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Mike Frisch: Bass-fishing wishes for 2022

Alexandria area fishing guide Mike Frisch lays out his 2022 wish list for largemouth and smallmouth bass from spring to fall.

Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch lifts aboard a chunky largemouth bass that ate a big jig in heavy weeds.
Contributed photo
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ALEXANDRIA — Recently, I wrote a column describing my wishes for the coming walleye season. In trying to be an equal opportunity writer and angler, I thought it only appropriate to do the same for the coming bass season.

So here goes, my bass wishes for the coming season.

Shallow water spring power fishing

Lots of largemouth bass call the shallows home during the early part of the season all across the Midwest. Hungry, shallow fish are often roaming fish too and so presentations that allow anglers to quickly cover water to locate and catch fish are great.

Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch

Spinnerbaits and swim jigs are traditional favorites for me during the early season. Last year, however, another angler put on a fishing clinic in my boat while casting and retrieving a Thunder Cricket vibrating jig and Blade Minnow plastic combination.

This spring, I will add that bait to my spinnerbait and swim jig power fishing arsenal, though a weightless wacky-rigged stick worm is always on my deck during early spring too. When numbers of shallow fish are found in a small area, or anytime they are a bit reluctant to hit a “moving” bait, a wacky-rigged 5-inch Ocho soft stick is my go-to presentation for tempting reluctant biters or trying to get the most fish from a school to bite.

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Big jigs in the summer weeds

When spring gives way to summer, a good portion of the bass population in many lakes can be found relating to mid-depth weeds on main lake flats or on the drop-off edges of those flats. For me this is “big jig” time as I break out a 1/2- or even 3/4-ounce Hack Attack Fluoro Jig and bait it with a Rage Craw.

This combination can be cast to sparser cover on the outside edges of weeds, the traditional deep weedline as it is called. For me, the biggest fish are often found in the summer buried in dense weeds right up on the flats. When this happens, I make short pitches or “drops” in any pockets or holes in the weeds, quickly covering water until I get bit. Often, one bite leads to several more as these fish have a definite tendency to school in prime areas.

This particular fishing pattern really takes hold in my area of central Minnesota near Alexandria during the heat of July and into late summer, but it is one that produces fish in other Midwestern waters featuring heavy weed growth too.

READ MORE FISHING COVERAGE IN NORTHLAND OUTDOORS:
Show hours are noon to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.
Law enforcement and natural resources agencies such as the DNR all have issued numerous news releases urging people to put safety first on the ice. Unfortunately, you can't legislate common sense.
The ‘Keep It Clean’ campaign started at Lake of the Woods. More recently, Upper and Lower Red Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, Lake Vermilion and the Fairmont Chain of Lakes came on board.
Catch rates of channel catfish and walleyes were considerably higher than previous surveys.
All anglers have been safely evacuated from Upper Red Lake according to a 3:20 p.m. update from the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office.
One group of anglers on Blackduck Lake avoided a patch of ice when their chisel broke through the ice and revealed only about 2.5 inches in that location.
Nets pulled this fall show that an eight-year-long effort to restore lake sturgeon to the waters of Big Stone Lake and Upper Minnesota River watershed is producing results.
For many who fish through holes in the ice, there’s an anticipation for that first ice fishing excursion that surpasses – dare I say – the attraction of getting in a boat for the first time after a long winter.
The annual event at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center is the unofficial kickoff to ice fishing season.
The DNR conducts the fall population survey over 17 days, beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day, setting 64 nets at sites across the Minnesota side of the lake from the south shore to the Northwest Angle.

Kabetogama fall smallmouth

The biggest smallmouth bass of my life ate a soft jerkbait fished on a drop-shot rig on my very first cast on Kabetogama Lake in northern Minnesota several falls ago. Two fishing partners and I had absolute tremendous fishing action casting to rock reefs that day. These fish were plentiful, big, and hungry!

Since then, I have tried to get back up to Kabetogama during subsequent falls but, for various reasons, have yet to make it. This year, I already have some days set aside on my calendar for that return trip.

I can’t wait to stretch the string on some more big Kab smallies, though I’ll have a couple jigging rods and some big minnows in the boat as well. Kabetogama is a world class walleye fishery too and I won’t be able to resist the urge to try to put a couple big fall ‘eyes in the boat.

Here’s hoping you are making some fishing plans for your coming season too! As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure.

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Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit  www.fishingthemidwest.com for more “fishy” stuff.

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