For Minnesota bass fisherman, the wait from ice out to the bass opener can be long and unbearable. While the neighboring Wisconsin fisherman are targeting bass on May 1st, us Minnesotans must wait almost a full month to cast our first lines for bass. As some of you may know, the Mississippi River at Pool 2 and below are open year round to catch bass and wet your appetite. Please keep in mind, however, that Pool 2 is catch-and-release only, so don't think about grilling any bass filets.

Recently, I have been fortunate to fish Pool 4 in Wabasha and also Pool 2 out of St. Paul Park. My keys to success has been finding backwaters with warmer water. These backwaters are perfect areas for bass to stage and prepare for their spawn. I like to start the day by casting crankbaits, swim jigs, and rattle baits to determine the activity level of the bass and to guage if the area I chose has active fish. Once I find a productive area, I will slow down using a jig or a creature bait with a weight of 1/4 to 1/2 ounce.

The river tends to be fairly murky and I have found that water clarity is about a foot. The colors I select are either bright colors, using yellows, oranges, and chartruesse, or I use dark colors such as black and blue. Pay attention while out on the water for colors that generate the most consistant bites. The fish will tell you what they want, so attention to details is necessary for success on the Mississippi.

If you are getting that itch to fish for bass, don't be hesitant to try out the "Mighty" Mississippi. It has been a relatively new body of water for me, but each time I get out, I get to experience great scenery and great fishing. For additional bass information and news about my tournaments, please visit


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