In mid to late summer when the walleye fishing slows I have no problem switching over to something that’s willing to bite during the day and tastes great too. I’m talking about northern and bass. These fish come in all sizes, but one thing is certain; they are all fun to catch. The average size northern and bass for the area is about 1 to 3lbs and, lucky for us, they’re the best eating. Of course, northern and bass in the Alexandria area get much bigger than 1 to 3lbs, but these bigger fish are best photographed and released to hopefully become a trophy someday.
The first technique is trolling crank baits. This is an easy technique that anyone can do. My go to lure is a #7 Perch colored Shadling. All you have to do is tie the lure directly on your line. I prefer to use 10-12lb braided line and troll at about 1.5 to 3.0 mph in 5-15 feet of water. These lures will dive down when you troll, so by varying your speed and the amount of line you put out, you can vary the depth that the lure will dive. (Helpful Note: These lures make a vibration when they’re pulled through the water from the lure shaking back and forth. If the lure stops shaking, it probably means you have a weed on your lure. Quickly remove the weed and you’re ready to keep fishing.)
The second technique is using live bait. When I’m fishing with live bait for bass and northern I like to use a heavy Lindy rig style setup. This is a rig you can make on your own. First, I slide a 1/2oz slip weight onto my line, then I tie on a swivel. Next, I cut a 3 foot piece of 12lb clear monofilament line or thin stainless fishing line called Tyger Wire. Tie one end to the swivel and the other to a 2/0 hook. This completes the rig, all you have to do now is hook on a lively 4” to 6” sucker minnow in the mouth. There are two places you should fish this setup. You can either fish it a foot above the top of the weeds or just on the outside edge of the weeds a foot off the bottom. You will want to troll this rig much slower than the crank baits, I prefer about .50 to 1.0mph in about 10-25 feet of water. (Helpful Note: The hardest part about this technique is telling the difference between a bite and a weed. Keep in mind a weed will be a steady pull and a bite will be a series of taps and sharp pulls.)
These two techniques are very effective and easy to use. You don’t have to be the best fisherman or have a fancy boat to catch some great fish in Alexandria. With school starting soon and summer starting to wind down, there’s never been a better time than now to get the family out on the water.