One of the best fishing spots in the whole world is Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota. The weekend opener for smallmouth bass season was very fortunate with the weather: There was only one day with a little shower activity, and the rest of the time temperatures during the day were in the low 70s and in evenings in the temperatures were in the upper 40s – really great for fishing.

The weather is important because it has a major impact on the fishing. The Lake Vermilion area had been experiencing an abnormal number of days with east winds and low barometric readings that pushed the traditional fishing patterns off by 3-4 weeks.

Normally by this time of year – just after Memorial Day – the walleye population has started moving into the weed edges, northern pike are cruising through the thick weeds looking for newly hatched perch, bluegills and crappie are ending their spawn in the shallows and starting to head to safer, deeper water, and the smallmouth bass have completed their spawn cycle and big females are hanging around the shallows looking for food to fatten themselves up.

This year, because of the weather change and the duration of those changes, there was no weed growth as yet, smallmouth had not even started making spawn sites and all the bluegills and crappies that we caught were still full of eggs.

Fishermen who had driven 600 miles hadn’t done so not to catch fish, so they adapted to the change. Until the last couple of days, the northern pike were very hard to come by but the smallmouth were cooperating – once bait and patterns were figured out. Most of the catch consisted of small males between 2 and 3 pounds on tube baits. They were fun and there were lots of them. They moved in schools of four and five so the action was really good when the spots were found.

It was interesting to come back to Lake Michigan and find the same thing here – fishing patterns on most of the local lakes are three to four weeks off.

More on that next time. Until then … keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.