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LaSalle Lake to open soon
On the 15th of March LaSalle Lake will reopen after being close for the winter season. Five months have passed and the fish in this lake have not seen a lure, heard an outboard motor, or had any exposure to the humans trying to catch them. They roamed free around the lake, until now.
LaSalle Lake is a 2000 acre man made lake that is perched above the surrounding farmland that gently slopes from the shallows on the west side to the deeper water created by the rock lined dikes to the east.
For years the lake has been well known for its population of smallmouth bass. Many anglers enjoyed catching huge largemouths and average sized fish of about two pound in great abundance. Bluegills, catfish, yellow bass, and ever sauger have been caught there again and again.
But one fish that is often overlooked is the striped bass. LaSalle Lake has them and you have to hold on to your rod because when they hit, they’ll knock it right out of your hands.
So for those who would really like to feel the incredible strike of the striper, there are two great baits to use. One is an in line spinner. One favorite is the Vibrex spinner. A simple silver bait with silver blade is all that’s needed. Another is a white spinnerbait with tandem blades. As you can easily figure out, it’s the flash that attracts these hard hitting fish. These two baits offer just that an d not to mention some good vibration that will turn a fish’s attention to the lure and cause them to come after the bait.
Now here’s a little hint. Last year white spinnerbaits were catching fish. But when a white spinnerbait had a skirt that was made of that new holographic white, which means it had a hint of glitter and a touch of blue, the frequency of strikes was incredible. The fish really liked that holographic skirt. Adding a white twister tail grub as a trailer didn’t hurt either. Sometimes we have to deviate from the norm just a little and that can make all the difference in the world.
Another good bait is an old favorite of live bait anglers. A simple jig and minnow will catch great numbers of fish when they’re found stacked up like cord wood. Adding on a white twister tail will help when the stripers are a bit finicky. If they’re extremely active the fish will bite the jig and twister tail with no bait added.
Another great way to fish the stripers is with hard metal baits. Vertical jigging with baits like the Hopkins spoons is well worth trying. Depth finders will be a great aid to find locations where you can use a jigging spoon. Look for deep holes with bait fish around the edges and big fish near them. Often the big fish will be found up wind from the school of shad. Drift over them and place your bait not necessarily inside the school of shad, but rather on the outside edge. Lift and drop the rod and like was mentioned before, hold on because the strike will be hard.
Throwing metal baits is also popular at LaSalle. Zips, Gay Blades, Sonars, Cicadas, and Silver Buddys will all work. It’s the flash and vibration that gets the fish to bite these lures. Tossing these baits out and making a steady retrieve works just fine. Trying to get fancy with jigging motion really doesn’t help. With these blade baits, you have to pay attention to what you’re doing. Let the bait drop too far or with too much slack in the line will result in either getting hung up in the rocks or having the hooks tangle in your line.
Any casting should be along the rip rap dikes. Remember this. LaSalle Lake is a cooling lake. It has a current caused by the power plant pulling in cool water and discharging warm water. The fish will roam looking for their personal comfort zone. Generally speaking, find water that is from 55 degrees to 70 degrees and you will find stripers.
As you know with the moving water and the constant air temperature changes, the water temperature will change from one place to another. Water that would be 60 degrees today could be 65 or 70 tomorrow. Searching for the comfort zone of stripers will put fish in the boat.
Early on in the season when the lake first opens, head for the far end of the lake. The discharge chute will most likely have water temperatures in the sixties. The third pool can also produce fish. Watch which way the wind is blowing and check the temperatures of the water on both sides of the pool. Sometimes a few degrees can make a lot of difference.
LaSalle has a fantastic population of striped bass. They’re hard hitting and good eating. Anglers often seek other species at LaSalle but don’t push the striper to the side. Stock up with a variety of artificial baits so that you can give the striper fishing a try. Sure you may catch a bass or a yellow, but what would be wrong with that? Try the live bait approach. If you fall upon are area where the stripers are stacked up in a big school, it could be one fish after another with every cast.
LaSalle Lake is located just outside of the town of Seneca at Grand Ridge/Mazon Rd. & Rt. 170. Gas motors are required on all boats and shore anglers may consider bringing a bicycle as you can fish nearly two miles of shoreline. Give LaSalle Lake and its striper action a try. You'll soon learn that great fishing is not that far away.