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I can’t speak for the air temperature, but the fishing is getting hot! With the rain finally letting up, the rivers are starting to drop down to reasonable levels and the water clarity has greatly improved. Reports from all along the Mississippi River are that a lot of the launch ramps are beginning to open again and the fish are biting. The walleyes have been very active with dinner-size walleyes available on most trips along with some nice largemouth bass. Pool 8 in La Crosse, Wis., has been a great choice for multi-species catches.

Locally, Busse Woods has been the real hot spot with reports of four- and five-pound bass coming off surface baits, and frog bait has been a really great choice for a lot of fun.

There have been a few nice northern pike also being reported from Busse Woods. Across the border, Lake Geneva is living up to its reputation as a terrific spot for largemouth bass and big smallmouth bass. The best bites have been coming in 16 to 20 feet of water on Ned rigs.

Ned rigs have been around for a few years but are now becoming a required part of any serious angler’s repertoire, and it is the easiest rig to set up and fish. The Ned rig is a true finesse rig, made up of a small (1/8 to 3/16 ounce) mushroom head jig with a 2¾ inch plastic worm or craw threaded on with an exposed hook. Most anglers use a TRD bait by Z-Man Lures because it is buoyant and stands up on the bottom. You fish it with light line (4 to 8 pounds) test on spinning gear with a medium action rod. To fish this correctly all you do is cast the bait out, allow it to sink to the bottom then begin slowly cranking it back.  I will admit this doesn’t look like a big fish bait, but it will catch big bass, and the occasional walleye or northern pike. Give it try next time you’re out you’ll be surprised how effective it can be.

Until next time…keep a tight line.