Take care handling fish in warm weather

By Bill Bartusek

The warm weather has continued to hang around this past week and dry conditions continue. We have had some rain locally but things still remain dry. Lakes are really low and it will take some significant rain to remedy this situation. In areas up north, sand bars are visible in many of the rivers and boating can be dangerous. The dry weather affects anglers because the accesses are getting pretty shallow too.

Fishing seems to remain steady as anglers are having good success. Panfish are the most popular right now. They're schooled up and fairly easy to find.

Any time the lakes are low, fishing is usually good. As the lake shrinks in size it actually helps anglers locate fish. Weedlines are well-defined and anglers have no problem finding points and turns created by the thick weeds.

Angler's have to be careful with their catch when things are this warm. Whether you plan to keep your catch or not, care should be taken with the fish. The warm water and stress are more critical at this time. When you catch a fish you should release it as soon as possible if you are not going to keep it. If you are planning to keep some fish for the frying pan you have a couple of options. If your boat is equipped with a good live-well keep your fish alive until you are ready to clean them. If not, a good cooler with ice works well. Just put your fish on ice as you catch them. Then when your ready to clean them they are cool and fresh.

Hopefully, the rains will come and raise lake levels back to normal before winter comes. At these low levels we could see some bad situations surface over the winter. Usually things work out and I'm sure they will again. In the meantime-think rain!

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