In the dead of winter it is hard to picture yourself standing in open water casting a full length fishing pole. This was exactly the case last week when I strapped on a pair of waders and freshly spooled my favorite spinning reel. Smallmouth Bass were the target, and the river was the location. For some, this has been a secret for years. For others, you may have never heard of such a thing. Regardless, it is an adventure you must try.
There is no secret that Minnesota's rivers are plump full of battling bronzebacks, but when, where and how, have left many people scratching their heads. Let me just sum it all up by saying that as long as there is a legal fishing season open, there are bass to be caught. It's simply that easy! The only catch to this easy equation? You must be able to fish where the bass are.
This time of the year, much of the river can be frozen. Find open water, and you've found a place to start. We opted for the stretch of the Mississippi river near St. Cloud. There is a warm water discharge that keeps things flowing year round. This particular area is shallow, and waders will get you where you need to go. A simple jig and minnow will do the trick, but you can mix it up and still have success. Each day is different, and the fish can move locations in a hurry. The beauty is, that you can move right with them.
Like all river fish, you must play the current. Holes in the river channel or bends are a good place to start. If that doesn't work, just keep walking to the next one. You can cover a lot of territory in a hurry, and once you find one, you have likely found a ton. They school together thick this time of year, which is almost unfair to them. My only other piece of advice, is to be respectful of the fish. Once you find out how easy this can be, it is imperative that you practice good catch and release. Oh you'll have fun, and you might just catch some bonus fish in the process. Walleyes are fond of the same areas! And did I mention the scenery is incredible. I snapped some photo's that give me goosebumps. Let this idea spice up your winter months, but hurry, the season ends in a couple of days. Until Next time, Keep on Livin' the Dream!