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Make changes to keep bringing fish into the boat

What beautiful weather we had this last week. It was the kind of weather that reminds us why we live in northwest Minnesota. We had some wind days to contend with on the water, but that just helps us improve our boat handling skills.

This past week was all about on water adjustments to keep fish coming to the boat. Some days, or parts of the day the jig and minnow ruled and at other times the fished liked minnows on the live bait rigs.

Depth changes were also the name of the game this last week as well. The fish were shallow one day and deep the next, even on the same body of water. It is not uncommon for lakes in our area to have a big difference in what is working and how deep.

When live bait rigging, changes that need to be considered will include: moving on and off the break edges from shallow to deep water and from deep water back to shallow (pay attention to what depth you get the bites), vary trolling speed, try different leader lengths, color bead attractants, colored hooks, and different minnow types and sizes. With jigs you will need to pay attention to jig color and size, minnow type and size, jigging action such as lift and drop, twitching, dragging or popping the jig.

I had several days in a row that the fish keyed in on different minnow sizes and jig colors, or rigging with a long leader one day and a short leader the next time out. It helps if you have another person or two in the boat to vary what you are doing. If a pattern develops for getting the bites, than everyone can switch to what is working. If the bite quits for everyone, start changing again and see if that doesn't get a response from the fish. Sometimes even something as simple as changing a jig color can make all the difference in getting fish to become active again.

Some days on the water everything comes together and you have the kind of day that makes you get out and keep trying to repeat. Some days things don't come together, but you will learn as much from lack of success as you will from having it all come easy to you.

Figuring this fishing game out is a huge part of the fun for me. Most of the public docks are still out and getting into your favorite lake is easy with all the high water. I am predicting four to five more weeks of open water fishing, so get out and enjoy it while you still can. Remember, fishing is always fun, but catching is even more fun. You have to get out and try because you can't catch them from your couch.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)

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