In search of fishing hot spots

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 20, 2002

This past weekend I spent some time fishing Tetonka Lake with some friends. We fished until late morning on Saturday and had mixed luck. Although we didn’t catch what you could call any large fish, we did manage to catch quite a variety: a few smaller walleye, some smallmouth bass a nice striped (white) bass and a small northern. On Friday evening another camper got into a mess of real nice crappie (3/4 to a pound).

All of the fish caught this weekend were caught in 14 feet or less, right along the weed lines or on drop-offs going into deeper water.

A jig and a twister seem to always work well when casting. Look for some surface activity along the shoreline or on points; this is a good place to cast and once you get into a school of feeding stripers be prepared to have some fun and, when fixed right, they can make a very tasty meal.

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Another thing to look for is an opening or clear area in the middle or on the backside of some heavy weeds or cover. This is the type of spot that can really be holding fish this time of the year.

Quite a few years ago when our kids were small we went to Big Sand Lake, north of Deer River on the Bowstring Chain, with some friends of ours, Ken and Georgette, and their kids. Fishing was pretty good but the walleyes were a little spotty. We would pick up one here and two there but no large amounts of them in one area. The northern fishing was very good that week and we caught some real nice ones. We had enough fish to eat and some to take home.

Ken caught the largest northern he has ever caught that week and had him mounted. He still has it hanging on the wall in his four-season porch.

On Wednesday, Ken and I went out in the middle of the afternoon to try find some walleye.

While cruising along the shoreline we spotted a buoy and decided to check out the area. After fishing for a while and not having much luck we decided to move on. As we went further down the lake and came to an area of cabbage and skunkweed. We decided to try drifting from deep water to the shallow area, which ran quite a ways out from shore. We used Little Joe spinners with split shot placed just above the leader and we tipped it with a fathead minnow.

As we drifted in the weedy area we came across an open area and, as soon as our Little Joe spinners cleared the weed edge, we both had fish on the line. Each of us boated a nice eating-size walleye about 1 3/4 to 2 lbs.

We went to one split shot to keep the bait just above the weeds and as soon as the bait would clear the weed edge we would get a strike.

Once we drifted past the open area I would back troll through it and out to deeper water. That too produced some strikes but not as many as drifting.

We caught nine nice keepers that afternoon and knew where to fish the rest of the week. That spot didn’t produce as many fish at one time the next times we tried it but it did give up some more each time we went there.

When the fishing died down we headed for the resort to clean the fish and eat supper. As we approached the dock we could hear some screaming. After we tied up we asked what that was all about. My wife laughed and said, when Georgette cast her lure out she started screaming and reeling real fast yelling, &uot;This big fish is trying to get my lure!&uot; It seems this big northern had taken a sudden interest in her lure and the faster she reeled the faster he went after it. Funny how that works.

I guess not everyone was born to fish.

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Here are some fishing reports from around the state:

– Mille Lacs Lake Area – The fishing was still good last week even though there were some bad weather days. It did slow up the fishing right after the rains but then it would pick back up again. The mud flats have been doing well and just off of the edges have been the best. For slot size fish, try on top of the flat in 22 to 25ft.

– Leech Lake Area – Muskies are providing anglers with the hottest action in the summer heat on Leech Lake this week. Cabbage Weed Beds are holding most of the active fish with good reports coming from Portage Bay and Walker Bay. Bionic Bucktails and TopRaiders are the two hottest baits this past week including some upper 40″ fish released.

– Kabetogama Area – Walleye fishing is looking better, the mayfly hatch is ended. Anglers reported that the walleyes they caught were full of mayfly larvae. The only consistent bait was nightcrawlers. The best success was a long snell and an inflated crawler, slow presentation. Leeches with a floater working nearly as well. Best depth 26-30.’

– Alexandria Area – The fun and folly of the fourth has long passed, and this past week brought a mix of weather, ending in the fairest weekend of the season. Last Wednesday’s new moon ushered in some thunderstorms that dropped 3-6 inches of rain in the lakes area. As a result, many lake levels have risen noticeably, and the wind and rain runoff has stirred up the clarity, making many waters more turbid. Anglers will need to adjust to these conditions to find success.

– Lake Winnibigoshish Area – Still a good bite going even with the mayfly larva still around. Best bars are the humps, Moses bar, Center bar & Little Muskie. Fish 17′ to 20′ with a Roach rig out to 50″ and tip with a crawler or a leech. Move a lot from bar to bar is the trick for now. When you find the walleye stay on top of them.

– Bemidji Area – The fishing in the Bemidji area continues to be boom orb ust, and the booms are fading out. Fish are still being caught but in rather low numbers. Evening continues to be your best chance to put some eyes in the boat. Lakes like Bemidji, Turtle, Turtle River, and Julia continue to be some of the better producers around the area.

– Cass Lake Area – With the water temps finally reaching into the mid 70s the jumbo perch and walleye action has really heated up. The bars north of Cedar Island and east of Star Island have been producing best. Most of the fish are coming out of 15-20 feet.

Good Luck and Good Fishin.’