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May 19, 2019

5/11/2019 7:30:00 AM
Pro fisherman Ross Crowe holds bass seminar in Woodruff
Jacob Friede
Of The Lakeland Times

Tournament fisherman and Lund Boats pro staffer Ross Crowe recently held a bass fishing seminar at the Woodruff Town Hall. He is also a Baptist pastor and he was definitely sharing good news to a full house of fishermen in Woodruff.

"Anytime you get a deep snow and really cold winter, it usually means you're going to have flowage in all of the lakes and streams in the spring and fishing is going to be good," said Crowe, whose appearance was sponsored by Woodruff Baptist Church, Woodruff Ace Hardware, Kurt's Island Sport Shop and Dewey, Catchem, and How bait shops and guides.

"I'm just predicting, and I've been at this awhile, get excited about this summer," Crowe said. "You are going to catch fish this year. It's going to be a really, really good year for fishing."

In order to take advantage of such an optimistic forecast, Crowe stressed the philosophy of wasting no time.

The trick of chasing bass, he said, is not to chase them at all, but rather be where they're going to be.

"Ninety percent of the water contains 10 percent of the fish and 10 percent of the water has 90 percent of the fish," Crowe said. "It's about eliminating unproductive water and the way that you can do that is understanding their migration routes."


Those routes begin in the spring when the water temperatures reach between 60 and 70 degrees. At that point bass are heading to the back of northern bays and near stream and creek mouths where the water is warmest.

"Bass do not want to spawn in the dark muck," Crowe said. "They're not going to do that. They want to be in sand and gravel."

The spawning migration, he said, can begin within 12 hours of ice out, so the early season should be prime time spawn fishing. In Wisconsin that is.

In the deep, cold lakes of northern Minnesota where Crowe hails from, that won't begin until early August.

After the spawn, the post-spawn movement to summer haunts is the next step of bass migration and Crowe advised to look for the same shoreline points and structure that were fished during the spawn.

"The routes that they're going to use on the way in are going to be the routes they use on the way out," he said.

But he reminded the audience that during the post-spawn migration the bass will be suspended, rather than hugging the bottom like they do on their way into bays and creeks to spawn.

Big, female, post-spawn bass are hungry and looking for a place to hide and feed, so structure, like boat docks, adjacent to creeks and bays are good targets.

Crowe said buzz baits, pop r's, and top water lures will all entice a famished post-spawn bass.


When the water gets over 70 degrees bass are near their summer hideouts, which include docks, rocks, boulders, and brush piles. This is also a great time, Crowe said, to hit fallen trees and lily pads.

During the seminar he taught unique techniques on how to trick a bass out of the branches and provoke one to crash through the pads.

For fallen trees he advised letting a plastic worm land on a branch and sit there for a bit before slightly pulling the line to allow the worm to naturally slide off and ricochet off other branches. The subtle sounds of the worm bouncing off sticks will drive the bass crazy, Crowe said.

In the lily pads, Crowe said he's had success ripping and hopping a frog across them way too fast for the bass to catch. He said the commotion wakes them up. Then when a frog is finally dropped into a gap in the pads, the highly attentive bass are all over it.

"If you don't like to fish lily pads then you don't have a pulse," Crowe said.

He added that deep weed edges are also a great summer haunt to target, and that deep diving crank baits are a great way to get there. However, he warned that all crank baits do not dive to the depth that is marked on the box so they should be tested. This is important because being off by even a foot could lead to no action.

"The weed line tops out at 16 feet and you throw a bait out there that says it's supposed to dive to 16 feet and you're cranking it in and that bait only dives to 12 feet," Crowe said. "If that fish is not aggressive and it goes by up here at 12 feet you're not going to catch that fish."


In the fall, Crowe said bass like to coral minnows and other microbiotic food sent crashing into wind-blown shorelines and against drop- off walls.

Spinner baits are ideal in that situation, he said. "You're simulating those schooling minnows."

He said that by winter the bass head to the main basin of lakes until the water warms back up and their travels begin all over again.

Bass fishing is a matter of where and when, Crowe stressed. The fish are not randomly roaming around the lake without a purpose or reason and therefore fishermen should not be either. Reading the lake, he said, both its depth and distinctions, and taking cues from the calendar are foolproof plans to pursue fish rather than simply chase them.

"Eliminate water and target those specific spots," Crow said. "So your not just out there running around the lake trying to figure it out."

Jacob Friede may be reached at or

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