“They’ll Be Biting” at Great Lakes Opener on Mississippi River Out of La Crosse - Major League Fishing
“They’ll Be Biting” at Great Lakes Opener on Mississippi River Out of La Crosse
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“They’ll Be Biting” at Great Lakes Opener on Mississippi River Out of La Crosse

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April 1, 2021 • Joel Shangle • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

LA CROSSE, Wi. – If Tom Monsoor expresses a strong case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for the April 17 opener of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division presented by TINCUP Whiskey opener on the upper Mississippi River, it’s a pretty good indicator that the fishing will be good.

Monsoor – whose career resume includes six Great Lakes Division BFL wins and a Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit title on the Upper Mississippi out of La Crosse – expects the fishing to be excellent when the BFL arrives in his hometown in mid-April.

“Man, I wish I was fishing that, but I’m going to be out of town – they’re going to be biting!” Monsoor said. “The water isn’t high yet, those fish are all going to be hungry, and I think it’s going to be really, really good fishing. Spring and fall are the best times to fish that river, and I’d really expect it to be on fire.”

Tournament Details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division

Mississippi River

La Crosse, Wisconsin

April 17, 2021

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What to Expect

Tournament waters for the April 17 event are Pools 7, 8 and 9 of the Mississippi River, with takeoff going out of Pool 8 in La Crosse. Those three pools of the Mississippi cover a sprawling, nearly endless array of back channels, laydowns, riprap, wind dams, sand drops and various other cover that provides anglers opportunities to spread out over miles and miles of river.

“That river should be high right now, but unless we get some torrential rains between now and April 17, things should be stable,” Monsoor said. “I don’t know any better way to say it than this: They’ll be biting. The more stable that water there, the easier the fish will be to catch.”

According to Monsoor, the abovementioned water conditions (“stable” being the key word) should produce lights-out opportunities for the BFL field.

Both largemouth and smallmouth will be in the mix, and Monsoor says that the quality of both should be high.

“They’re going to find some big fish, both largemouth and smallmouth – they’ll be fat and full of eggs,” he says. “This is the best time of the year to catch a big fish.”

Baits and Techniques

Monsoor being the master of the swim jig, it’s no surprise that the first bait he calls out for the Upper Mississippi is a swim jig. That said, he expects everything from vibrating jigs to jerkbaits to crankbaits to spinnerbaits to shaky heads to be effective on the stereotypical cover and structure.

“Fish will be on rocks, wood, grass – all of the stuff that’s always been good on the Mississippi River,” Monsoor said. “Heck, I saw a guy catching them on a frog already – I know that sounds crazy because it’s 22 degrees here this morning – but you might even see a little topwater bite if we get a spell of warm weather.”