As the unusual summer of 2014 continues, my central Minnesota fishing grounds are producing fish, yet still a bit of a mystery. Last week, for example, I sampled the largemouth bass action on Ann Lake near Ogilvie, and found nearly opposite conditions and productive patterns compared to my last visit to this relatively small, river-run system about the same time last summer.
I was fishing with fellow North American Fisherman blogger Scott Bonnema. As we kicked around story ideas, shot photos and video clips for upcoming content, he threw a jig and plastic combo while I tossed a spinnerbait. The lake was unusually stained due to runoff and algae, and weedgrowth was a bit behind schedule due to our late spring and cool summer. As a sidebar to that, next week’s Upper Midwest weather forecast for a “Summertime Polar Vortex” should do little to jumpstart the situation.
As we idled along the outside weededge, Scott pitched the jig into the heart of the salad, which included coontail, northern milfoil and cabbage. I skittered over the weedtops and worked the edge. Given the dark water, I thought blades would outproduce a jig, yet just the opposite was true. Three bass hit the leadhead in short order, while a pike and small bass rolled on the spinnerbait without connecting.
It’s worth noting that the full moon conditions may have contributed to bass not chasing as much, since they’re able to feed all night and can get a little persnickety during the day. In the end, the blades vs. jigs experiment proved the need to keep an open mind out presentations, experiment with a few until you find the best one for the conditions at hand, and to always consider mitigating factors like moon phase when predicting where and when the next bite will go down.