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Looking Forward To Fishing

For the past couple of months, I’ve been thinking about where I hope to go fishing this spring, summer, and fall. It’s always fun to visit new areas, but I also like to return to areas where I’ve been before. Following are some areas that I’ve enjoyed and that an angler might want to consider visiting.

Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota/South Dakota border has a reputation of being an exceptionally good walleye and perch lake, and it is. However, in the past couple of years, it has become one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the Midwest. In fact, some knowledgeable bass catchers are calling Big Stone the best big bass fishery in the Midwest. Fishing educator Mike Frisch participated in a bass tournament on Big Stone last fall. He brought five bass to the scales, and they averaged almost five pounds apiece. A heck of a catch! It was only good for ninth place! In many parts of bass country, North or South, that would have been a winning weight. Big Stone has also become home to lots of big bluegills. I hope to return to Big Stone sometime soon. Mike suggests trying a Thunder Cricket Vibrating Jig for the largemouth.

On my way to Big Stone, I’ll spend a day or two in the Alexandria Minnesota area. There are dozens of lakes around Alex, and they offer tremendous variety. In the 80’s we fished a lot of walleye tournaments in that area. On the practice days we fished for walleyes during the tournament hours, then chased largemouth until the sun went down. We also got after crappies quite often. In recent years smallmouth bass have become abundant in some of the lakes, and walleye fishing can still be exceptionally good. The variety of lakes means that an angler can always find a lake that has fish willing to bite. An Ocho worm on a jig head along a weedline will catch any fish that’s on that weedline, and a Hornet or Lucky Shad crankbait are reliable walleye catchers when trolling.

I like Kabetogama Lake in Voyageur’s National Park on the U.S./Canada border for a couple of reasons. The fishing can be outstanding. We targeted walleyes on my first few trips to Kab, and we caught ’em good. Kab still provides lots of walleye catching for eaters and big ones. In recent years though, I’ve learned that smallmouth bass and crappies are abundant as well. Smallmouth fishing, when you hit it right, is world-class. We will often fish for walleyes early and late in the day and smallmouth during the midday hours. Live bait rigs and jigs are proven walleye producers, and a dropshot rig with a Half Shell or Dream Shot plastic will catch lots of smallmouth. In addition to the fishing, the wildlife viewing opportunities are outstanding. You’ll see deer, beavers, waterfowl, eagles, otters, and if you get lucky, a black bear or a moose. Kab is high on my list of places to visit.

Big Stone, Kabetogama Lake, and the Alexandria area are an easy drive for most Midwest anglers, but something that I’ve learned in my many years of traveling to fishing hotspots is that I was driving by lots of good places to fish. Most anglers live near some good fishing holes. Small lakes, ponds, and rivers can be found close to home, and too much of the time we overlook these fishing opportunities. I’m going to be visiting these close to home fisheries more this year. That means I’ll be fishing more often, and that means I’ll be catching more fish. That’s a good thing. I encourage you to do the same.

– Bob Jensen of fishingthemidwest.com.

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