I’ve traveled many places over my forty four years and fished as many spots as my time’s allowed so far. I’ve never had a bad fishing trip. The moment the first line is cast, I’m happy. Few things in life are more enjoyable and relaxing than being in a boat on a lake or river and waiting to catch the big one. There’s so many perfect spots to cast a line but a few rank highest in my personal opinion. I’d like to share a bit about each place and explain why they rank so well with those who have a true love of fishing as a sport.
The Mississippi River just south of Alton Illinois is a favorite spot for not only fisherman but for birds as well. Eagles especially thrive in the area from mid October through March. While the birds may find this spot enticing for the fine meals alone, people are drawn to the area for it’s incredible scenery and history. Old unique buildings dot the tops of bluffs and along parts of the shores. Venturing just a bit further north you’ll also find a free ferry that will carry you in your vehicle across to Brussels Island. The variety of fishing in this area is as great as the variety of fish. Quiet coves are a dream in and around Brussels and the catfish that can be found in the swift waters make the struggle of the stream well worth it.
I would recommend getting out on the water no later than sunrise. The river traffic can be very heavy so I’d also suggest small boats stay out of the main channel. There are a few boat docks that are available for public use but there are also some private docks that offer cold drinks and food. I generally prefer to bring my own lunch and stay out on the water. Remember to bring your camera and something soft to sit on . Bug spray is also absolutely essential in the warmer months. You won’t be disappointed in this area for the fishing or the views.
Leech Lake in Walker Minnesota offers some of the finest fishing in the nation. The lake itself is massive but the shoreline is quite irregular and quiet. Calm spots are easy to find. Islands and towering pine trees mixed with tall white birch trees add to the experience. The water is so perfectly clear that it’s hard not to want to dip your hand in for a straight sip. Anyone fishing the lake will tell you that the fish even taste better for the quality of the water. Muskie, pike, bluegill, bass, and crappie flourish in these waters.
Fishing here is so good that time of day isn’t very important. Even mid afternoon outings will usually net you a few nice catches. Leech lake has a variety of docking areas available to the public and one extra large main dock in the town of Walker. I’d suggest bringing bug spray in warm months as this area is very mosquito prone. I’d also suggest bringing extra clothing or a blanket no matter what season. This part of the country can be quite chilly even in the middle of summer. A visit to this lake would come with one very strong recommendation – bring your camera and leave your cell phone at home. This area is so special that it should be taken in like a sip of fine wine.
Both of these favorite spots offer fish in a wide range of variety and size. There is one lure I know of that seems to catch most fish. I’ve found that by using a beatlespin lure, I’m almost always catching several different varieties. I’d suggest bringing several colors and sizes and trying them all. A small white or yellow lure will net you crappie and bluegill all day long. The larger beatlespins work great for catching large mouth bass, northern pike, and even the ever tasty walleye. I’ve yet to see a muskie caught by this lure but I’m always willing to listen to a great fish story!