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The makings of a good fishing season

The Midwest offers lots of fishing opportunities. Take advantage of those opportunities in the next months.

Another open water fishing season has just started across the Midwest. So far, I've seen lots of people fishing. When the weather is nice, the banks of popular fishing areas are lined with anglers, and the boat ramps have been busy also. Best of all, fishing success has been good. I've received reports of crappies showing up in places where they haven't been before, and the walleyes have been very willing biters. Those are good signs: We've got the makings of a very good fishing season.

Quite a few folks are telling me they plan on fishing more this year than in years past. Some of them have more time available this year, gas prices are lower than they were last year, and a lot of people just want to get more involved in fishing. Fishing is a sport that can be whatever you want it to be. You can go by yourself for solitude, or you can go with a couple of other people and enjoy the camaraderie.

Fishing can also be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Some anglers like to sit on the riverbank and wait for their bobber to go down, others like to have a boat full of sonar and GPS and rods and reels and whatever else. If you're enjoying your fishing, then you're doing it the right way.

If you plan to go fishing more often this year, promise yourself that you'll experiment more. Try different lure presentations, and chase different species of fish. Lots of anglers always go after the same specie of fish employing the same type of fishing. And, if that's what you enjoy, that's what you should do. The number goal of going fishing is to have fun.

But I'll bet you have more fun if you try something different. Many Midwest anglers like to chase walleyes, and for good reason. We have some bodies of water that are outstanding walleye producers, and walleyes are great on the table.

But we also have some fantastic largemouth bass opportunities that are often overlooked. Just once this year, once the water has warmed up a bit, give the walleyes a break and chase some bass. Get on a good bass lake and try to catch some of its residents. If it's early in the season try a shallow water tactic. After about the end of June try a Power Worm rigged on a Slurp! Jig on the weedline. I'll bet that if you try this once on the right lake at the right time, you'll try it again. Especially if you have a youngster with you. Youngsters usually don't care what kind of fish they catch, they just like to catch fish. Lots of us anglers who have experienced a lot of fishing seasons feel the same way.

We have a lot of fishing to look forward to in the next few months. Don't wait to go fishing when you have the time, make the time. As far as we know, we only go around once, so why not grab as much gusto as you can? Make this the fishing season that you grab lots of gusto.

(Watch all the 2009 episodes of Fishing the Midwest television on in the video section and on