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Learn to fish the weeds for greater success

Summer fishing success can happen for you if you learn how to fish in the weeds. Some fish are always relating to weeds. Weed beds provide shade, cooler water, and higher oxygen levels. Weeds also provide a hiding place for baitfish and fish. Because of this, weeds will draw predator fish into them to take advantage of easy feeding.

It will be helpful to learn a few of the basic weeds that grow in our area lakes, as you will start to notice a pattern as to what kind of fish are attracted to certain types of weeds. I will mention five that can be very important to your fishing. I will neglect talking about bulrush, lily pad, and cattails as everyone knows about them and the fish attracting nature they have. They are emergent weeds and easily identified. I will discuss the submerged weed types that will be helpful to learn to identify.

We have a couple of types of cabbage weeds that grow in our lakes. One is referred to as the broadleaf cabbage. This type of cabbage always reminds me of corn stalks growing in the lake. The leaves are about 7 inches long and about an inch and a half wide. They can be seen from the surface, as they grow very tall. The inside edge of the broadleaf cabbage will be at about 8-9ft of water with the outside edge growing as deep as 14ft. The other type of cabbage weed is the curly leaf pondweed. This cabbage, to me, always looks like sick broadleaf. The leaves are wavy, coarse, and about 5 inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. They will usually only grow to about the 10ft water depth with the inside edge being as shallow as 7ft. The cabbage weeds are a favorite at one time or another for all fish in our area. Try fishing the inside edge, outside edge, and right in the cabbage to contact fish.

Coontail is thick and stringy. It can be very long and looks like a raccoons tail. Hence the cleaver name. To me, it looks like, and always reminds me of the way pine needles grow around a branch. It will grow as deep as 30ft, but is usually found growing outside the cabbage weed in 14-20ft. If you find this weed on a sharp break next to deeper water with cabbage close by, you have a fish holding, winning location. Fish the outside edge closest to the deep water, or over the top of the weed to contact fish.

Sandgrass is a favorite weed of mine to locate because it is used by baitfish for cover. When you find baitfish, gamefish will not be to far away. Sandgrass grows on hard bottom areas and blankets the bottom few inches. It is course and can be very thick as a blanket covering on the bottom. It sometimes smells bad and is called "skunkweed" at times. The official name is Chara. It also can grow as deep as 30ft. Locations on a flat in 5-12ft water are gem locations for holding fish. If you find this weed holding at the bottom of a sharp break you have also found a good fish holding location.

Milfoil grows as deep as 30ft. These plants are rooted and can be tough to get out of at times. The tiny leaves grow around the stem and are shaped live veins on a feather. It has long been known that bass and northern pike love to use the milfoil weeds.

Get out fishing and get your kids out fishing. Teaching them about lake weed may keep them away from the other kind of weed that can cause real problems.

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