We are now almost completely done with the month of March. For Minnesotan’s, that means still getting dumped on by snow and occasional rain, but being tempted by rising temperatures in the 40s and low 50s. The fishing bug is really starting to set in and this year even more so.
Myself along with my tournament partner and close friend, Nick Retka, officially decided to start our own tournament bass fishing trail this year. The small tournament trail we used to fish decided not to operate this year due to personal reasons. This was all the permission Nick and I needed. So, we started the Northwoods Team Trail, or NWTT.
Our tournaments will all be located in central Minnesota. For the first stop (May 26th), we visit Platte/Sullivan Lake. These two lakes are connected and together offer incredible largemouth fishing. Over the past 3 years, it has become one of Nick and my favorite places to catch fish in the spring of the year. The next stop (June 23rd) is on the Mississippi River in Little Falls, MN. This stretch of river spans about 7 miles and is incredibly fun to fish in June. The smallmouth population is almost overwhelming. However, a few anglers sometimes manage to boat heft largemouth in this portion of the river. After the river the NWTT visits Fishtrap Lake in Cushing, MN on July 14th, another personal favorite. Fishtrap offers many backwater bay areas for shallow-water fishermen and also boasts expansive weedlines and even deep rock for those who can find it. The lake is hit or miss with the size of fish consistently caught. However, someone always seems to smack them. Lastly, the season will end on August 11th on Lake Alexander, my favorite lake in the world. Alex has great smallmouth and largemouth populations. Typically, if a team is able to get on the smallmouth, it is game over. Many mixed bags occur on this body of water. Its clear water ensures deep weedlines and great largemouth fishing as well. Texas-rig any soft plastic or toss a weedless jig and you are sure to smack some green fish.
We are very excited about these venues. Being the tournament directors, you get the privilege of choosing the waters the field fishes. So, why not go to the favorites where you know everyone will catch fish? You got to give the people what they want; fisheries loaded with active bass.
Furthermore, our tournaments will run 7 hours; 6 AM to 1 PM. We feel this is a nice length and time frame for those who still would like to get home and spend time with the family or accomplish that “to-do” list. Additionally, tournaments are $52 ($2 for PayPal fees) to enter and payment is only accepted via PayPal. Nick and I decided enough was enough in regards to tournament organizations only accepting checks via snail mail. This isn’t the 1950s anymore, guys. It’s time to use the technology available. It is much more secure, instantaneous, and easier to organize. You can sign up for our tournaments here.
We also implemented a 24-hour off-limits period before each tournament. Too often, anglers fish the night before a tournament and burn other people’s fish before they get to them the next morning. We feel this needs to stop. So, from 6 AM the Friday before each tournament day, there will not be allowed any pre-fishing. Also, we have a strict dead fish penalty. All too many times we have seen tournament organizations turn the other cheek when it comes to fish care and dead fish penalties. All anglers will be required to wait on the dock/nurture their fish back to health before being released. Dead fish penalties of one-half pound, or 8 OZ, will be implemented to encourage the care of fish.
We are very excited for the fishing season to begin and even more excited to start fishing tournaments again. These Minnesota winters can really give an angler cabin fever. If you have any questions about the Northwoods Tournament Trail, please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See ya on the water!