When the issue is bass, how could two states that share a common border manage the species so differently?

Wisconsin opened its walleye and northern pike seasons Saturday, and also its catch-and-keep trout season — and with it, bass fishing. Yet Minnesota won't make bass fishing legal for three weeks. Unless, that is, you live or fish in northern Minnesota, then bass — smallies, mostly — become legal with the May 9 walleye and northern pike opener. Minnesota delays its bass season in much of the state to protect spawning fish.

The same fish — largemouth bass — are spawning in Wisconsin, or will be, but are legal fare there. So who's managing bass better, Minnesota or Wisconsin? Hard to say, because good as bass fishing is in Minnesota, it's equally good on many Wisconsin lakes.I can say this: Saturday, fishing in Wisconsin not too far east of the metro, I didn't see many bass beds. Nor were bass particularly active, at least based on my experience. The biggest taken in our boat topped 3.5 pounds, and was caught by my son, Cole. That fish hit a Northland Jungle Jig (black and blue), tipped with a Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw (black and blue flake).

Meanwhile, catch-and-keep trout anglers were out in force in Wisconsin when their season opened Saturday. Which points up another weird twist from Minnesota fish management. Minnesotans have been able to keep trout now for a couple of weeks.

Go figure — and don't even bring up the differences in walleye fishing between the two states. In Wisconsin, the rules vary from county to county, with some allowing trolling, for instance, and others not.

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