Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Bassin' - Minnesota Style

Most of Minnesota's water is ice locked. On the local lakes we had 20" of ice and probably a little more after the cold this past week. So, obviously, there aren't many places to scratch that open water itch.

Well, I wasn't ready to put down the long rod in favor of my ice sticks so I decided to do some searching. You see videos of guys hitting open water spots in the dead of winter and figure "there are only so many places that can happen at".  So I did some research and read a few forums and for a while the only thing I could find was pool 2  (edit- I meant to say pool 4) on the Mississippi.  That's a long way to go from my town so I kept looking.  I finally found a spot that's only a little over an hour away.

My first trip out was 1/3/11.  I forgot my waders at home so I was hoping the water would be drawn down a little bit so there would be a bit of shoreline to walk.  When I arrived, no luck, water was high and the surface current looked pretty quick.  So I fished from the launch and managed to land a couple decent smallies.  The first smallies I've caught that are worth mentioning, in fact, seeing as how I've only typically fished waters containing only largemouth, or very minimal amounts of smallmouth.

My second trip was 2/11/11.  I remembered to grab my waders and grabbed my muck boots, just in case.  It's a good thing I did because when I tried to put my waders on, I found that my socks and thermals were too thick and I couldn't get my feet into them.  On with the muck boots and so with the fishing.  I had far better luck this time.

I walked upstream a little ways from the launch and threw upstream toward the main channel.  I started popping it slow, crawling along the bottom.  Rock.  Snaaaag!  Crap.  Walked back toward the launch site and manage to shake it free.  I bet that photographer that was camped out in the Dodge was having fun watching that.  Heh.

Back at it I go.  Except I'm noticing different texture than my first trip.  Mud bottom with a transition to a rocky-sandy-rubblish-whateveritwas.  That's where I was getting my hits.  Not in the eddies, but on that transition.  Pull it up, stop it, shake it and crawl it.  Bite.  Nice.

I had ten smallies in three hours, a mixed bag of runts and a few pretty nice ones. We won't talk about the missed fish or the ones that got off.  We'll chalk that up to "operator error", learn, and get better.

But all things come to a close and this was also my last open water -and bass- trip of the season.  You see, our season closes at the end of the month, but I'm fresh out of days off during the week and from what I've heard this spot can be a zoo during the weekend, and that just doesn't turn my crank.  So I'm solely on the ice now and looking forward to some new friends coming up from Missouri for some ice fishing over the seasons closing weekend.  That's always a good time.

Here are a couple photos from my recent open water winter excursions.




  1. Nice! I never got out to the locales I found in my research this winter, mainly because they are so far from the Cities. But am definitely thinking about it for next year. Although, I think I said that last year...