Thoughts on the 2014 Open Water Fishing Season

October 21, 2014 by  

By Bob Jensen

For many anglers, the 2014 open water fishing season is in the books.  While there is still plenty of open water fishing to do, many anglers are doing different things this time of year.  If you’re one of those anglers, you need to be sure you winterized your boat motor.  I run an Evinrude E-TEC outboard and winterizing is so simple I can do it myself.  Regardless of if you can do it yourself or need to take your engine somewhere to have it done, do it.  Engines that don’t get winterized can develop major and expensive problems.


The #4.5 Rattlin’ Hornet was a fish-catcher this past open water fishing season.

Also be sure to back off the drags on your reels and make sure your rods aren’t stored with extreme bends in them.  You’ll extend the life of your rods and reels if you do these two simple things.

Now for the fishing from 2014.  It seemed like the good bite continued longer this year.  The bite for many species of fish across the Midwest usually is good through June, then it tanks a bit.  This year it was very good through July.  Walleye fishing in particular held up well.  There was a brief period of time in August and early September that fishing slowed down maybe more than usual, but it’s going good again now.  That’s a good reason not to put the boat or rods and reels away yet.

Lure manufacturers continue to introduce baits that truly are better than existing baits.  Some folks suggest that lures are “made to catch fishermen, not fish”.  While that may be true in some instances, those lures don’t stay on the market very long.  A new lure that did an outstanding job this year was the new #4.5 Salmo Rattlin’ Hornet.  This lure did an outstanding job on walleyes and bass and out-produced crankbaits that have been around a lot longer and are more well-known.  Sometimes fish react favorably to lures that are new to them.  Fish get conditioned to lures and presentations that they see frequently.  Oftentimes, new lures catch more fish.

Plastic baits continue to receive more space in the tacklebox or boat.  We’re learning new ways to fish plastic, and plastics are being refined more each year with the addition of various scents, colors, and shapes.  The key to plastic is that you’ve got to keep it moving.  Live bait does its own wiggling: Plastic has to be wiggled.  Northland’s Impulse plastics have really changed the way many of us fish.

I don’t like to have to deal with too many regulations, and I also think we have too many regulations.  But the laws that protect the fish are generally useful, and some of those laws, on some lakes, have been watered down in the past couple of years.  In those short couple of years, it’s easy to see that those laws protecting the fish were doing their job.  Lakes that produced world-class catches when the progressive laws were in place have gone down-hill quickly.  While most lakes should be open to catching and keeping some fish, some lakes should have some progressive management in place to enable that lake to provide lots of fish and big fish, even though most of them have to be released.  Lakes like this are how we generate more interest in fishing.

I have a few more open water fishing trips lined up for this year, but ice-fishing isn’t far away.  However, it’s always about this time of year that I like to take a quick look back at the past few months of fishing.  They were good ones, and I’m already looking forward to ice-fishing, then the next season of open water fishing.  I hope you are too.


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