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Max-in-Mn

Where are bass in these types of lakes?

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First let me tell you I live in Minnesota. And as you know, most bass tips and articles aren't written with northern lakes in mind. For example, I have never caught a bass in water more than 6 feet here, and they are always isolated bass. On a good day I'll catch 2-3 3lb+ bass, either under dock's or in slop. But these fish are so scattered and isolated that it may take 5-6 hours to catch one. I need to find those schooled up bass! Now, the lakes I fish are usually no more than 20-30ft deep max, and consist of mostly mud/clay bottoms. They are usually visible to about 3ft down but some have algae in the hot summer months. The lakes breakdown basically of 2 or 3 shallower mud bottomed bays and than a main lake area. The main area has scattered patches of coontail and milfoil on the flats and a few islands of bullrushes that drop off on both sides. The areas near and under the bullrushes are hard bottomed with sand and rocks. There is also a large ridge in the middle of the lake that runs straight across, its 5ft deep on top and 15 feet on the edges of that ridge. I usually catch walleyes on these ridges, no bass though. So with that in mind, I could use some advice on where bass might hang out in these types of lakes. And my biggest question is what to throw and when, cause like I said, bangin' a crank off rocks or stumps, flippin' in timber, etc, etc, doesn't really apply to these waters.

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If you got one area with depth and hard bottom I would start there. Isolated patches of grass would be my next stop. Flip them with a tube, swimming jig, or a grass jig. This lake kinda sounds like a rattletrap lake or a spinnerbait lake. It kinds sounds like the fish suspend alot because of the muck bottom. A jerkbait might be another option. Also nobody said that you need to bounce a crankbait off the bottom to catch fish. 90% of the bass I catch are when to bait never touches the bottom. In dirty water 90% of the time I let my bait ram something because it helps them locate the bait in clear water its not as important. If you say there is 3 ft vis than the bass can see 6ft so I would target that depth. Right now the fish should be schooling but you say that your finding that the fish is scattered. My guess is that you need to cover water and when you stick a good fish stop and really work the area.

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Hey thanks chris. I just have a few questions about that hard bottomed area, mainly, how to fish it? Like I said, it's a bullrush island that is 6ft deep on top and drops to 12 feet on all sides. All sides have submerged cabbage that follows the slope down to the depths. I've tried in the actual bullrushes with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits but only caught small pike. Jerkbaits on the edge of the rushes and above the submerged cabbage have only produced small pike as well, so the bass must be deep. I'm guessing they hang along the drop or maybe at the bottom of it, I just don't know how to get to them. Any more advice on that would surely help me, thanks.

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Well, since I cant look at the lake I may not be able to give you very accurate advice, but Ill try.  Im only going to give you tips on summer fishing on that lake because this will be long enough, and when you find those fish you might be able to track them through their seasons.First pattern:  Docks.  I love docks, and I think some of the biggest and best limits can be caught from docks.  Look for docks that are close to the water and do not tower over the water.  You want a dock that can make a good shadow.  Also wood is better than metal.  Wood grows algae and algae attracts baitfish.  Look for docks that are in deep water!!!!  It is very important to find docks that are in the deepest water or near deep water.  This patter really works best on sunny summer days.  Use a spinning outfit with light line on it and skip a small gitzit underneath it.  Early in the morning pitch jigs and small spinnerbaits to them.  Small baits are great up north in the summer.  Think about it, all the baby fish that just hatched are 1-2" long, try to match the hatch.  Pattern 2:  sunny days:  One really sunny days with low wind look for the deepest water possible.  Try to fish the outside edges of weeds.  That cabbage is perfect!  Fish it with a drop-shot rig with a worm that's color matches the color of the bottom of the lake, which is probably green-pumpkin, or just the best color for the lake.  You should also try bouncing some worms along that edge.  Try a ribbontail worm, then switch to a straight if there are no takers.  You can also try throwing a stick bait of some kind, like a senko.  Like the dock pattern this pattern is a deep water pattern so look for the deepest water relative to the rest of the lake.  Pattern 3:  Feeding flats:  Find flats near deep water.  Fish flats in low light conditions like dusk and dawn and rainy days.  It is very very important to find flats that are close to where the bass stay on sunny days.  Bass will move up onto these flats and feed when the light is low.  Try spinnerbaits in vegetation. Stickbaits.  Also, my favorite:  A salt and pepper gitzit tube on a 1/16 oz internal jig head.  fan cast on the flat.  

Like I said these are just a few pointers.  My time is limited but I hope I helped.  Write and tell me how you did.  

Also, though chris gave some good advice I do not fully agree with his take on how to fish a crankbait.  People dont bang crankbaits into stuff so bass can find it better, it is to make the bait jump and create and erratic motion that simulates an injured or fleeing baitfish.  It creats a reaction strike with bass.  It is most important when fishing clear water most of the time.  So grinding cranks on the bottom is a good thing and should not be discarded as a low visibility technique.  

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Thanks alot basswest, that advice about the flats is the ticket I'm thinking. They are just so vast I never knew where to look, but now the wheels are turning. Never thought about matching the hatch like that either, good stuff! You guys helped alot so I will definitely give you a report.

  I never really tried fishing deep with cranks on this lake, so any tips on fishing around those drops will help. Like, do I position on the shallow part and cast deep, or vice versa, etc,? And since it's so weedy on the drops should I maybe focus on ripping through weeds instead of bottom bouncing as my triggering effect, or stop and go, etc? Alright sorry, that's alot of questions, but this will be it :)

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On that spot you talking about the fish should be suspended out in the 12 ft water. They might be hanging at 6 ft deep but it will be 6ft down in 12ft of water. I have a place that I fish that has a ton of musky in it. You can pitch a jig in the shallows and catch some fish but you will loose more jigs on musky than catch bass. The bass in this lake have become open water fish. They don't spend to much time in the shallows. This lake is also covered in weeds both deep and shallow. All of the bass tournaments on this lake for the past 3 years have been won fishing the suspended fish. You would think that you could hammer them flipping or fishing the shallow cover but this lake doesn't fish that way. Your lake might be the same. They might not be in the cover but around it. He is what I do On places that dump off like a flat that dumps off to 8ft or so I position my boat so that I can fish the edge. I want my bait to run the whole time in that 8ft depth parallel to the depth change. I might move out some to figure out what depth they are hanging at then concentrate on that depth. If you position you boat way out in the deep water and cast to the edge you may not hit the area that the fish are hanging and you are pulling your bait away from the fish. Break the areas down into zones. 5ft zone then 8 ft and so on fish the zone then change around until you figure them out. Watch your graph and figure out what zone the bait is hanging at then use that as a starting point. Now find cover or structure that are at that depth thats holding fish and bait. If they are suspended in open water then you can count down a jig then swim it at that depth or do the same thing with a spinnerbait and hit them. You crank for them figure out which bait can hit that depth and how far of a cast it takes to reach that depth. You can fish them with a tube or jigging spoon. You can count down a rattletrap and yes ripping a trap in the weeds works great.

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Hey chris, I have that same problem on this lake with northerns, they eat anything, anytime.This makes it hard to use some of the conventional techniques.  And your right that alot of cover "Should" hold fish but due to the pikes there just not there. I also agree that they have become open water fish. I just never knew where to look. I'm gonna go up next weekend and I'm gonna hammer them. I can bet right now I will find those fish. So thanks again guys, I super appreciate it.

P.S. Any size to those muskies you catch? Musky fishing is my second love hehe.

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I was fishing a tournament on this lake and found a hump sitting in 12 ft of water. I was cranking the hump and something smacked my lure and the fight was on. It was a slow day and this fish had to be a toad and I knew when I got it in I would win the tournament. When I got it in I found out that I had caught a 52 inch musky. At the end of the tournament they asked me if I had anything to weigh in and I said no unless this is a musky tournament :-/. The guy that won had a 4lb bass and he said that he threw his bait out in the middle and was picking a backlash. He said he looked up to see his fish jumping out in the middle and his line was taking off. I guess he was using a plastic worm.

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That's awesome! I've only seen 50 inch fish, never got one in the boat. But had that been a musky tourny, well, I think you would have taken the cake :)

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