We’ll call this one “alternatives to staying in the air conditioning.”
Yeah, it’s almost too hot to bear. But there are still ways to beat the heat and enjoy the Great Outdoors. Here are a few of my picks:
- COLD WATER, HOT FISHING: Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Mo., is a cool place to spend a summer day. Literally. Water temperatures stay cold, even in the heat of summer. Water from the depths of Table Rock Lake feeds Taneycomo, ensuring that there is chilled water year-round. That’s why trout stay active, no matter how hot it gets. And if fishermen get hot, they can dip their feet into the water for instant relief.
- FLOATING TO RELIEF: Bass fishermen don’t have to bake in the hot sun to catch fish at this time of the year. They can head to one of the Ozarks float streams, where there is always shade given off by the canopy of trees that drape over the streams. The riffles in those streams provide oxygen, making sure that species such as smallmouth bass remain active. Try the Current, the Gasconade or the Niangua rivers. But try to plan your trip for a weekday. The weekends can get busy with canoeists.
- BECOME NOCTURNAL: One way to avoid a sunburn is to fish at night. Many bass fishermen in the Ozarks come out only at night during the summer. They use jig and pig, large plastic worms or black spinnerbaits to catch the big ones.
- TURN ON THE LIGHTS: Crappie fishermen also reap the benefits of being night owls in the heat of summer. They use either floating or submersible lights to set up a food chain under their boats. Those lights attract aquatic insects, which in turn draw baitfish. Eventually, gamefish are attracted to the ball of bait and start feeding. Everything from crappies to white bass to rainbow trout are caught at Ozarks reservoirs such as Bull Shoals.
- SET YOUR ALARM: Early risers often hook the fish during the heat of summer. We’re talking about getting out a half-hour before sunrise. The water temperature is usually a few degrees cooler than what it will be later in the day, and the fish are often active. Topwater lures are especially effective, particularly when the surface is swirling with activity. The best fishing may be a narrow window. It may last only one to two hours. But it is worth missing a little sleep.