by Bob Jensen
Sometimes anglers don’t recognize obvious things. One of those obvious things is local waters. While it’s fun to travel to far-away, remote destinations, you’re probably driving by some very good fishing locations.
In most areas of the Midwest, and I’m guessing in most areas of North America, you don’t need to travel a long way to get to a place that offers the opportunity to catch a few fish and maybe a bunch of fish, and, more and more because of progressive fish management, the opportunity to catch big fish is better than it used to be. If you do a little research and ask a few questions, you might find that you have some outstanding fishing opportunities closer to where you live than you think. I rediscovered that recently.
I’ve traveled through the town of Fairmont in southern Minnesota many times through the years. I’ve seen the sign that proclaims Fairmont to be the City of Lakes. There is a chain of lakes right in Fairmont, and there are several other lakes within a few miles of Fairmont. I’ve been told they all have good fish populations, but it just never registered that I should try fishing there. My mistake! I fished the Fairmont area recently and was very happy I did so. Here’s why.
I hooked up with Dave Vogel and Ben Brown, Fairmont residents and accomplished anglers. These guys have both fished in lots of different places, but they know they live very close to some outstanding fishing in their hometown.
When we hit the water it was about noon. The skies were cloudless and air temps were in the mid nineties. Not ideal fishing conditions.
The shorelines of the lakes in town have lots of cover, both natural and manmade. There is also a weedline in the deeper water. The water has some color, so the mid-day bite can be good. We caught a good number of bass that afternoon, and the size average was pretty good, probably fifteen to seventeen inches.
Late in the day Ben caught a bass that was about nineteen inches.After awhile we switched gears and started throwing slip-bobbers and smaller baits to water in the two to four foot range. We caught crappies, walleyes, big bluegills, channel catfish, and perch. Action was very good, it was close to home, and it was in the middle of the day on a day when fishing conditions weren’t the best.What I want to get across here is the fact that for most of us, very good fishing is probably closer than we think.
If you have half a day, you should be able to find a body of water that will provide you with some fishing action. It might be a river that is best fished with waders, or it might be that lake just down the road that you’ve heard is home to fish but that you just never tried. You should try it.
In the next few weeks when you have a free afternoon, instead of mowing the yard, check out a nearby body of water. You could very easily find that you’ve been missing out on some outstanding fishing. I know that there are plenty of closer-to-home lakes that I haven’t fished that I’m going to very soon.