Experts predict 'fabulous' bass openerProspects for this Saturday’s bass opener are brightening.
By: By Megan Lusty, Staff Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Prospects for this Saturday’s bass opener are brightening.
Local fishing experts Brett McComas of Christopherson’s Bait in Alexandria and Paul Reiland of Knotty Pine Bait & Gas in Brandon agree that this year’s opener should be an exceptional one.
“It should be a fabulous bass opener for the people,” Reiland said enthusiastically.
McComas agreed that it should be quite an unusual bass opener. “We’re about two weeks behind schedule in terms of water temperatures,” he said.
With all of the bass that anglers have accidentally been catching while crappie fishing, McComas and Reiland predict that they will be found primarily in shallow waters.
Reiland suggests staying on smaller lakes, as the bass haven’t really started biting on the bigger lakes yet.
In the pencil weeds and cattails, in two to four feet of water are other good places to look for bass. A crankbait on the weedline in eight to 10 feet of water should also yield good results. Fishing the cabbage weeds and hard bottom areas with a tube or jig is another good idea.
Other baits to try for bass when heading out onto the lakes this weekend include Texas rigs, minnows, twister tails and smaller plastics.
“They [bass] aren’t aggressive enough yet for hard baits, like spinnerbaits,” Reiland said.
A good technique that McComas recommended for catching bass is site fishing – trolling in the shallows looking for cruising bass. Reiland also said that slowly presenting the bait will help people land one in the boat.
While anglers from all over will flock to the lakes this weekend to try their hand at bass fishing, other fish will still be biting.
“The walleye are biting OK,” McComas said. “They’ve slowed down a little bit but they’re still doing OK.”
Like the bass, walleye have been biting in shallower waters at depths of eight to 14 feet.
According to Reiland, “The night bite is real good right now, up to six feet of water.” He also said that the walleyes have been biting on lake shiners, fatheads (in certain lakes) and plain Lindy rigs in shallow water.
McComas would also recommend a 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jig with a fathead or shiner. Short casts and then working the line back to the boat works well with that kind of bait.
Northerns have been found in the same areas as walleyes. Crankbaits on the weedline or a jig and a minnow seem to work well.
Fishing for panfish hasn’t been completely bad either, although not the best.
“Crappie fishing has been really hit and miss,” McComas said. “We had a cold front move through that pushed them out a little deeper to five to seven feet of water.”
Small jigs with a crappie minnow have been a good bet when it comes to baiting crappies. Another important factor is to find a bay with water temperatures in the lower 50s with pencil reeds and cattails. “The key is to find the warmest water,” McComas said.
There aren’t many differences in trying to nab a crappie or a sunfish.
Reiland said that the sunfish have been biting really well lately on waxworms. Flu-flus, plastic crickets and jigs have also been working well.
Overall, the upcoming weekend should have some good things in store for all kinds of anglers.