By Mike Frisch   Much thought is given to spinner blade color selection. I like to keep it simple, however, and use water clarity as a guide in helping me select which spinner rigs to use. When the water is clear, I opt for metallic colors, while off-colored waters call for some of the brighter colors.

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Lake of the Woods, MN – Knight Island

Lake of the Woods, fed by the Rainy River and other tributaries, is a magnificent destination for sportfishermen and nature-lovers alike. At 1,680 square miles in area, the huge lake occupies parts of Minnesota as well as Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. Despite its expanse, and its many square miles of deep, featureless mud flats, veteran fishing guide and Team Northland Pro Jon Newburgh of Baudette, Minn., says Lake of the Woods is one of the easiest walleye lakes to fish.

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Checking Cover for Early Bass

Jeff ‘Gussy’ Gustafson Touring FLW bass pro Jeff Gustafson is also a longtime guide, and offers up his go-to approach for big bass in May and June. “At this time of year,” says Gussy, “most bass are in or close to spawning habitat. Largemouths like to spawn in the backs of bays and other protected areas.

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  Tracking down big bluegills is one of professional guide Brian Brosdahl’s specialities, so we forced him to spill the beans on his best recipe for May and early June. “You have to find the warmest water in the lake,” Bro begins. “I’m generally seeking out muddy areas, typically on the north end, but that can change depending on which way the wind is blowing.

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Tony Roach walleye

Many early-season walleyes spend time in shallow water, even before weeds become reliable cover. They might be along windswept shorelines, over sand, gravel, even beds of bottom-hugging sandgrass. They might be in a foot of water, or into the middle depths.

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Bobber Walleye

Slip bobbers are versatile delivery systems for walleye fishing that suspend live bait in the strike zone virtually all season long. “You can fish slip bobber rigs in any number of situations, at various depths in the water column,” says Team Northland member and avowed walleye warrior Mark Courts. Northland Fishing Tackle’s Lite-Bite Slip Bobber is his favorite float, not just for its versatility but also the ubiquitous brass grommet that rests jauntily atop its colorful stem.

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As we move into May, the underwater world of Midwestern fish mirrors the newly-emerging grasses and leaves sprouting on dry land. It’s a time of renewal, when fish and prey seek places of warming temperatures, and, in many cases, where they will spawn. Weather can flip-flop, fish can be pre-spawn, spawn, or post-spawn, making this a challenging time as we seek walleyes, bass, and bluegills.

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It’s one of fishing’s most common questions – what’s the best choice: real bait or artificial lures? In reality, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this timeless dilemma. Each approach to catching fish has its particular strengths and weaknesses, and each one is better suited to different conditions, environments, target species, and levels of angler competence.

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Lake Winnibigoshish

     Covering roughly 57,000 surface acres and parts of Cass and Itasca counties, Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish is among the state’s top walleye-fishing destinations. A median depth of 15 feet, with spots that drop to 60-plus feet, as well as vast connecting waters that provide exceptional spawning habitat, combine to form an ideal environment in which walleyes can reproduce, feed and grow. Public boat-launching facilities are scattered around the lake, making access from any di…

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