4 Spring Midwestern Fishing Hot Spots

By Debbie Hanson

Mar 18, 2014

The snow has melted, the trees are beginning to bud, and the drag on many a fishing reel has started to sing along with the birds.

The snow has melted, the trees are beginning to bud, and the drag on many a fishing reel has started to sing along with the birds. It's springtime in the Midwest! Two of the best species to target throughout the Midwest during this time of year are largemouth bass and walleye since they start to move into shallower waters in preparation for spawning. While the spawning period for each species and location will vary depending on conditions such as weather and water temperature, these four Midwestern fishing hot spots are worth a visit when the weather starts to warm up.


  1. Lake of Egypt, Illinois. Located six miles south of Marion, Illinois, Lake of Egypt is a prime spot for spring largemouth bass fishing. Lake of Egypt is a 2300-acre reservoir that has an average depth of 18 feet. Since the lake water is used to cool the power plant, the discharge tends to make the average water temperature during the spring months higher than other lakes in this area. Lake of Egypt is privately-owned by the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative, which means access for fishing is only provided through one of three marinas: Pyramid Acres, Mack's Lake of Egypt Marina or Egyptian Hills Marina.

  2. Leech Lake, Minnesota. As the third largest lake in the state of Minnesota (112,000 acres), in the city of Walker and partially within the Chippewa National Forest, Leech Lake is a good place to target spring walleye due to the rocky bottom. One of the suggested spring fishing techniques on Leech Lake is to drop a green or chartreuse jig and minnow combination in the basin area, near the shoreline. There are several public boat launch sites on the lake. Many of the resorts on the lake also have boat ramps that are available for a launch fee.

  3. Milford Lake, Kansas. Milford Reservoir is the largest man-made lake in the state of Kansas, near Junction City. The lake covers 16,000-acres and is an ideal place for family fishing trips since there are campgrounds, swimming beaches, boat ramps, picnic shelters, marinas, and hiking trails on it's shorelines. Largemouth bass can be targeted during the spring months while fishing coves and near the shorelines. Walleye fishing usually starts to heat up in April near the dam. There are twelve launch ramps located on the lake. The Milford State Park Marina launch and East Rolling Hills launch are the two longest ramps that generally remain usable under low water conditions.

  4. Mississippi River, Iowa. Fishing one of the many Mississippi River backwater lakes during the spring months for largemouth bass can be a lot of fun with consistent action. Just keep in mind that the fish will stay in deeper pockets until the water temperature reaches about 55 degrees. Pool 19 of the Upper Mississippi River, near Keokuk, in the southeastern section of the state is a good spot to target largemouth bass. Look for submerged logs, stumps and brush piles in areas where there is no heavy current. Try pumpkin or watermelon soft plastic worms or lizards rigged Texas-style.

Now that you know about a few freshwater fishing hot spots in the Midwest, check to be sure you have the right gear and an up-to-date fishing license for the state you plan to visit.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.