On Labor Day (September 5, 2011), I headed to Minocqua, Wisconsin to make a sponsor appearance at the Wisconsin Bass Classic Tournament on behalf of my employer, the Skeeter Boat Center in Chippewa Falls, WI.
This venue was a tournament that I have fished for the past 3 years, but due to a family wedding, I would not be fishing this year. I did take the opportunity to get on the water (Tomahawk) and shoot some Hummingbird images for some of my 2012 deep water smallmouth seminars. I was really quite amazed at the number of schools of smallmouth that were suspended in 50’ to 60’ of water (see the first Humminbird 1198 screen shot picture below). Although many of the schools were in a negative mood, some good fish were catchable on a jigging spoon as well a drop shot technique. With my past experience on this body of water, the smallmouth typically had moved up to the humps in 25’ to 45’ of water by this time of the year, and the 70 degree surface temperatures were very similar to Labor Day week the past 2 years. Something was a bit off this year in regards to their current location, but the fish were still heading to the humps. The common denominator that I found in regards to fish location, was that they were suspended over sand flats that had depths of 65’ to 75’ of water. All of the sand flats that held fish were located near a transition to gravel and rock bottoms (see the second Humminbird 1198 screen shot picture below – the yellow bottom is sand and the red bottom is rock). These fish were all following Cisco forage. I was excited to see the number of fish that were in that deep of water – the good news was that the contour lines the fish were following would make them at least somewhat predictable for the rest of the fall.The moment I returned to my motel room, I searched for upcoming tournaments on the Minocqua/Tomahawk Chain and found that there was 2 upcoming tournaments - the Northern Lakes Bassmasters had an open tournament scheduled for September 17th and Angler’s Choice had a tournament scheduled for September 18th. I decided to fish those 2 tournaments and my next 2 blogs will cover those tournament days.
Two of the keys to success when fishing for largemouth bass in any lake, are: A. Determining what seasonal pattern you will be faced with. B. The location of the highest percentage spots to fish during that seasonal pattern.