Fish biologists are suggesting that as our climate continues to get warmer we are going to see a reduction in walleye, perch, northern pike and muskies in the northern parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  All these species depend on colder water and a good healthy forage base of Tullibee. Tullibee also need cold water to survive and warming waters will mean fewer Tullibee in our changing climate.

Bass fishing with Ray Gildow Northern Waters
Bass fishing with Ray Gildow

Scientists also suggest that as these fish are reduced through climate change we are going to see an increase in pan fish and bass. We are already seeing significant growth of smallmouth bass on two of our biggest Minnesota walleye lakes; Leech Lake and Mille Lacs. Is this happening because of warming water or some other factors? I don’t really know, but I think as anglers we all need to recognize that change is coming and we need to adapt to these changes.

So, for all the hard-core anglers who love to fish walleye all year long how about starting to target bass to catch for fun and yes, to eat? I know I am going to get some die hard bass anglers upset by suggesting that we actually keep a few for lunch but we are blessed in the north county to have excellent bass fishing and our cold water bass taste great. And, just when the walleye bite really slows down in midsummer, the best bass fishing is just beginning!

Frankly, I have never kept a smallmouth bass to eat. I have always released them to grow bigger for another day but I do enjoy a tasty meal of 12-15 inch largemouth. I think that is the perfect size to eat. I prefer to let the larger bass go and fight another day. I have had many people tell me they love walleye to eat but just don’t care for the taste of bass. I have fooled more than one customer by cooking bass and walleye together in batter and serving them without anyone knowing the difference until they were told. Yes, cold water bass is delicious!

So if you are not a bass angler but would like to target this fish this summer here are a few simple tips:

  1. Fish weed lines with a bobber and a leech or night crawler. Minnows work well too. Just fish about 4-6 feet deep, you will find some bass.
  2. Cast plastic frogs, worms and spinnerbaits over the tops of emerging weeds.
  3. Throw small plastic crank baits along weed lines or just over the tops of the weeds.
  4. Fish with leeches or night crawlers underneath docks. You will be amazed at the size of some of the bass hiding there.

If you try some of these techniques, you will catch bass and eventually you will come up with a plan that you like best for bass fishing.

So when that walleye bite starts getting really tough in midsummer—why not go bass fishing?  You won’t be disappointed!!!    By:  Ray Gildow