June and July spoiled a lot of Saginaw Bay walleye anglers. Finding these fine game fish was easy—they were everywhere– and limits were the norm within a few short hours at most. Progressing into August, the fishing has taken a different pattern, so don’t put those trolling rods away just yet. The fish are still there, the fishing is still excellent but more is now required by angler “walleye savvy” to catch them.
Anglers who have kept meticulous records of where they have caught walleye over the years know pretty much where these fish are going to be at any given time of the year. I detest the word “always”, because I don’t believe anything is “always” true. However, Saginaw Bay walleye are going to be found 99-percent of the time in depths of 17 feet or less during the month of August. Veteran anglers out of Augres start setting up in the 14-foot depths once they are safely around Pt. Augres and trolling southward, working as shallow as 10-feet and out to as deep as the low 20s. The fishing is excellent all the way down to Linwood. Many are still using crawlers, but a number of anglers are now pulling Hot ‘N Tots and other favorite plastic plugs. The only drawback to this fishery is the number of catfish, drum, and white bass that are constant contenders for an angler’s offerings.
The east side of the bay is much the same—fish the shallow depths from Caseville all the way down to Bay Port and walleye are going to be caught. Plastic baits are working well over there right now, and limit catches, like the shallows of the east side, aren’t uncommon. If too many boats more into the shallows, they can shut the fish down; however, I guarantee once the boats thin out the walleye bite will be on again.
Does that mean the deeper waters of the bay are no longer producing a good walleye bite? Not by a long shot! Again, years of accurate records indicate which areas of the deeper waters will consistently produce fish and which ones won’t. Once a good school of fish is found, stay on them. They will eventually bite. “Never leave fish to go looking for fish”, one of the best fishermen I’ve ever known told me. In over 30 years of professional fishing, I have never had better advice. The best deep-water bite for us this month has come after 12:30 p.m., and it has been exceptional. From 9 a.m. until noon, we have seldom had more than four or five fish in the cooler. But by trusting what the sonar was telling us and staying on those fish, we have “boxed out” most days.
August is a fine month to fish Saginaw Bay walleye. The easy bite of June and July are over for the most part, and fishing pressure has dropped off dramatically. However, near-shore or in deep water, savvy walleye anglers are still enjoying excellent fishing. Trust me. Pictures don’t lie.
Capt. Terry R. Walsh