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January 2023

Fishing Observations

The 2022 fishing season is in the books. In conversations with anglers over the past few weeks, several observations have been presented more often than others. Some of these probably can’t be answered with any degree of accuracy, but to this angler, they’re interesting and worthy of some thought. Following are a couple of those observations.

It seems that big fish are being caught with more regularity in recent years than in the past.  It’s not unusual to see pictures of trophy muskies, bass, and walleyes on internet and social media sites on a weekly and even a daily basis.  We never used to hear about or see photos of so many big fish.  That’s because we didn’t have access to the internet and social media sites until recent years.  It wasn’t that long ago in fishing history that magazines were a primary form of communication about fishing, and most of them came out on a monthly schedule, and often the deadlines for those magazines was several weeks or months in advance of the magazine being printed.  The photos that appeared in those magazines were already a few months old when the magazine arrived in the mailbox.  Today, if an angler catches a big one and wants to highlight the experience, it’s on the internet the same day.

I also think that many anglers are much more willing to share big fish catches today.  There are a variety of reasons why anglers are more willing to pass along their successes, but there certainly are a lot of impressive fish catches showing up.

It also seems like fish in some areas are easier to catch than they are in other areas.  Cole Floyd is a bass tournament angler.  Cole lives in Ohio but fishes in a variety of different states every year.  He has noticed that largemouth and smallmouth bass can be more willing to bite in some areas than in others.  Last summer Cole participated in a bass tournament in Minnesota, and after the tournament he hung around Minnesota for a few days to explore the bass action.  He found that the bass were more willing to bite, fought better, and looked healthier than they do in many other regions that he fishes.  In his travels he’s also learned something that many of us can benefit from.  There will usually be a hot bait from area to area, but plastic baits such as those in the Rage line of plastics will produce anywhere.  Green Pumpkin seems to be a color that bass will bite regardless of region.  When he’s trying to establish a pattern and just wants to get bit, Cole will often tie a Midsize Rage Bug rigged Texas-style onto his line and start throwing it anywhere that looks like home to a bass. Many of the most successful bass-catchers agree that a Rage Bug or Rage Grub will catch’em almost anywhere.


Many anglers also agree that for variety, the Midwest offers the best when it comes to freshwater fishing.  If the bass don’t want to bite, there will usually be some panfish, pike, or walleyes that will.  Some lakes aren’t the best walleye lakes, but they’re outstanding for other species.  When it comes to just getting bit, it’s really hard to beat the lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and ponds that are generously scattered across the Midwest.  Almost anyone who lives in the Midwest realizes that, and anglers that come from the south, east, or west quickly make the same observation.  For the next few weeks I’m going to be observing ice fishing stuff, and when Mother Nature permits, I will look forward to more open water observations. 

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