Catching Your First Bass…Unforgettable!

  • Unforgettable moments at the Black River near La Crosse, Wisconsin
  • Light line, swim jig with Strike King Shad
  • Bass Cat with Yamaha Vmax Engine

By Forrest Fisher

Melissa Boudoux with her first fish catch. Happiness is. 

There is something special about fishing for bass, especially when you’ve tried before, but you let your kids fish so they have that first cast and last cast while you manage all else, always hoping for them. Even at that, from shore, it’s often tough to catch a fish. Then one day, you’re hard at work and an invite comes along that is just perfect with the timing of your workday.

That’s how it was for Yamaha Communications and Dealer Education Manager, Melissa Boudoux, when Yamaha bass pro staff angler, Brett King, was in town to meet with the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) for their annual conference at the AmericInn Hotel. Brett has his Bass Cat Caracal and 225Hp Yamaha VMAX moored at the hotel dock on the Black River in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and he asked if anyone had time to help him test a few new bass lures. “I’ve never ever caught a bass,” said Melissa. “Let’s go, we’ll see what works today,” answered Brett.

A few minutes later, his Bass Cat was floating near a rock pile along the shoreline and Melissa was casting a 3-1/4 inch Strike King Rage Swim Tail on a 1/8 ounce lead head jig. A new experience, the 6-foot, 9-inch lightweight rod from J. T. Outdoors was a perfect match for the lure and in no time, Melissa says ”I was casting a very long way with very little effort. It was really fun!” As Brett placed his boat in a fishy-looking spot along the shoreline rocks, a hungry largemouth bass caught a glimpse of the swimbait passing by. That was it. WACK! FISH ON!

“It was so exciting! That bass fought so hard,” Melissa said. Brett adds, “Mellissa caught another bass a little while later too. It’s great to be in the boat when someone catches their first bass ever. This was a special day, she’s a veteran now!”

Thank you for the memories Mister Bass! 

Brett adds, “You know, I run my boat about 4,500 miles a year, none of it on land either. Sometimes in the roughest water and many times, in a debris field of blow-downs and backwaters. I have to feel comfortable with my engine and boat, I need to have confidence in them, and I have to know that they will provide the capability for me to run far and run back safely, and on time, when I fish big money tournaments. My Bass Cat and Yamaha 4-stroke engine do that. I love my rig and I trust it.”

Melissa adds, “I learned what to do after you catch a bass now too, so I can show my kids. It’s all so exciting! We released all the fish we caught. They’ll be there next time for somebody else to enjoy.”

Back at the outdoor media conference, word got out, and the next day and everyone cheered to Melissa’s first bass.

Catching that first bass, it’s magical.

Unforgettable moments.

 

 

Yamaha Pro, Brett King, earned the title 2018 Angler of the Year during Cabela’s® National Walleye Tour.
The 3-1/4 inch Strike King Rage Swim Tail on a 1/8 ounce lead head jig with the 6-foot, 9-inch lightweight rod from J. T. Outdoors was a perfect match to catch the first bass.

 

Fall Fishing in La Crosse, Wisconsin: Binge-feeding time for Walleye, Bass, Catfish

  • Mississippi River pools offer multiple species
  • Fall weather excites fish toward binge feeding
  • Autumn colors provide an extra measure of goodness for visitors
 The Bassmaster Elite anglers visit area waters for exiting fishing fun. Photo – LaCrosse CVB

By Forrest Fisher

Near La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Upper Mississippi River spreads well beyond its main channel, a bonus for anglers.  Hundreds of tiny islands, channels, and deep pools offer a new home for many species of fish, perhaps more than any other temperate-climate river in the world. It’s a fishing paradise.

Walleye is king in these waters, but you can catch just about anything here, including sauger, northern pike, shovelhead sturgeon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, sunfish, bluegill, crappie, gar, channel catfish and blue catfish, just to name a few.

Interested in giant catfish? Click here: Here’s a great article about catfish in the area

The La Crosse River and Black River join the Mississippi near La Crosse and create a home to many of the same species. A few miles north of La Crosse, the Mississippi opens into the 8,000+ acre waterway named Lake Onalaska that features 7 boat landings and is chock-full of panfish, northern, and bass, and the area also offers myriad cold-water streams rife with brown, rainbow, and brook trout.

Kayaks and small boats provide access to hundreds of fishy waterways near La Crosse. Photo – LaCrosse CVB

Another popular lake fishery is Lake Neshonoc located in West Salem. It has a maximum depth of 11 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from public boat landings and a public beach. Fish include panfish, largemouth bass, northern pike and catfish. Check out the DNR’s Trout Stream Map for La Crosse County.

The La Crose area features several boat landings, marinas, and beaches, as well as fishing floats and piers, guides, and numerous outfitters. The Upper Mississippi USFW Refuge (United States Fish & Wildlife) has put together some fantastic maps of Pools 7 and 8 of the Mississippi River, with boat landings, walk-in access points and more.

Fall and Winter Action is Just Ahead

The cooling temperatures of fall bring wonderful color to the woodlands and bluffs. Fall also provides hungry fish and some of the best fishing of the year. Walleye begin to move again in the fall and while the fall walleye run tends to be less lively than in the spring, the fall run tends to provide steady action right up until freeze-over.

For a summary report on Mississippi River Pool 8 walleye sampling efforts that identify fish density and methods of assessment, visit this link provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – LaCrosse: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/reports/LaCrosseMississippiRPool8_2018_2019WeSaAdultsSpring.pdf.

The first areas to catch the attention of ice anglers are the area’s many backwaters. As ice creeps out from the shores of Lake Onalaska, so do intrepid ice anglers looking for some of the best panfish catching of the year. As ice covers a wider area, ice anglers begin moving further out to deeper water in search of walleye, yellow perch, and northern pike.

You can find information regarding licensing, rules, and regulations at Wisconsin fishing regulations at the Department of Natural Resources website.

For a free visitors guide with additional accommodation and outdoor adventure information, click the picture.