Here’s a story of what fishing used to be like before fishing exploded in popularity: Spring lake, pool 13. This was back when there was current running through the lake, before they closed the dike and changed fishing patterns. It had been a normal spring with tough fishing until May when one day all the sudden a lot of fish showed up in the lake. I imagine fishing was good about everywhere but where I was fishing I had a double limit of Bass 3-4 pounds. This was near Browns camping area. I went back the next day with a friend and we only caught a couple fish in that area so I moved to another spot where we caught a few, and since I noticed my old buddy Hendrix was following us we moved to the island to be out of sight and flipped worms. I caught a nice Crappie and soon after caught a huge Bass that went about 6 pounds, which is rare on the Mississippi River. We continued on down the bank and caught a few here and there but nothing great. The guy I was with had to work so I took him back to the ramp where he had left his truck. On the way I noticed that follower fishing the other side of the island and he too left shortly after because he had to work.
It was a nice warm day with clouds building around, a hot and humid May day. I had the lake all to myself now, something that you won’t see ever again in spring lake in the spring. Because there was current, that made fishing difficult so most people avoided Spring Lake most of the time.
I went back to where we started and worked on down the bank. Since this was close to the exit of the lake, the water was pretty warm compared to where it was coming in. I fished up to a tree and stopped a minute to cover it good and I caught a 4# Bass. Soon after I caught another one and another one and they just kept coming, all between 4-5 pounds. I caught so many my arms were getting soar. Finally I couldn’t take it any more and decided to fish on down the bank. Everywhere I went I ran into Bass over 4 pounds, they were everywhere. I think they were moving into the lake in an endless school.
The following week I had a tournament. I found fish in a few places but they weren’t on that same tree anymore. I found where one 5 pounder was hanging around. I took my partner top that area and we Crappie fished since I had already found plenty of fish. As we were heading back I decided to try one more time near that tree and fish were there again. This time they were just down the bank a ways and it was every cast a fish was on. That’s where we started, but the fish had moved down the bank about 30 yards and a boat was sitting there pulling one in after the other. So I headed to where that five pounder was laying. When we got there some guy in a canoe yelled and told us to look what he just caught on a minnow while Crappie fishing, and it was that five pounder. Headed to another spot caught a few, then headed to a bank on the far end of the lake and there was a guy from work and he was walking the bank and told us he caught a limit of bass already. What a coincidence, he works with that follower and works with and that guy I took fishing, they were Catfish partners. Then we had one last area to fish, in the reeds where I had been catching big fish. There was other boats in there but all we needed was one decent fish to win the tourney. No more had we started and that follower saw us, ran his boat through the reeds and spooked all the fish out. He won the tourney with 2 pounders. We had bigger fish but needed just one more and we had no chance after that, time ran out.
By telling this story it makes me realize that there was a lot of pressure even back then, but gone are the days of having anything to yourself for a day. Now the parking lot is full at the ramp even on cold windy days. I think most come from Rockford, they just don’t have anywhere else to fish.