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Well, I am a long way from my usual fishing haunts, about 625 miles away. I am enjoying an extended vacation in Minnesota’s beautiful Northwoods, just a stone’s throw from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The fishing here is really quite exceptional, so I’m having a great time doing what I enjoy: relaxing.

Minnesota lakes, like the lakes and rivers in the Chicago area, has been affected by the spring and summer’s unusual weather patterns. The ice up here melted nearly a month earlier than usual, before another snow storm chilled the water again. This threw the spawning cycles off, with some species spawning earlier than expected and others later. Bottom line, I had to spend a few days figuring out the patterns for the different species in a 12,000-acre lake with 210 miles of shoreline and 365 islands. It was a challenging task, but well worth it.

I am finding under the piers largemouth bass that are hitting on plastic worms.

The smallmouth bass are just off-shore in 15 feet of water and are suckers for a leech suspended under a float. (They are so easy to catch it should be illegal). Bluegill have been in the weed beds and we are catching them with small worms (just like at Lovelace Park). Crappies, to our surprise, are also in the weeds, which is unusual because they are normally found in deeper water (20-25 feet). Northern pike are nearly everywhere and we have had success with white spinnerbaits at about two feet under the surface. The only fish I have not been able to successfully track are the walleyes. This may be a trip where I fail to catch any walleye and that would be okay.

Of all the fish we are catching, the largemouth bass have provided the most excitement. I spend the mornings working down the lake, pitching a plastic worm (rigged “wacky” style) underneath each dock and find one or two really nice 3-4 pound bass under nearly every pier. It makes for a great start to the day.

Well, time to head out and catch some bluegills and crappie for dinner. Until next time, keep a tight line.