Waseca County Pioneer 111 W. Elm Ave.

Waseca, MN (507) 837-6767


Recent weather trends raise appetite for fishing

Winter ice fishing was a great disappointment. Families couldn’t have fun and bond in their warm lodges out on their favorite lake. There simply wasn’t any safe ice for any extended amount of time. Spring is now here and open water will never let an eager angler down.
Fishing with a bobber is always my first choice. There’s something deeply gratifying in watching the bobber go down: To try and get that feeling, I’m willing to watch patiently for hours. Even if I’m not rewarded, when I go to bed and close my eyes I see my colorful bobber drifting on the waves.
I’ve fished enough to know that many times you just can’t catch fish on a bobber. Now the challenge and fun becomes locating the fish and figuring out how to get them to bite. Maybe you use a Lindy rig, maybe you have to pitch plastics, a hair jig might trigger a strike, or trolling crank baits might be the ticket. It’s a lot of work, but with today’s fishing pressure you have to catch your walleyes after dark. 
I’ll always be a bobber guy who uses live bait to catch his fish. Over the years I’ve used a countless number of wax worms, different leeches, minnows, spikes, red worms, or my all-time favorite, the nightcrawler. Earthworms of different kinds will always be the number one bait sold in the U.S.
Leeches on a slip bobber are what I use to catch walleyes. Back in my younger days I filled some coffee cans with some old meat, hammered some holes in the cans and planted them in the water in Moonan Marsh to attract leeches overnight. The next morning the cans were alive with leeches. Most of them had red bellies; I found out they were ribbon leeches, which fish despise so completely, they’d rather starve than eat one. The leeches walleyes eat are trapped in sloughs and ponds up north. These slippery, slimy, black and brown blood suckers are the ones we buy at the bait shops.
I used to go out and collect nightcrawlers on the streets during a rain, or soak the garden and pluck some at night with a flashlight. I’d mix up batches of buzz bedding (worm bedding), put them in containers and put them in my old fridge in the garage. I’d have crawlers all summer long to put on my worm harness when bottom bouncing or to dangle on the end of a hook. Can’t bend my knees to collect worms anymore, but they are still a good buy at the bait shop.
I’m not what you’d call a deep thinker, but I do have a few thoughts about earthworms. Since you don’t find them swimming in our lakes or rivers, why do fish of every species find them so yummy and a wonderful meal? 
Leeches, insects, insect larva, and minnows, along with other small fish, are all found in the water. It’s easy to understand why all of these critters can be listed on the Applebee’s menu for fish. Crayfish and tadpoles, along with frogs, can also be a DQ Blizzard for feeding bass and walleyes.
Earthworms and nightcrawlers were wiped out during the last ice age when the midwest was covered by glacial ice. Apparently earthworms were brought here by European settlers in the 1800s. I guess we’d have to say they are an invasive species in the midwest, not native. Maybe worm eggs were accidentally transported on plant roots or bulbs; maybe the early settlers used them for fishing bait. One thing is certain; there are now an immeasurable number of them crawling under our sodded lawns.
If fish do eat a worm, I’m sure they will find it tasty and nutritious. An occasional wild, free-ranging nightcrawler will crawl to the wrong spot and tumble into a lake, river, or pond. Floods and heavy rainfalls bring worms to the surface from underground tunnels and wash them into a stream or lake. Realistically, this is a relatively infrequent occurrence, so no one knows how many worms a fish eats in its life. 
I think the shape of a worm makes it a target for hungry fish. The smell and taste may also drive them into a feeding frenzy. I like to equate it with the smell and taste of bacon–absolutely irresistible.
I used to feel a little bad when I threaded a big, juicy crawler on my spinner rig trolling for walleyes. I always managed to forgive myself, however, after I had netted that 18-inch, “restaurant quality” walleye, knowing I might not have it if I hadn’t served “bacon.” I could hardly wait to get another crawler in the water and another walleye in the livewell. 
Good luck fishing this summer and may your bobber go down–way, way down!


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