Fishing for smallmouth bass on light tackle is fun

Published 4:28 pm Saturday, July 6, 2013

Column: Woods & Water, by Dick Herfindahl

Last week, I had a chance to head north to the cabin with Mark Runden to do a little serious fishing. The weather was pretty good with the exception of a little heat and rain early on. Enjoying time in the North Woods is always a good time, and this was no exception.

Clear lakes, sunny weather and hot temperatures do not always make for the best fishing. Though we caught fish, the first part of the week wasn’t as good as I was hoping. Catching fish is always the ultimate goal when venturing out on a lake, but just enjoying the beauty of the area is sometimes the real reward. Although you can’t put beauty in a frying pan, the sights and smells of nature can sometimes be enough. During the week, we saw plenty of wildlife and also caught a few fish.

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I have never been an avid bass fisherman, but I enjoy catching them whenever the opportunity arises. Such an opportunity came on Wednesday night when we visited Mark and Sherry Anderson at their cabin east of Marcell on a little lake by the name of Three Island Lake. This lake has no access except for a walk-in, which is a long portage from the road to the lake. We put our poles on Mark’s pontoon boat and headed out on the lake which is teaming with smallmouth bass. This is an exceptionally clear lake, which to me just said to fish when I first laid eyes on it.

I truly have to say, there is probably nothing more fun than catching smallmouth bass on an ultra-light. We fished for a little over two hours and caught about 30 fish in that time. Mark said this was actually slow fishing compared to other times. Slow to him was great fishing. It was great for me, because I had forgotten just how much fun smallies were to catch. When I first started going to Spider Lake, we would catch a lot of them, but in recent years, they seemed to be harder to come by. Whenever we fished walleyes, you could tell when you had a smallie on, because the end of your line would be straight out and headed to the surface like a rocket. These fish love to jump out of the water when hooked, which makes for an awesome fishing experience, especially when using light tackle.

This was a lot of fun, and I really appreciated Mark and Sherry’s hospitality, and how they shared their lake with us for an evening.

After that awesome fishing experience, I decided that we would try a little different approach on our last day of fishing. I have always said that you have to be flexible and willing to try different tactics when it comes to fishing. I decided that we’d try a lake that I hadn’t fished yet this year and fish it a little different than usual, which is mostly trolling.

The weather was cool and pleasant, but a little windier than I’d have liked. The wind was blowing straight down the lake, so I thought we’d try drifting the shoreline on the windward side of the lake using ultra-lights and casting a jig and twister towards the shore as I controlled the drift with the motor. We found an open area with a sand bottom that produced some nice sunnies.

After working that area for a while, I decided to drift farther down the lake which produced some bass and northern and a few more sunnies. We managed to boat enough fish for a nice fish supper to top off our last night at the cabin. There’s just nothing better than a meal of fish fresh from the lake and what better way to end the week.


Now is the time to take a hunter safety course

With the fall hunting seasons just around the corner, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges hunters to sign up now for a hunter education class.

“Though classes are held throughout the year, their numbers peak in the summer and early fall,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator. “So now is the time to sign up and complete a course, because once the hunting season gets rolling, it might be too late.”

Besides ensuring the ability to hunt this year, taking the class sooner rather than later means more time for scouting hunting locations, sighting-in rifles, practicing shotgun skills and securing permission to hunt on private lands.

Minnesota hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must take a DNR hunter education firearms safety training course and receive a certificate of completion before buying a license for big or small game.

Classes are taught by DNR certified volunteers in their local communities. Students, depending on their age, have a few options to become certified. Regardless of which option they choose, the course provides them with basic safe firearms handling skills, wildlife identification, outdoor skills and responsibility that accompanies hunting and firearms use.

Classes fill up fast. Find a class and sign up today or call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

Until next time, take a little time to relax and enjoy a little fishing. Watch a bobber as it bounces lazily in the breeze; it’s just a great way to experience the outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.


Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.