Thankful Outdoors: Algae Bloom not Always a Bad Thing For Fishing

Despite the algae blooms in the water, Scott managed to catch a walleye while on the Big Eau Pleine.

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Monday night, the boys and I had free time, and we decided that the boat needed to get wet. With no real plan of where to go and being tired from a long workday, it was decided that we would go to the Big Eau Pleine. This body of water is the closest drive for us to get on any water to fish by boat.

Knowing that the flowage was heavy with algae bloom certainly did not increase any belief that the bite would be hot. In years past, when the algae bloom appears on lakes, I have given up on fishing or would drive hours to more northern lakes that often are more clear and deeper water.

As we prepared for the outing, I told the boys that we would be adding spinners to our jigs tonight, thinking that we needed to add more flash and vibration to our presentation with the darker water. That was about the extent of thought I had put into improving our chances of catching a fish.

As we trolled a shoreline that I remember studying years ago from a Fishing Hot Spots map, Bryce noticed deer feeding and drinking along the shoreline. As we watched the doe with her fawn, Connor’s pole bends over, and he says, “Hey, I got a bite!” He fought the fish for a little while before it shook his lure!

With the water being so dark and green, we were unable to tell what he had on. We continued along, watching carp jump all around. I made a cast, my lure hit the water, and a fished had splashed about a foot and half away, and I had a fish on. A little walleye was soon landed.

We soon wrapped up the evening, and as we headed back to the boat landing, I was trying to piece together why we had the little bit of action that we did that evening. Watching the green water and knowing that many lakes have already turned green early this year, I started to think I better figure out how to fish algae bloom this year.

I want to share what I discovered in my research this week as I prepare myself to keep on the water this season. It turns out that I have given up on some potentially excellent fishing times.

The one species that I researched on applying algae bloom techniques to is walleye. The algae bloom started early this year for many bodies of water due to early ice-off and hot water temps. Not only has this impacted the algae bloom but also the leech season. I mention the leech because if you are a live bait diehard, you will more than likely find that you will be paying more for leeches, or you will not be able to find leeches at your favorite bait shop by August. These conditions have triggered the spawn for leeches and ending their life cycle, making it difficult for bait shops to keep them in supply.

Let’s understand how algae can help you catch walleye during this time of year on the water; typically, prime walleye conditions are cloudy, windy days, or times when sunlight is low. This is where the benefit of algae comes into play; it reduces the amount of sunlight that penetrates the water.

So on these hot, bright, sunny days, this type of cover can allow you to have a good catch during the middle of the day versus waiting for daylight or dusk periods to fish for walleye. What about the location on the lake? Where would I find these fish during an algae bloom?

Many of these fish can be found in much shallower water than you would typically find them; you will find that you can be fishing in three to six feet of water. This shallow water has good weed growth, that weed growth offers several benefits – holds baitfish, along with a cover, plus these weed areas will provide a high level of oxygen. The warmer water temps drive fish to be more aggressive; they need more feed and oxygen to survive these summer months.

One last benefit of having high algae bloom in the water is that it can also keep recreational boating activities down as well; it can often turn crowded bodies of water into what will seem like a private lake.

Good luck to you in your future outings, and I hope you learned a bit about how algae bloom on a lake doesn’t mean terrible fishing, just different fishing!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.