Early summer bite

Electric Chicken

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The feed bags are on… Walleye spawning season has ended, and fish are in beast mode. And, for the most part, smallmouth bass are wrapping up, and either are, or will be in a similar feeding frenzy. As you’ll see in this video, Northland pro and professional guide Brad Hawthorne has the luxury of pursuing both on the same body of water, Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs.

Improving prospects, these species frequently inhabit the same climes: shoreline rock, shallow reefs and hard-bottomed zones with blended vegetation and rocks or gravel. Their desired depths (under 10-feet), temperature ranges (low to mid 60’s) and preferred structure are identical. With all of this in mind, Hawthorne rips from spot to spot, plucking active fish.  


Fishing this fast for aggressive quarry necessitates a bait that caters to early summer’s speed of life. To that, Hawthorne ties on a Northland Rippin’ Minnow. The high-speed lure combines a perfectly sculpted, winged jighead with baitfish profiled soft body. Mixing and matching colors to ultimately uncover the perfect pattern, Hawthorne rips and glides the bite, triggering savage strikes from post-spawn feeders. He also notes that because of the lure’s upright single hook, most snags are left on the bottom while the bait swims free.

Whether you’re pinpointing smallmouth bass or walleyes, or both, you’ll want to add Northland Rippin’ Minnows to your summertime bag of tricks.