Next week on Thursday, June 17th the fifth season of the Champions Tour will begin on the Whitefish Chain in Crosslake, MN. Anglers will takeoff out of Moonlight Bay on the east end of the chain. 14 lakes make up this sprawling fishery that is well known to Midwest bass anglers.
The Champions Tour visited the Whitefish Chain in 2017 for what was a “Champions Tour Open” at the time. Current Champions Tour angler Arnold Helgerson won the event which qualified him for the Championship that year and started what has been a successful Champions Tour run for Helgerson.
Whitefish offers bass anglers just about anything they could dream of in terms of habitat. You can catch both smallmouth and largemouth, shallow, deep and everything in between. There are seemingly endless weed edges, points and turns where pods of largemouth could be found here in mid-June. There is also a wide variety of shallow cover from docks to pads and reeds.
If you have been on the water as of late or stepped outside for that matter, there is one factor that you have most definitely encountered and that is the extreme early June heat Minnesota has had. Temperatures in the triple digits and consistently in the mid to high 90’s has water temperatures soaring. These temperatures greeted us around the tail end of the spawn and seems to have brought an end to that phase. It poses the question that if it will drive fish deep sooner than most years. By the book, you would think that water temperatures into the 80’s would begin to have fish setting up on their summer locations where our anglers could locate schools of largemouth with jig worms, dropshots, Senko’s and other classic weedline presentations. Dock fishing will also be a major player on Whitefish. There are hundreds if not thousands of docks on the chain that provide bass with shade and cover. Plenty of anglers will certainly be running this pattern.
Only time will tell, but when the Reel LiveWell App opens next Thursday morning, there’s no doubt that Champions Tour anglers will be putting their boat officials to work. Whitefish is the first stop of three regular season Champions Tour tournaments this season. Lake Minnetonka will greet us in July, followed by Pelican Lake in Orr, MN. After those three events, our championship field will be set and a new Skeeter Bass Boat powered by a Yamaha Outboard will be on the line.