Yep, most all our fish came from structure that was either extending from the main shoreline, or extending from island shorelines. There were fish on the offshore reefs out in the middle of no-man’s land, but for whatever reason, these fish were just not that aggressive.
The first couple days we tried areas within a mile of where you come out of the Ash Narrows. This was a bit of a mistake IMO because everybody does that and those fish are super pressured. Fishing was MUCH better once we got a few miles from the Ash Narrows in either direction (Kab or Nam).
Before our trip, I studied my map chip a lot. I found many good looking spots. One thing I didn’t realize until being up there…a lot of these spots were right on or along the main travel paths…the red line on my map chip that shows the recommended line of travel through the lakes. Well, with all the traffic up there, fishing those areas was like trying to fish in a washing machine! Boats constantly zipping by with waves rocking you all the time. I “wasted” a great many hours the first 2 to 2.5 days on these spots until I made a wholesale change in my approach.
So my suggestion is to get away from the resorts and get off the beaten path. Find some quieter water where the fish aren’t getting pounded or driven over like it’s the Daytona 500. If you can do that I think you’ll find fish that are much more cooperative.
As for presentations, I found crawler harnesses worked best most of the time. Spinner & bead color didn’t seem to matter, but speed around 1mph did. Lindy rigged leeches worked well too, especially in deep water (20ft or more). But anything under 20ft and harnesses ruled the roost for us. Jig/crawler worked ok when fished less than 13ft. 1/8oz in the watermelon color scheme was best, and any jig with chartreuse after that. Minnows didn’t produce much at all for us. Weedlines didn’t produce much either and I did spend time fishing weedlines in areas where deep water was nearby thinking fish might come from the deep or out from the weeds for a quick snack, but it just didn’t happen for me. Water temps were 78 to 82, and that might have forced the fish deeper. Sometimes the fish we caught were warmer than the outside air!
Most of the fish we found were on the structure edges. So for a bar or reef, we didn’t find much on top in the middle of the bar/reef, but on top on the edge right where it dropped to deeper water. Or, the fish would be tight to the bottom edge where the reef met the bottom flat of the lakebed (toe of the reef slope).
Lastly, I took the approach suggested by others here and by watching the Jason Mitchel videos when he fished Kab with Tim Snyder. Drive around the structure until you mark fish. Waypoint those fish, then fish the waypoints. Don’t fish them hard and long though. If they aren’t biting, they aren’t in the mood to eat at that particular time. Move on to the next structure and do the same. If you only mark a fish or two, it might not be worth your time. And if you don’t mark anything, don’t fish the structure! Fish the fish and you’ll find your days to be more productive. It can be maddening doing all that idling around looking for fish. Believe me! I’m a guy who firmly believes that if your line isn’t wet, you ain’t gonna catch a fish! BUT, if you’re patient and persevere by driving around to find fish, you’ll catch far more than just wetting a line.
So, that’s my long-winded response. Hahaha! I hope it’s helpful though and perhaps can save you the time and effort that I expended our first 2 to 2.5 days up there.
Good luck and go get’em!