Well, I couldn’t bring myself to winterize the boat, because the weather was too nice to pass up another fishing opportunity.
This weekend will be the last trip, I’m sure, before I have to winterize the engine and wrap up the boat for the winter season. It will probably be a trip to the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., for a shot at a whole variety of fish.
As the cold water time arrives, fish in the rivers begin to congregate in the slack water areas along the river and at the wing dams. Working the slack water could produce a nice walleye, northern pike, largemouth or smallmouth bass. They all will be sitting in the slack water looking for food to pass downstream right in front of them.
Bait choice will be important for a successful trip, and I plan on using just one bait for all these species – a 3 ½” tube bait on a jig head with an exposed hook (I make my own, but Tourney Jigs makes one with a longer shank and a strong enough hook for northerns). This size bait has a profile slim enough to work when jigging for walleyes, but large enough to attract the attention of a hungry smallmouth or northern.
I have a medium-action spinning rod rigged with 8-pound fluorocarbon line, a 50-pound ball-bearing swivel. Because we do not know if the bite is going to be a two-pound walleye or a 20-pound northern, we’ll tie on a two-foot leader of 60-pound fluorocarbon.
I plan on working the tail waters of the pools for the smallmouths, casting and dragging baits along the bottom, cast the shoreline for the “toothy critters” and vertically jig the protected pools for the walleyes – not a bad day’s work for one lure.
As the season gets shorter, fishing reports from around the area get harder to come by as fewer fishermen are out there.
The Evanston launch ramp is closed for the season, and Lovelace Park’s fishing program has ended, but there are reports of a few walleyes still being caught at the Skokie Lagoons, and perch are finally being reported at Navy Pier.
Christmas shopping ideas for the fishermen in the family are coming soon. Until next time, keep a tight line.
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