to visit this time of summer. Iron House Lake has plenty of hungry bluegills for the kids.
Birdwood Lake, Fremont Slough, and East Hershey lakes have been good producers of a variety of fish. And take a child fishing – soon they will go back to school.
Look at the calendar. Squirrel season is open. The rabbit and pigeon seasons will open on September 1. The 2022-23 hunting seasons are here! Time to do some exploring and get your gear out and make sure everything is working properly.
Have a great weekend outdoors in Nebraska.