Before you start thinking this don't pertain to you because you don't live on a lake or river, Stop! I know Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but what you might not know is that it is also home to thousands of gravel pits and small creeks and streams that feed into larger rivers or lakes. As a kid I spent thousands of hours with my friends fishing in locations never seen from a road. I'm going to try and help you find some place close to home that might not be more than a short bike ride away for the kids. Some of you may be more lucky than others and have a public fishing pier close to home. If you live out in the sticks like some of us did growing up, a river might be close by.
If you are reading this I'm going to assume you have computer access to the Minnesota DNR Website. This is the first place to start looking. Just click on the link and surf around in the Airphotos section. There are several other mapping programs on the web that can be used to find remote areas of water close to your home. Keep in mind you will need to find out who owns the land and you will need to ask permission to gain access to these locations, but it can be well worth the time and energy to seek out these hidden little gems. One little gravel pit I fished as a kid seemed to have a never ending supply of pike in it to stretch the string and keep my friends and I happy for countless hours. Some little creeks can be very deceiving to the eye at first glance. You might not think by looking at a creek from the road that there might be fish in it. You might even say you could jump across that puddle. The truth is, in the spring of the year when the water is high many species of fish go up these small little brooks and get trapped in some of the deeper pools, and those are the areas you are looking for on the map.
Make it a summer project and give the kids something to do other than sit and play video games all day. Spend time with them on the computer teaching them how to read a map and show them how to get to these locations. Have them knock on a few doors and ask if they can gain access to a small pit or creek.
Once you do have a location picked out and you have access to it, start out small with the bait. First you need to see if there are in fact bait fish in those holes. A small hook and a worm will do the trick, and minnows make great bait for bigger fish. Small spoons and spinners are a must have for the box. Red and Whites for the spoons and yellows for the spinners to keep it simple yet very effective.
Feel free to use the comment section under this blog if you would like more help or have any questions. Good luck and most of all, have fun.