Well I have completely filled my calendar with fishing events this summer and thus far the results have been great. Since bass opener I have had two club tournaments, two night league tournaments and a Fishers of Men event. The fishing at each of the tournaments has been awesome with big schools of fish on typical post spawn locations and they were very willing to bite.
This years MN bass opener fell just after most of the bass quit spawning so up until this week they have been pretty much following the general rule of finding the next closest cover to the spawning areas. Sunfish began their spawn process in the past couple of weeks so there are definitely some bass roaming the shallows targeting sunfish beds.
The key to my success catching the mid-depth post spawn feeders was to gear up a finesse approach. I used light line (10lb 100% Fluorocarbon Trilene) and 1/8 oz weights and a variety of different soft plastics including Berkeley power worms and weightless MG Lures pachinkos.
With my finesse set up I went to find high percentage spots where I thought I would find post spawn bass. I looked for a hard bottom with sand and gravel, close to deep water, and the structure I targeted was milfoil, coontail and other aquatic vegetation. The key was to find these types of areas and then stay aware for bait. If there were big bait balls showing on the depth finder or minnows jumping out of the water, we knew we had a good spot.
The water temp has been hovering around the 72 degree mark for the past couple of weeks but will probably increase with some more steady warm air temperature. So soon to come the bass will move in to their normal summer patterns on rock piles, deep weedlines, and shallow slop spots.
-Stay tuned for more tips and techniques and fishing reports-
It is always a very sad time of year for Minnesota bass anglers when it comes time to winterize and store the boat. The fishing slows down, the air and water temperatures fall and before you know it, the lakes start to freeze. So what is a Minnesota bass angler to do? Head to the river to do some shore fishing!
This past weekend my friend from Viking Bassmasters and his brother joined me for a trip to Monticello, Minnesota to do a little river fishing from shore. We pulled up to our first “secret” spot made a few casts each and only yielded only one small 11 or 12 inch smallmouth. The current at this spot was moving pretty fast and the eddies weren’t as noticeable as they normally are so we decided to move on. We only stayed there for 30 minutes which isn’t giving much of a try but the days are short and the fishing time was limited.
We got to our next spot which had a couple of anglers on it already but they were nice enough to let us cast in the same area. We immediately started pounding smallies ranging from 1 to two pounds. We were using FlaMinn lures 1/8th oz Jigworm Jig heads and Gene Larew’s 4” Salty Ring Tail worms in the watermelon pepper color. They key to getting them to bite was to make a long cast out (with 8lb Berkeley Vanish), allow the current to get the jig hung up in structure and let it sit there for a minute. If there were no takers, I would softly pop it out and let it sit again. The area we were fishing had quite a bit of structure including; Milfoil, rocks and “floating” tree limbs and as long as you were in the structure, a smallie would come along and snatch it out.
Overall it was a great fishing trip and if the fishing continues to be that good up there, it might not be such a long winter after all.
Turtle Chain of Lakes Lake Report
Beltrami County Minnesota
The weekend of September 26th, I made my annual trip up to the Turtle chain of lakes in Beltrami. The accessible lakes include; Turtle, Little Turtle, and Movil Lake. I arrived at the launch on “Big Turtle” on Friday the 25th around 1am and quickly buzzed over to my friends cabin on Movil where I spent the night. At the cabin it was me, my father (Steve) and my friends Chris, Mark and Rob. The day got off to a bit of a later start than I wanted but after a late night, sleeping in a bit wasn’t so bad. We got up around 7 and hit the water by 8 where we were pleasantly greeted with 60 degree air temperature, overcast, 10 mph wind and 67 degree water temperature. Compared to most other years this was excellent weather. My dad hopped in my boat and the other three guys went with Mark in his. My dad and I discussed what we were going to do a little bit prior to getting up there but not knowing the water temp until I launched, I wasn’t exactly sure. While we were idling out I decided to make the long run from Movil, through Big Turtle all the way into Little Turtle. Knowing that we were going to meet for lunch back at the cabin around noon, this was a bit of a risk but I had a good feeling about Little turtle which I had never been in before. I recently ordered some contour maps from Lakemaps (1-800-999-8204) and found that Little Turtle had some great looking areas on the map and I wanted to go give it a shot.
As soon as I got into Little Turtle and dropped the Trolling motor, I started Flipping a Reactions Innovations Sweet Beaver green pumpkin. The first two fish we got were a small pike and about a pound and half rock bass. We were not to impressed to say the least so we buzzed over to another reed spot in Little Turtle. I got bit on my fourth cast in these deep reeds, reared back, set the hook and the fish immediately wrapped around a reed and threw the hook. I learned my lesson and switched to a higher speed Shimano Curado 7:3:1 casting reel. We didn’t get bit on this stretch of reeds again for 50 yards. My second good bite I was able to connect and I boated about a 2 and a half again on the sweet beaver. I decided to stick with the pattern and I kept moving down looking for reeds in 5ft with good vegetation in front and around them. I came up an area of reeds that were being blown parallel with the wind. I caught my second fish again on the sweet beaver out of a particularly good looking patch of reeds. Fish number two measured 19 inches and was just shy of four lbs. I flipped back to that same spot and wham got nailed by another 18incher. We spent about 2 more hours in Little Turtle and slammed 18+ inch large mouth about every 10min or so. This was by far the best fishing I have had on this chain of lakes. My father was somehow able to convince me into returning to the cabin on lake movil to have lunch where we met mark and the other guys. Mark gave a report on his success and said that between the three of them the got 35 fish. While my dad and I didn’t get as many fish, those that we did catch were definitely of better quality. Mark said the biggest fish they got was 17.5 inches but he said all of their fish came out of deep water on a Jig Worm. I was torn between numbers and big fish but I decided to try the deep structure that Mark was fishing in effort to slam a boat load of LMB’s. I got out to one of my deep spots that I usually fish on Movil and was able to catch a few fish on a Zoom finesse worm pumpkinseed color on an 1/8th oz Spot Remover shaky head jigworm.
To conclude, this was a fantastic day of fun fishing. We went around and tried some new things that proved to be an excellent method to catch them and I learned a lot about fishing shallow and what to look for. I can’t wait to get back up to these lakes with an entirely different game plan in mind and hopefully have as much or more success.
The Viking Invitational is a bass tournament held on Lake Minnetonka each year. The tournament is scheduled for October 4th, 2009 out of Maynard’s restaurant in Excelsior, MN.
Each year my club (Viking Bassmasters of Minnesota) hosts the Viking Invitational on and we have been doing so for the past 33 years. We have a max capacity of 80 boats that we fill almost every year. This is a fun tournament for serious tournament guys and amateurs alike. We pay out for big bass and big pike and the top ten teams will receive a trophy. Whether you are interested in exposing a young angler to the tournament process or you are an established tournament angler, we would love to have you out.
Please send me an email if you are interested in a pre-registration form and I will send one out promptly.