BRENT CHAPMAN: Northern Fisheries are My Cure for Summertime Heat - Major League Fishing
BRENT CHAPMAN: Northern Fisheries are My Cure for Summertime Heat
2y • Brent Chapman • Angler Columns
ANTHONY GAGLIARDI: Scale Your Fall Offerings to the Size of the Baitfish
3d • Anthony Gagliardi • Angler Columns
RANDY HOWELL: The Small Details That Will Help You Land More Topwater Bites
5d • Randy Howell • Bass Pro Tour
BRETT HITE: We’re Still in the Learning Phase with Forward-Facing Sonar
1m • Brett Hite • Angler Columns
ALTON JONES JR.: My Process for Breaking Down Northern Fisheries with My Electronics
1m • Alton Jones Jr. • Angler Columns
SKEET REESE: I’d Like to Put an Exclamation Point on the 2022 Season at Mille Lacs
1m • Skeet Reese • Angler Columns
JOSH BERTRAND: Still Some Work to Do to End Bass Pro Tour Season on a High Note
1m • Josh Bertrand • Angler Columns
DAVE LEFEBRE: Prepping for Stage Seven and My Band’s First Festival in Minnesota
1m • Dave Lefebre • Bass Pro Tour
SCOTT SUGGS: Why I Love to Fish Heavy Grass in Deep Water
2m • Scott Suggs • Angler Columns
KEVIN VANDAM: My Forward-Facing Sonar Game Just Went into Hyperdrive with Humminbird MEGA Live TargetLock
2m • Kevin VanDam • Angler Columns
RYAN SALZMAN: I’m Looking Forward to Fulfilling More Goals to End the 2022 Season
2m • Ryan Salzman • Angler Columns
JACOB WHEELER: Turning Competition into Education With High School Bass Shootout
2m • Jacob Wheeler • Angler Columns
KELLY JORDON: Why I believe in the Power of the Big Squarebill
3m • Kelly Jordon • Angler Columns
CODY MEYER: Why I Rely on a Topwater and Wacky Rig in Early Postspawn
4m • Cody Meyer • Angler Columns
MARK ROSE: “Ledge Fishing” Everywhere (Even in Your Local Pond)
4m • Mark Rose • Angler Columns

BRENT CHAPMAN: Northern Fisheries are My Cure for Summertime Heat

Image for BRENT CHAPMAN: Northern Fisheries are My Cure for Summertime Heat
Brent Champan is looking forward to fishing up north for the final stop of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour. Photo by Josh Gassmann
July 2, 2020 • Brent Chapman • Angler Columns

Summertime bass fishing can be great. Bass can be schooled up much more than other times of the year, and as much fun as I have using my Garmins to locate schools of fish, I have to admit, I’m a shallow-water sight angler. I’ll go into that shallow water and just fish. I really enjoy that style of fishing more than others.

Of course, one of the biggest problems with fishing like that can be the excessive heat that comes along with the middle of the summer, especially in the middle and southern parts of the country, where daytime temperatures can get into the 100s at times and the fishing can really slow down.

My solution to fishing in that heat is simple: head north. The summertime air temperatures are usually much cooler, and the scenery and fishing is almost always great.

I was recently coaching my son’s high school fishing team at their championship in La Crosse, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River. Besides being an awesome area of the country, it reminded me of how much fun fishing up in the northern states is, especially up shallow. 

Places like the northern stretches of the Mississippi River or Lake Champlain in Vermont are places I really wish we could’ve gotten to on the Bass Pro Tour this season. I love Lake Champlain…really any of the northern fisheries. Many of the smaller natural lakes in the northern states are full of fish. Not only are the bass usually up shallow there and not fished very hard, but you can also catch muskies and northern pike while bass fishing, too.

My Northern Approach

I can go up to places like Wisconsin and fish with whatever bait I want to use. Any shallow water technique can be good at one time or the other.

I’ll do the typical MLF deal with rods: I’ll have a 1.5 squarebill crankbait, a beaver, a bladed jig, a swim jig, and topwaters like a frog or buzzbait. Throughout the day, one of those lures will catch them. That means that I’ll have a bunch of Plano EDGE tackle boxes loaded with as many options as possible, but really, almost any option will work.

Usually, you don’t have to fish deep up north to find bass, and there are usually plenty of pike, and sometimes there are those prehistoric-looking mudfish to keep you on your toes. Those mudfish can really get your heart pumping and destroy your hooks.

Another great thing about fishing bass up north is the time of day that you need to be on the water. I’m not a morning person, I never have been. Sure, I get up really early every day to fish for a living, but when I don’t have to be up early, I’m not.

I like getting on the water when the sun is up on the northern lakes. During the middle of the day, when the sun has positioned the fish in cover and shade, you can go and catch them. The cooler temperatures in the region make midday fishing more comfortable for me, too.

The next and last stop on the MLF Bass Pro Tour for 2020 is going to be on a northern fishery, but this one is likely not going to be won in the shallows. It’s in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, part of Lake Michigan. I’ve never fished there, but from what I’ve learned, there are huge smallmouth bass there, and some untapped largemouth. Who knows, someone might find a shallow water option there and do really well.

I didn’t realize how massive it was. I know I can’t see it all in two days of practice. I’ll pick a reasonably sized area. I think I’ll need an area a mile or two long, and find a bunch of sweet spots. It’s hard to say how much I’ll need to do well. Nobody knows how it’ll play out. Bass could be postspawn, and in that crazy funky time, fish could be scattered. Or, somebody may find a mega school and sit on them and score a ton of bass. I think it’ll be a little bit of everything.

I’ll have eight spinning rods and another 15 baitcasters on deck, and I’ll let fish show me what they want. 

I’d love to be in a position to win, catch a big bass so I can qualify for next year’s Heavy Hitters, and move up into the Top 10 to make the final Cup event. There is a lot to shoot for at this final tournament. I can’t wait to fish up north again.