The LeSabre

Sartell Anglers Corner: Cooking Fish

How to Fry Up Some Killer Fillets


Peyton Henkensiefken

Frying Fish is also a great way to spend time with friends and family.

Fish is one of my favorite things to eat.  It is something I learned how to cook when I was just a little guy. My favorite fish to eat are walleye, crappie, perch and bluegills.

There are two ways I like to make fish, they are both similar. The first way is the one I learned first.

For this first recipe you will need first of all, fish. Fillet them however you like. Then I like to put the fillets into a bowl with cold water and some ice, this will help draw some of the blood and that kind of stuff out of the meat. 

Next you are going to want to crack some eggs into a bowl and break the yokes up. You are also going to need to crush up Saltine and Club crackers.

Start by dipping the fillet into the egg, flip it so both sides are covered. Next put the fillet into the cracker crumbs, again make sure both sides are covered. Then put the finished product onto a plate until it is time to fry them up. 

The next recipe you are going to want some Frank’s Red Hot, and flour. For this recipe you will dip the fillets into the Frank’s as if it was the egg. Then put the fillet into the flour, similar to the cracker crumbs. Again put these on a plate until it’s time to fry them.

When it comes to actually frying the fish, you are going to need vegetable oil. Pour the vegetable oil into a frying pan so it just covers the fillets. Next place the fillets into the hot oil, it should bubble up around each fillet, that is how you know the oil is hot enough. When the fillet starts to turn golden brown, it is time to flip them. When both sides are golden brown the fillet is cooked. 

As for sides, I like to have some little potatoes, beans, and white buttered bread. I also like to have tartar sauce to dip the fish in.

If you can prepare this meal everybody will be so impressed. It is one of my all-time favorite meals when family comes around, so enjoy.

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers Corner: Color Selection

Picking the Right Colors for Beginner Anglers


Peyton Henkensiefken

These are some of the colors that were suggested in the article.

There are all sorts of crazy colors out there when it comes to different types of hard baits and soft plastics. You don’t need to have every color though. There are only a few colors that I believe every bass angler should have in their arsenal.

The first color group is going to be the greens, browns, and more natural colors. The main one is green pumpkin; this is one of the best colors in my opinion, when it comes to natural lakes. It works very well in clear, clean water, and on days when the sun is shining. 

The next color is going to be a light brown, or “pumpkin seed” color. This is also good in natural lakes and clean water. I mostly use this for fishing on breaklines.

Along with green pumpkin, I always suggest green pumpkin with some red flakes in it. This green is generally a little bit lighter, and more translucent. And the slight red coloring in it makes it something that a lot of fish just can’t resist. 

The next color group is more of the blues, and blacks, more dirty water, cloudy day colors. The most well known color is junebug, this is a great dirty water color. It is slightly purple but has some blue, and teal flakes in it.

Another blue color is black blue. Black blue is also very popular in dirty water, it is on plastics generally half blue, and half black. I really like this color when it comes to flipping cover, like pads, rice and sometimes reeds. 

Those are colors that are great for soft plastics and some hard baits. 

When it comes to top water baits, there are two colors that I use. Black and white. Keep it simple when you are throwing topwater baits, use a white on a cloudy day and black on a sunny day.

As for the hard baits, I like to keep reds, whites, pinks, and blue. I like to the reds for when you are trying to imitate crawfish, because they generally have a more red color to them. 

I like whites and pinks mostly when it comes to smallmouth. Those are colors that they can’t seem to resist, and when you get your timing down, you can have a great day on the water. 

The blue hard baits I like for super clear and clean water, they usually have a little extra flash and the fish can see them from a mile away. 

So, when it comes to color selection, keep it simple. Gain confidence in a few basic colors, and then slowly you can work in some of those more crazy wild colors. 

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers’ Corner: MN fish


Peyton Henkensiefken

Largemouth Bass caught by Nick Greer and Peyton Henkensiefken

Looking for a new hobby? How about a new challenge? Fishing might be the perfect thing for you. 

Fishing is something you can do your whole life, and every day on the water will be different. This makes it challenging; it’s also why most anglers enjoy fishing so much. 

Living in Minnesota, there are several fish species to be caught, along with an incredible amount of techniques to catch those fish. 

Senior Nick Greer said, “My favorite fish to catch is largemouth bass, I mostly catch ‘em on a Texas rigged creature bait.”

Largemouth bass are found in almost all Minnesota lakes and rivers, making them a very popular fish. There are many different techniques to catch these fish. 

Sophomore Dylan Welle shared his opinion, “ I like casting a lot. Sight Fishing is probably my favorite technique. I love using the ned rig, jig, chatterbait, and spooks. I enjoy catching smallmouth bass most.”

Smallmouth bass are similar to a largemouth. They choose to hide in different cover, they particularly like rocks. You can catch these using many techniques as well. Most anglers choose to use more finesse type baits.  Smallmouth can be more of a challenge, but hooking up with a big one will sure get your heart pumping.

There is also the Minnesota State Fish, the walleye. Our PE  teacher Mr. Sailor said, “I like catching walleye mostly, that’s what I grew up fishing for. Most of the time I drift for them.”

Walleye are less populated in lakes compared to the largemouth and smallmouth bass. If you are looking to do some walleye fishing you can head to Mille Lacs Lake. Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota is also a very popular destination for walleye anglers. 

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers Corner: Shore Fishing

Shore Fishing Ponds, Lakes Rivers, and Streams


Peyton Henkensiefken

These are the three rods I would bring, the left one is for the finesse baits, the middle is for texas rigs and jigs, and the right is for the moving baits

Peyton Henkensiefken
These are some of the baits that I would bring along with me.

Not everybody has a boat to fish out of. This shouldn’t stop anybody from trying to fish. There are plenty of opportunities in our area to fish from the bank. You can fish ponds, rivers and lakes from the shore. 

In the Sartell community, there are many ponds that hold fishable populations of largemouth bass. We are also very lucky, because the Mississippi river runs right through town. 

When I go to fish a pond, lake, river or stream from the bank there are a couple baits that always come with. The first one would be a jig, 90% of the time it is going to be a ⅜ ounce jig. I suggest bringing three colors, and two of each color. Black blue, green pumpkin, and brown. Jigs are a very versatile bait that can be fished in any water depth, water clarity and any cover. Jigs can be fished on the bottom or you can use them as a swim jig.  Most importantly, they catch fish!

The next bait types I always have with me are Texas rigged soft plastics. This could be soft stick bait, a creature bait or a soft plastic worm. These are similar to a jig in the sense that they are fished on the bottom, except a Texas rigged plastic will have a more finesse look. Again I would bring a blue, green pumpkin and a more brown color.

The third bait type I would have along would be a very finesse style. This could be a ned rig, wacky rig or neko rigged stick bait, shaky head, or drop shot. These super finesse type techniques would be used when the bite is tough. Fishing these on the bottom and fishing them very slow will most of the time be the most beneficial. For these styles and techniques, green pumpkin, blues, purples and even an orange color would work.

Lastly, it is always a good idea to have some sort of moving or reaction type bait. Examples would be a swimbait, chatterbait, spinnerbait, crankbait or a swim jig. These types of baits are going to be fished faster and can be fished from the bottom all the way to the surface of the water. For these moving baits, white is always a good choice. For the crankbaits, a red color will work as well. For the swimbait, swim jig and swimbait, blues, blacks and green pumpkins work extremely well. 

When fishing from the shores, I usually bring three rods with me, one spinning rod and two baitcasters. I would bring one spinning rod for the super finesse baits, I would put 20 pound braid with a 10 pound fluorocarbon leader. This rod for me would be a 7 foot medium power rod.

The first baitcaster would be for the jig and texas rigged baits. This would be a 7 foot medium heavy power rod. I would put 15 to 17 pound fluorocarbon line on this one.

As for the moving baits rod, I prefer a slightly longer rod, about 7’2” medium power rod. For this I would put 15 pound fluorocarbon line on.

Hopefully, these tips will help you fish offshore.

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers’ Corner: Rods and Reels

Beginners Rod and Reel Recommendations


Peyton Henkensiefken

There are many rods you can choose from.

Summer is approaching quickly.  If you are looking to get into fishing, you are gonna need a couple of rods and reels. We will go over some of the cheaper options and some of the higher quality options.

Now if you are just starting to get into fishing you don’t need much. You can easily get by with one or two rod and reel combos. One spinning combo and one bait cast combo.

A good starting rod for anglers of all ages is a spinning rod. For the cheap option, I would recommend an Abu Garcia Vengeance. This 7 foot medium power spinning rod is a very versatile option for all beginner anglers. 

The reel I would pair with the Vengeance would be a Source K from 13 Fishing. This specific reel has a gear ratio of 5.1:1, which means that the spool of line will turn 5.1 times after every full rotation of the reel handle.

That is the cheaper option for a spinning rod and reel combo, which would be roughly $80. Next, we will get into the more expensive, higher quality option.

Starting with the rod again, the St. Croix Bass X rod is very high quality. I again would recommend a 7 foot rod, this one you could get either a medium or a medium-heavy power. 

As for the reel, a Daiwa Fuego LT is an excellent option. This reel comes in a 5.2:1 gear ratio or a 6.2:1, both are good options. 

So those are some recommendations for spinning rods and reels, next up will be bait cast options.

We are going to start with the cheap option for a bait cast rod. A Berkley Lightning Rod. For beginners, a 7 foot medium heavy power bait casting rod is always a great option. 

A cheap option for a bait casting reel is a Pflueger Trion. This reel comes in a 7.3:1 gear ratio. Bait casters can be slightly more difficult to operate.  Before using it on the water, it is always a good idea to take it out and practice in your backyard. 

The more expensive bait casting rod I would recommend is an Abu Garcia Veritas. Again a 7 foot medium heavy power rod is a solid choice. You could get a 7’3” if you feel you’d like that little extra length, which would make your casting more accurate. 

Lastly, the more expensive option for a bait casting reel would be a Daiwa Tatula 100. This reel comes in gear ratios 6.3:1, 7.1:1 and 8.1:1. Any of these are good options, it will vary person to person depending on which you prefer, or what technique you will be using it for. 

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers’ Corner: Research

How to Research a New Body of Water



On the left side is the Google Earth Image of the Lake, the right side is from the Minnesota DNR lake survey.

One of the most important, and oftentimes underlooked parts of bass fishing doesn’t even happen on the water. This is the time before you ever even get to the water, sitting at home:  the research.

There are a couple things I look at while I am researching to prepare myself to get on the water and be as efficient and successful as possible. First before doing anything, you have got to pick the body of water you want to fish.

When I’m looking for a new lake, I first start on the DNR website. I look at if the lake has public water access. I also look at the vegetation that may be listed for that particular lake. They do surveys of the fish species and size in almost every lake in Minnesota, and these oftentimes tell me if the lake is worth fishing. These surveys can tell you what the main forage is, which will help you in choosing what baits to use.

Once I have found the target lake, I jump onto Google Earth. I look for any sort of emergent vegetation, like pads, rice or reeds. I also like to see if there are any visible points, corners, or small creeks that run in or out of the lake. All of these places should hold fish. Looking at Google Earth also helps with familiarizing yourself with the lake, rather than just going out blind and having no idea what the layout of the lake looks like.

Google Earth can also give you a good idea what the water color and clarity is going be. Knowing the water clarity and color is very important when it comes to bait selection, you can then decide if you need to fish light colors, or dark colors.

One of the most important parts of researching for a day on the water is looking at the weather. You need to know what mother nature is going to throw at you so you can be prepared. Paying attention to the weather conditions can help you predict which spots are going to produce the highest quantity of fish.

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers’ Corner: Bass Fishing

Baits That All Anglers Should Learn


Peyton Henkensiefken

From left to right; Jig, Walking Frog, Neko Rig, Spinnerbait

 There are many different techniques when it comes to bass fishing, but here are a couple that all anglers should learn to use.

First, would be a jig, which I believe is one of the most versatile baits out there. There are many different styles and types of jigs.  You have swim jigs, football heads, flipping jigs and many more. There’s also many companies that produce jigs, but at the end of the day when you are just getting started, any jig will work. 

You can fish a jig in almost any cover. You can fish it on the breaklines with a slow hopping retrieve. It could be flipped in pads, rice, reeds, or lay down trees. It is one of the best and most popular baits for fishing docks as well. 

The next technique all anglers should learn to use is a wacky rigged worm, or a neko rig. A wacky rig is one of the easiest and inexpensive techniques out there. You take any soft plastic stick bait and a small 1 or 2 sized hook. The neko rig is basically the same thing, you just add a nail weight to the fat end of the stick bait. 

Neko and wacky rigs can be fished in the same locations. They are very good early spring baits when the spawn is happening. They can be fished around docks and lay down trees. They work well on the edges of pad and rice flats. If you find a breakline that doesn’t have super thick heavy cover, they will work well.

The third technique I think all anglers should learn to use is some sort of bladed moving bait. This could be a chatter bait or a spinnerbait. These are two baits that are excellent in the spring and in the fall, when water temperatures are about 50 degrees to 65 degrees. They will work still in the warmer water, the fish will just be a little more picky with what they want to eat. 

These two baits work extremely well in the springtime when the pad and rice flats aren’t fully grown in. You can swim them across the tops of the vegetation that is there. If you ever have a time when you can see baitfish surfacing, that would also be a good time for one of these 2 baits.

Another technique all anglers should learn is a top water frog. Like the jig, there are several different producers of these and a few types: popping frogs, walking, and gliding. All of these are very good options and will all catch fish. I personally prefer a SPRO walking frog. Topwater frogs will produce all year and will be one of the most visual and exciting bites you get.

Frogs are really nice for working pad and rice flats.  They slide right over all the cover and very rarely get stuck. They also work fairly well on shallow open water flats of grass or around lay down trees and docks. 

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers’ Corner: Spawning

Fishing Spawning Bass


Peyton H

These are some of the baits that were talked about.

Spring time can be one of the most fun times to go bass fishing, at the same time it can be one the most difficult times to actually catch fish. The fish can move from one area of the lake to a totally different depth and area in a very short period of time. Bait selection is extremely crucial this time of year.

In the spring, bass are spawning, and there are three stages of the spawn. Prespawn, spawn, and post spawn. 

The prespawn is early spring, from the time the ice is off the lakes until the water temperature reaches about 60-62 degrees. Fish can be found in areas leading to big shallow flats. This can be in water depths from 14 to 4 feet of water.  This will depend on the body of water you are on. 

In the prespawn, there are a handful of baits that I use. Most of the time I will use whites, or lighter, more dull colors. My go-to is a swimbait; these can be fished in all water depths. I use this mainly as a search bait to locate the fish. When fishing a swimbait, you can fish it really fast and reel it right back to the boat, or fish it slow and reel it slowly, maybe throw a couple of pauses in there.

Another bait I use frequently is a chatterbait. You can fish this the same way you would a swimbait. Those are two baits that work the middle part of the water column. The next two baits I use are a jig or a swim jig. A swim jig you can fish the same way as the swimbait and chatterbait, and it will be higher in the water column. The regular jig is fished on the bottom, and usually has a different head design and a more rounded hook. A wacky rigged senko is one of the last resorts in my opinion; it is the slowest of all of these techniques. 

Next, the fish will move into the spawn. This is when the fish are usually on their beds and laying eggs. The majority of the time spawning bass will be found in shallow areas that have deep water very close. Always be looking for the warmest water during the spring and current if you can as well. 

I will use all of the same baits during the spawn as I would in prespawn, along with a couple more additional baits and techniques. I would now be working in more baits that will fish the bottom better. This can be any Texas rigged soft plastic. Fish these slower on the bottom to agitate the fish more. Slow rolling a spinnerbait will also be very effective right now. As fun as it is catching the fish off of beds, longer casts will more likely than not allow you to catch more fish. Remember that the fish can hear you and see you, before you ever even know they are there. More finesse baits, like a drop shot, ned rig, or a shaky head will be very effective during these times as well.

The spawn can happen really fast.  It can start and finish in just a couple of days, and then the fish will go into their post spawn, summer time areas of the lake. The same shallow areas they spawned in will still hold fish, and not all fish spawn at the same time, but you can start looking at deeper weedlines for schooling fish. For more detail on this you can read my article on breaking down a new lake

A lot the same baits from the prespawn and spawn will play big roles in the summer and post spawn times. More of the bottom fishing baits, such as a jig, Texas rig, senko, drop shot, and ned rig will excel in the deep water. 


About the Writer
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

Sartell Anglers’ Corner: Types of Cover

How to Breakdown a New Lake When Bass Fishing


Peyton Henkensiefken

This is a very average Northern Minnesota lake that could be fished using the methods explained.

You can find largemouth bass in almost every lake across Minnesota. The hard part about catching them is pinpointing their exact location on that specific body of water.

There are several different types of cover that fish hide in, and several different depth ranges. 

To start breaking down a new lake, it is always a good idea to first study an aerial map. This will help you get a better understanding of the overall size and shape of the lake. It can also help you find points, corners and sunken islands on the lake, along with showing you where there could be a pad or rice flat, reeds, or a good stretch of docks. 

Personally I always like to start by fishing the breaklines. Breaklines are spots on the lakes where the weed, most often cabbage or coontail, stops growing. This depth can be anywhere from 8 to 16 and sometimes even up to 20 feet deep. The best places to find these breaklines are on points or in corners. You can also find these on sunken islands.

When fishing breaklines, baits that work the majority of the time are jigs or a Texas rigged craw bait.

Another popular place to catch bass is on small or even large pad or rice flats, which are shallow regions of the lake that rice or lily pads have grown. You can fish a lot of these areas without a bite. It is worth the wait because when you do finally get bit, it tends to be a big fish.

In these areas there are a couple of different techniques to catch fish.  The most popular area to throw a top water frog, or to use a Texas rig or a jig to punch through the thick mats of vegetation.

Reeds are always a good option for shallow water fish as well; they are also commonly called “pencil weeds” because of their tall and skinny shape. These are similar to pads or rice flats, you can fish a lot of them without a bite. If you can find reeds in slightly deeper water, like 8-10 feet.  Bass could very well be schooled up there which means there are several fish in that small area. In reeds you can flip a jig or a Texas rig.  You could also, if the reeds are thin enough, use a swimbait, buzzbait, or spinnerbait. 

My last resort on a new lake is to fish docks. It does matter what docks you choose to fish, not all docks are created equally. When dock fishing, I like to skip a jig under the dock.  You could do this with a Texas rig as well. You want to make sure you cast into the shadows of the dock or at the polls that hold the dock in place. 

Not all areas are created equally.  If you are fishing any of these areas, it is extremely important to really pay attention to the type of cover the fish are relating to. Along with the depth the fish are found in, this is especially important for fishing pad and rice flats, and reeds. 

Another important thing to pay attention to is the bottom.  You need to know if it is a hard bottom, or if it is a soft, muddy bottom. Noticing these types of things takes time and experience. 

The most important thing to do if you are trying to get really good at fishing is time on the water and of course having fun.

About the Contributor
Photo of Peyton Henkensiefken
Peyton Henkensiefken, Journalist

Peyton Henkensiefken is glad to be a senior at Sartell High School and is looking forward to being done with high school. He loves to fish and hunt. He's...

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Sartell Anglers’ Corner