Live bait is still one of the most important ingredients to many successful fishing presentations. Whether you are pitching jigs tipped with minnows, spinner rigging walleyes with crawlers, or slip bobber fishing with leeches, live bait tactics produce season long for a variety of fish. The Bottom line: Fish use scent and taste to find food. Also, because fish are often neutral or inactive, having live bait with you in the boat can be the difference between a great day and a bad day. Depending on the season and the fish you are trying to catch, there are all sorts of great live bait options.
Live bait fishing is a tried and true method for catching a variety of fish species. In this article, we will explore different techniques and tips for successful live bait fishing. From targeting crappies and walleyes to bass and pike, there’s something for every angler. So grab your gear and get ready to master the art of live bait fishing!
Fishing on Leech Lake
Leech Lake is known for its great fishing opportunities, and this time of year is no exception. The warmer days and nights have started to raise the water temperature, which means the crappies are in full spawning mode. When targeting crappies, it’s important to keep some of the smaller ones for a fish fry and release the larger ones to preserve the resource. Look for crappies in 3 to 6 feet of water, and don’t be surprised if you encounter some northern pike in the same areas. Slow rolling a terminator spinner bait or using a number four blue fox spinner can be effective for catching pike. Walleyes, on the other hand, can be a bit more elusive. They can be found in deeper troughs and holes, typically in 15 to 18 feet of water. Live bait rigs with a minnow or a jig and minnow are popular choices for targeting walleyes. Trust in your electronics to locate these fish and be prepared to adapt as they can be here one day and gone the next.
Catching Crappies in Ottertail County
If you’re looking to catch crappies, Ottertail County is the place to be. The crappies are currently in their spawning mode, and the water temperature is ideal for their activity. One effective technique for catching crappies in the hard stem bull rushes is to use a slip bobber rig. This allows you to drop your bait straight down into the water without getting snagged in the rushes. A Northland Firefly jig tipped with a pink and white Northland Impulse mini smelt can be a winning combination. Look for crappies at the mouth of shallow bays where they will be staging to spawn.
Bass Fishing in Hayward, Wisconsin
Springtime in northern Wisconsin means the bass fishing is heating up. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass can be found in shallow water, particularly around rocks. Jerkbaits and Ned rigs are popular choices for targeting bass. The action is fast and furious, with lots of aggressive bites. Walleye fishing is also picking up, with post-spawn walleyes moving into shallow water. Look for them in 5 to 10 feet of water and use a faster moving jig or plastic to entice a bite. Crappies have also moved into shallow bays and are staging to spawn. It’s an exciting time to be out on the water in Hayward, Wisconsin.
Cool Products and Techniques of the Week
In this week’s episode of Ang ling Buzz, we were introduced to some cool products and techniques that can enhance your fishing experience. Here are some of the highlights:
- Kalin’s Wall Fly: This unique soft plastic bait is designed for river fly fishing for walleye. It comes in various colors and sizes, making it a versatile option for anglers.
- VMC Tokyo Rig Finesse Nico: This rig is great for dragging along rocks and boulders, as it is snag-free through weeds and timber. It features a nice little keeper for soft plastics and allows for the addition of weights for added sound.
- Northland Tackle Butterfly Blades: These blades are perfect for slow trolling, as they come in different sizes and colors. You can customize your rig to suit your preferences and target species.
- Northland Tackle Fireball Sting’n Jig: This jig is a mainstay for live bait fishermen, especially when using bigger live bait. It features a long shank wide gap hook and a stinger hook attachment on the backside of the jig head.
- Bait Caddy: This year-round unit is perfect for keeping your live bait fresh and alive. It has holes in the back and front to allow fresh water to flow through, and it comes with an easy carry handle.
- Rapala Heavy Duty R12 Lithium Fillet Knife: This fillet knife offers 80 minutes of continuous run time and is twice as fast and powerful as standard fillet knives. It comes with different blade options and charges in just about an hour.
- St. Croix Icon Series Bounce and Troll Rod: This rod is rated for up to three ounces and is perfect for trolling. It has a moderate action that allows for flex in the base and enough backbone to set the hook on big fish.
- Daiwa Shock Series Rod and Reel Combo: This two-piece rod and reel combo is a great value option for anglers. It features a size 2500 reel and a flexible rod, making it suitable for fishing a variety of species.
- Minn Kota Altera Trolling Motor: This trolling motor is equipped with built-in mega imaging and can be controlled with a foot pedal or remote. It has a unique deploy and store feature and is compatible with the one boat network. The spot lock feature is especially useful for holding your position on the water.
Float Fishing for Walleye
In this week’s technique of the week, the hosts of Angling Buzz explored the technique of float fishing for walleye. Float fishing, also known as bobber fishing, can be a highly effective method for targeting walleye, as well as a variety of other fish species. The key to successful float fishing is to present your bait as close to the fish as possible, ideally right above them. This can be achieved by using a slip bobber rig or a float rig.
When float fishing for walleye, it’s important to choose the right bait and rig setup. Using live bait, such as leeches or minnows, can be highly effective for enticing walleye to bite. Rigging your bait with a jig or a single hook with a resin bead can help keep the bait in place and prevent it from swimming away. Adding a barrel swivel and split shot weights can help control the depth at which your bait is presented.
When fishing with a float, it’s important to pay attention to any movement or dips in the float, as this can indicate a bite. Once you notice a bite, it’s important to give the fish some time to fully take the bait before setting the hook. This can be done by waiting for the float to fully submerge or by feeling for any resistance when reeling in your line.
Float fishing for walleye can be particularly effective in calm conditions, as it allows you to present your bait in a precise and controlled manner. However, it can also be effective in slightly windy conditions, as the movement of the waves can create a natural presentation for your bait. It’s important to experiment with different depths and locations to find where the walleye are feeding. Remember to be patient and persistent, as walleye can be finicky at times.
The hosts of Angling Buzz demonstrated the effectiveness of float fishing for walleye on their fishing trip. They used a slip bobber rig with a jig and a leech as bait. The slip bobber rig allowed them to easily adjust the depth at which their bait was presented. They noticed a group of walleye on their fish finder and positioned their bait right above them. It didn’t take long for them to start catching walleye, proving the effectiveness of float fishing.
In addition to walleye, float fishing can be effective for catching a variety of other fish species. The hosts of Angling Buzz mentioned that they have caught salmon, trout, muskies, northern pike, and catfish using floats. This versatile technique can be adapted to different fishing conditions and target species.