Hennepin Canal Report – March 3

After being shut out on my first two trips of the year, I was able to get that first bass in the log about fifteen minutes into a bike and hike outing on The Canal. Turns out a few more were interested as well. Read on for the rest of the story.

Date: March 3
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 8:40am-11:10am
Totals: 5 bass
Weather: Sunny/very windy, 64F
Water temperature: Not available
Lures: Z-Man Chatterbait (sexy shad) with a BPS Speed Shad trailer (pro blue) – 3 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (red craw) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 1-8 Chatterbait
Top 4 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 5-6

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Go Forth North – I chose this section of The Canal as it not only offered a shot at some quality bass, but it also featured hiker friendly bank access on the northern towpath. The north side also receives the brunt of any sunlight and on this day was also getting pounded by strong winds from the south. The latter can affect casting accuracy, but you just must adjust your aim, play the wind, and let Mother Nature assist in hitting your targets.

8:55am First bass of 2024 at 1-7 (14″) on a chatterbait

Just a bit windy

The Answer My Friend – No matter what season you are fishing, you play whatever cards Mother Nature deals and try to make it work in your favor. The wind was gusting up to forty miles per hour with a direct hit on the northern bank. In the early spring, such conditions are amplified as there is no foliage or undergrowth on the southern bank to break the wind. Full force in my face is where I want to be as I work into and parallel along the bank that is getting pummeled. The wind will stir things up and can stack up the food chain on cover along the windblown bank.

10:38 Top Bass of the day at 1-8 (14″) on a chatterbait

Wood is Good – Much of The Canal is shallow (five feet or less) and the rest is shallower. Any wood cover that I can find extending out from or entirely away from the bank is a primary target. Brush, laydowns, and submerged logs all get some casts. Large or small, each has potential to hold a bass. And I work them over from different angles where bank access permits. A favorite approach is parallel and so tight to the wood that my lures nearly touch the cover. If I need to work perpendicular to submerged cover, I rapidly retrieve a spinnerbait or chatterbait to barely clear the wood and then slow my retrieve and lower my rod tip to drop the bait in the water column next to the cover. Make enough of these presentations and you’ll get your bites.


You Gotta Wear Shades – A final factor that gets overlooked are polarized lenses. No matter sun or overcast, I always have my shades. Not only do they provide a bit of protection, but they also reveal targets that are hidden from the naked eye. Anytime that I walk or bike The Canal, my eyes are on the water looking for these targets. Just be careful as the occasional pothole or washout can trip you up when you are paying more attention to the water than to where you are going.

Told Julie I would ditch the winter beard once I caught my first bass of the year

On this day, the above factors resulted in my first five bass of 2024. It took some work as even though the air temperature was in the sixties, the water was still quite cold. Early March bass in our neck of the woods are sluggish but striving to put the right lure in the right place at the right time can still get it done. And as the weather warms and the daylight lengthens, things will only get better. Stay tuned as there are plenty more reports to come. Talk to you later. Troy

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