Bass: A look ahead

Column: Fishing with Frisch: By Mike Frisch

Recently, I wrote a story about some top walleye fishing destinations I was fortunate to fish last summer.  This story is of a similar nature, except the target and topic species is bass.  Like the walleye story, these are destinations and fishing techniques anglers may want to consider when making fishing plans for 2018!

Central Minnesota

I live in central Minnesota, so this isn’t a destination for me, but I mention it because central Minnesota flat out “has ‘em” when it comes to largemouth bass!   I’m a half-an-hour from the famed Le Homme Dieu chain in Alexandria, famous for its outstanding bass numbers.  Not only does “the chain,” as locals call it, have great bass numbers, but there are tons of other good bass waters in the area too.  Lakes Ida, Minnewaska, and a whole lot of smaller waters have excellent largemouth populations.  In addition to largemouth, several of these lakes have expanding smallmouth bass populations as well.

Largemouth fishing generally starts as soon as the season opens and can be good all summer and into fall.   If smallmouth are the target, late summer and fall seem to be peak times for these fish.  The jig-worm, a 4-7” plastic worm fished on a light jig head, is standard fare when fished on deep weedlines for largemouth bass on many waters all season long.  If smallies are the query, drop-shots, swim jigs, and tubes will all catch those fish.

Kabetogama Lake

Not only is Kabetogama Lake in Voyageurs National Park one of the most scenic places on earth, it also has some of the best smallmouth bass fishing I have ever experienced.  My last trip to Kab was a mid-September visit where my first fish was a giant in the 21” size range!   Moments later my fishing partners and I experienced a triple, with two of the fish in the 4-pound class.  Those are quality smallmouth anywhere you go and Kab has them in good numbers.

We were fishing rock humps surrounded by deep water on our fall trip.  A great technique on that trip was a small plastic worm fished on a drop-shot set-up.  Traditional jig and minnows cast to the rocky areas produced fish too.

Not only does Kabetogama Lake have awesome smallmouth fishing, but the walleye fishing can be downright dynamite too.  In fact, on that September trip, we caught a couple dozen smallies in the morning and a bunch of walleyes in the afternoon!  If you are interested in a trip to Kabetogama visit to learn more.

Northern Minnesota

Last August I traveled to northern Minnesota to fish with close friend and Fishing Hall of Fame member Duane Peterson.  Duane is one of the best anglers I’ve fished with and he loves catching largemouth bass on topwater frogs.  On this trip, we were fishing a mid-sized lake with lots of shallow vegetation – reeds, lily pads, and other assorted weeds.

We threw Strike King Sexy Frogs on long casts and reeled them quickly back.  Simple, right?  Maybe, but a bit of patience is required because when a bass “blows up” on a bait sometimes an anxious angler (like me) tends to set the hook and pull the frog away before the fish has it!

Lack of patience on my part aside, Duane and I put a couple dozen fish in the boat in just a few hours.  This was awesome action as the bites were very exciting when a big bass exploded out of the shallows to eat a frog, followed by the hand-to-hand combat required to fight and land it!

We fished in northern Minnesota, but there are lots of places across Minnesota and the Midwest where this type of action can be had.  Any lake with lots of good shallow cover will probably have a good largemouth population, some of which call the shallows home all summer long and are probably susceptible to being caught “froggin’!”

Bass fishing is one of my favorite summer activities, and I can’t wait to get in a boat again.  If you are looking for good fishing for 2018, consider some of the places and techniques just mentioned. I think you’ll like what you find!

Mike Frisch is co-host of Fishing of the Midwest TV and a multi-species Minnesota fishing guide, view the website for more information.

By: Mike Frisch

Source, credits & more information: FergusFallsJournal

image credits:  FishingMN  |  MNRBDC

image credits: FishingMN | MNRBDC