Fishing Report

December 1

Weather permitting the bite has been good!  Mostly saugers on the St. Croix but if you find them they can be grouped tight.  John and I caught over two limits of fish in 4.5 hours yesterday.

John "The overgrown Lephrechuan" having fun as always on the Croix with a big sauger. The "saug dogs" have been biting well!
John “The overgrown Leprechaun” having fun  – as always -on the Croix with a big sauger. The “saug dogs” have been biting well! This fish was released.

So looking back on how late historically I have fished the open water in a boat was Dec. 7th.  That day was very slooowww, however the day before (the 6th) was very good. The weather had just changed that fast and the bite stopped dead.  I believe it was a cold front stopping it all.  It was one of those times that ” you should’ve been here yesterday!”  Looking at the extended forecast this is likely the end now though as the river will ice over to stay by the end of the week.

Big walleye are often just one the edges of where the saugers hang out.
Big walleye are often just one the edges of where the saugers hang out. Released.

You can see from the pic above that the eyes are well feed this season.  It is normal to find regurgitated shad in your live well coming out of kept fish.  The enormous balls of shad that populated the river seemingly in infinite quantities are now hard to find.  Make no mistake the fish will find the remaining shad. So even in December – find the bait, find the fish.

Not sure why but this season was slow for smallies as a whole, 2017 was not the best bronze back year for me.  IN the last three weeks we have bumped into these fish though:

Wayne with a 19" smallmouth bass. many anglers consider the "bronze back" the best fighter in freshwater. released.
Wayne with a 19″ smallmouth bass. many anglers consider the “bronze back” the best fighter in freshwater. released.

Last November we had some very nice and warm days and frankly the fishing was easy.  These are the days when its good to get the younger anglers on board and away from the incessant video games.

A haul from last November. These were caught on Rapala original floaters. All fish under 20"s .
A haul from last November – we had a good morning fishing. These were caught on Rapala original floaters. All fish under 20″s .

The water level is 676.2 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. This is down 2′ from last report.  The river is projected to level.

The water temperature is 35.5.  This is down 4.5 degrees from last report.  The river will ice over next week.

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water and freedom! contact me anytime regarding this freedom!!

November 9, 2017

Dressed for fishing I have been getting odd looks recently while in my truck with boat in tow.  For the average fan I can see how fishing in this weather would  be odd, but for the fisherman in the know November is prime time to fish.

We have had some stellar trips limits of walleye, sauger, plus white bass.
Client Bret starting out the day last Friday on a great note! We have had some stellar trips limits of walleye, sauger, plus white bass.Time the day right weather wise and the day is nice. C & R.
Its tempting to eat fish like this one over 20"s but when the bite is hot, eat the smaller ones. It pays dividends to be a conservation minded angler.
Its tempting to eat fish like this one over 20″s but when the bite is hot, in my opinion one should eat the smaller ones. It pays dividends to be a conservation minded angler.
More throw back fish. This trip the guys landed over three limits of keeper walleye and sauger. another throw back.
More throw back fish. This trip the guys landed over three limits of keeper walleye and sauger. Plus BIG white bass.  Very fun when the white bass are going nuts.

The best part of the bite right now is the HUGE variety of ways to catch fish.

paul didn't believe jigging Raps would catch them. Well look who is a believer now! Released.
Paul didn’t believe Jigging Raps would catch them. Well look who is a believer now! After he landed this one on a jig n rap. Released.
I am seeing some very nice sauger right now. A big sauger is over 18+". Caught on a Firetiger Rapala Original Minnow.
I am seeing some very nice sauger right now. A big sauger is over 18+”. Caught on a Firetiger Rapala Original Minnow.

So as mentioned before these are the techniques catching fish:

Jig n minnow, Jig n Rap, Spoons, Blade baits, three way rigs with bait, three way rigs with Original Rapalas (pictured above), rigging minnows, jig with soft plastics, jig with soft plastic and minnow (yes it can help get a bite it is not illegal to use a minnow with plastics – lol  a friendly shot at plastics purists…), leadline (when above freezing).  The above list is why this is such a fun time. THAT IS A LOT! 18 – 34 feet deep.

I didn’t even mention casting, vertical , or dragging. So with all the techniques above triple the options – not trolling its hard to cast a 47 size bait caster 🙂  

Since my last report…The river is down 4″ and is at 678.1 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. The river is projected to level.

Since my last report…The water temperature is 40 (3 degrees colder) with todays weather and fridays weather it could fall a lot more…

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water and freedom!

November 1, 2017

Oranges and reds of Halloween time leaves blowing in the yard has quickly turned into snow on the ground with a nip in the air.  A bit of sun will melt away the white with late fall conditions of the cooling earth. As far a fishing goes my last trip was excellent with good action and nice sized fish.

Ed dressed quite rightly shows a nice walleye. catch and release caught.
Ed dressed quite rightly shows a nice walleye. catch and release caught.

If you are prepared clothing wise its a good time – but underdressed – its cold.  Looking at the extended forecast I see a few mid 40s days lows in the 20s. No arctic blast but it is cooling fast.

Ed and I had a ball as well as white tips we caught saug dogs and some huge white bass. The bite was hot especially when it was lightly snowing! It was a great morning trip half day.
Ed and I had a ball!! As well as white tips we caught saug dogs and some huge white bass. The bite was hot especially when it was lightly snowing! It was a great morning trip half day. Released.

This is my favorite time of the year it is quiet on the water and we can get into some great pole bending.

good eats!
Good eats! Released into Crisco Bay. One sauger 14.5″ the rest walleye 16″ to 18″s.

Do not be afraid to go with a guide if you have no experience. Speaking for myself I will help you as much or as little as you wish. My “students” especially the new ones to angling do very well in the boat. Gals almost always out fish the guys!

Here is Ross he was out with his pals Jesse and Tom. Both had much more experience. Yep RToss was a newbie to walleye fishing never caught on and here he is with his personal best and also caught the most eyes on the trip! another really fun trip. Great group.
Here is Ross he was out with his pals Jesse and Tom. Both had more experience walleye fishing. Yet Ross, new to walleye fishing, never caught one, and here he is with a good one and he also caught the most eyes on the trip! Another really fun trip. Great group. over 20″ – released.

Since my last report…The river is down 4′ and is at 678.5 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. The river is projected to level.

Since my last report…The water temperature is 43 (10 degrees colder).

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

October 17, 2017 St Croix River Fishing

The weather patterns have stabilized and the water is barely falling not many people fishing though the bite has picked up for walleye and sauger.

Mike out with his two sons for a morning on the St. Croix River. Here is a nice 18" eye. Mike landed this on a crawler. Fun trip.
Mike out with his two sons for a morning on the St. Croix River. Here is a nice 18″ eye. Mike landed this on a crawler. Fun trip.

In the outdoors it is easy to look at the calendar and expect certain conditions to be present, but in fact “mother nature” is often weeks ahead or behind schedule.  This is why it pays to fish the present conditions and not the calendar.  This being said points to why my guide trips are still catching fish on summer time baits like crawlers.

Bro's Dave (left) and Dan. Dan was the man IMHO as he boated the most. out with dad Mike.
Bro’s Dave (left) and Dan. Dan was the man IMHO as he boated the most. out with Dad Mike.

When one technique doesn’t work I do other techniques or just fish the way certain clients enjoy best.

Paul lovess to Troll! He does it well. Catch and Release.
Paul loves to Troll! He does it well. Catch and Release.

So the bite has improved we are seeing bigger fish and numbers more keepers coming in.

Jim is happy with with limit of eaters. saugers and a walleye. Colors are starting to reach peak. Look at that blue sky I was a really nice day.
Jim is happy with with limit of eaters. saugers and a walleye. Colors are starting to reach peak. Look at that blue sky – it was a really nice day.

Since my last report…The river is down 1′ and is at 682.5 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. The river is projected to level.

Since my last report…The water temperature is 53 (3 degree colder).

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

October 10, 2017 St Croix River Fishing

Fall temperatures are on us now and the water is slowing cooling

Its always a treat to take out a father and son! Here is Brennen with a nice St. Croix Sauger ready to go home to eat. Rob his father is a great guy avid angler who loves Muskie!
Its always a treat to take out a father and son! Here is Brennen with a nice St. Croix Sauger ready to go home to eat. Rob his father is a great guy avid angler who loves Muskie and the outdoors!

The river is a great place to fish for a few reasons like water quality, fish diversity, and scenic appeal.

Earl with a good fighting smallmouth bass. Earl caught this on the cast shortly after catching about a five pound channel cat from the same spot he cast to. The river is diverse.
Earl with a good fighting smallmouth bass. Earl caught this on the cast shortly after catching about a five pound channel cat from the same spot he cast to. The river is diverse. Earl runs an art gallery in Amery Wisconsin and is big in the Turkey hunting/calling scene.

Lots of species to catch…the on going theme of this site is ” You never know what your going to catch on the …..”

Dan out with his father Bill and brother Mark. Dan always finds a way over the years to get the big one and this trip he did as well :) Sturgeon is a battle on a walleye set up.
Dan out with his father Bill and brother Mark. Dan always finds a way over the years to get the big one and this trip he did as well 🙂 Sturgeon is a battle on a walleye set up.

Scenery. October morning on the river.

October morning about 7 am. 2017.
October morning about 7 am. 2017.  Pretty peaceful for a metro area fishery.

The fishing is not on fire yet.  The high water is actually moving slow and not concentrating fish the way I would like to see it. But the water is high and cooling and I am certain a good bite is near.  Once again we have caught fish about every way there is from trolling Rapala crankbaits to rigging bait to jigging to casting.  Fish are shallower now than normally this time of year with normal pool levels, and in the 8 to 20 foot range as opposed to a normal October depth would be far deeper.

Since my last report…The river is up 8′ and is at 683.5 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. The river is projected to level.

Since my last report…The water temperature is 56 (10 degree colder).

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

 

September 18, 2017 St Croix River Fishing

Good times on the river this last week with great weather and some decent catches!

Javier with a nice walleye - catch and release. Caught on a night crawler in 16 feet of water.
Javier with a nice walleye – catch and release. Caught on a night crawler in 16 feet of water. Catch N Release!
Here is Jeff with a very nice walleye! He was out with friends Patrick and Marty it was a nice trip with a good group of guys.
Here is Jeff with a very nice walleye! He was out with friends Patrick and Marty it was a nice trip with a good group of guys.  Catch N Release.

The bite has improved as of late, we are seeing many different species like big cats shown below.

Patrick with a big flathead catfish. The flathead is a meat eater and prays on live fish. This beast gave patrick a good battle!
Patrick with a big flathead catfish. The flathead cat is a meat eater and prays on live fish. This beast gave Patrick a good battle! Released.

In the last report here, I commented on how it was difficult to repeat catches, that is changing, as the fish are not moving through as fast. Though they are still on the move chasing baitfish.

Eating sized walleye are coming in better as of late.  Lots of sheepshead too, plus some white bass.

Ryan with an eater, not lots of giants in the St. Croix but nice walleye for sure. Catch and release.
Ryan with an eater, not lots of giants in the St. Croix but nice walleye for sure. Catch n release.

Caught fish from 14 to 30 feet deep using crankbaits, crawlers, and jigging as well.  The plastic bite is not here yet. Minnows will be a good bait as well anytime now.

Baitfish are still widely abundant and the water temps are dropping. In my opinion the best time to be on the water is when you need a sweatshirt to stay warm.  Cooler temps coming and Fall colors too.

Since my last report…The river is down 1.5′ and is at 675.5 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN.  The river is projected to level.

Since my last report…The water temperature is 66 (1 degree colder).

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

September 7, 2017 St Croix River Fishing

With slightly below normal temperatures in the last half of August and in the first part of September the water temperatures have cooled.  Presently the temperatures are in the mid 60s. As the bronze colored waters of the river cool the fishing bite for most species improves.

Even when the bite is slow a nice fish can surprises and show up were least executed sometimes.
Even when the bite is slow a nice fish can surprises and show up were least executed sometimes.  Mark caught this fish on a crawler in a spot where we caught more mooneye than walleye! Yes – Mooneye is a fish.

In the caption above  I mentioned mooneye. It was odd for about a week we caught mooneye everywhere…I have one old friend who likes Mooneye just because nobody else does…he would have had a ball. Back too WALLEYE.

Here is St. Croix Valley resident Roger with his old friend Bruce. Holding the trips finest catch of the day a nice WALL -eye. Nice catch Roger.
Here is St. Croix Valley resident Roger with his old friend Bruce. Holding the trips finest catch of the day a nice WALL -eye. Nice catch Roger.

The river went up four feet ten days ago and is on the descent.  It is still high but only by a couple feet. The flow is slow.  Baitfish can be seen everywhere – both on the surface and on the graph.

Once again the catching depths have been all over the board.   Depths from 15 feet to 30+ is where i have found fish.  This range does make some sense as the baitfish are “all over the board” too. We have been rigging with bait, jigging, and crankbait trolling.

Mike with a eater. One of the troubles this late summer fishing time frame presents is the "non repeat" factor. Often when fishing if you ghetr one you can get two. Then days when you get two it can be 3, 4, 5.... then you're really into them. Catch Rrpeatablilty has been difficult.
Mike with a eater. One of the troubles this late summer fishing time frame presents, is the “non repeat” factor. Often guiding when a customer lands one, we can get two. Then days when you get two it can be 3, 4, 5…. then you’re really into them!!! Catch repeatability has been difficult.  Good news is that will change very soon.
Mooneye on the bottom. photo credits Ropughfish.com
Mooneye on the bottom. Not too proud to say (a bet was involved) I have eaten a mooneye. I lost the bet when I said ” tastes like trout.”  The bet was that they taste terrible.  I lost as the taste was fine –  but BONEY!  tons of bones.
photo credits Roughfish.com

From my last report:

The river is up 1.5′ and is at 677.0 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. In this time frame the water level was 680.00 and is now falling.

The water temperature is 67 (5 degrees colder).

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

August 17, 2017 St Croix Summer Time fishing

Lorraine with a nice smallmouth bass from the St. Croix - catch and release.
Lorraine with a nice smallmouth bass from the St. Croix – catch and release.  Her hubby landed a BIG mouth.  see next pic…

Lorraine with a nice smallie!

Smallmouth Bass are an ever present fish to make a trip worthwhile, I thank the Lord for them!

You never know what you’ll catch on the river!

Bigmouth Buffalo. A native specie in Minnesota and Wisconsin Rivers.

Lauren with a Bigmouth Buffalo. A native specie in Minnesota and Wisconsin Rivers.  This 30 pounder was a pole bender.

The fish pictured above was one of four that we caught and three of the four were hooked in the mouth while jigging.  You get a bump – a hook set – then nothing just like bottom – then it moves. Pretty fun in my opinion.

All sizes on the river. A nice sunfish. In the late summer the sunfish come out to bite.
Here is a size contrast – All sizes on the river. A nice sunfish. In the late summer the sunfish come out to bite.

Sunfish can’t resist nightcrawlers, and for that matter other fish as well.

Ryan with a nice walleye - catch and release. Ryan was out with his Mother and son Joey. Ryan won the most fish competition. It was a slow day, but top ten weather day so kind of a wash.
Ryan with a nice walleye – catch and release. Ryan was out with his Mother and son Joey. Ryan won the most fish competition. It was a slow day numbers wise but Dad was the days Champ non the less!, It was top ten weather day – so kind of a wash.

The bite in the last couple trips has improved with the cooling water we are seeing not a lot of keeper sized fish but more, plus smaller ones that were not even biting. Again a better biting is happening.

We are seeing more nice walleye like this.
We are seeing more nice walleye like this.

 

August 4, 2017 St Croix Summer Time fishing

August walleye! Colton with a fish that made his day!
August walleye! Colton with a fish that made his day!

The St. Croix River fishing right now is what summer time fishing is – the gamefish are a lot harder to catch and the species you catch become more diverse.

Summertime catfish.
Summertime catfish. The Rapid City So. Dak. crew caught sunfish, saugers, and this nice cat.  Fish fry tonight at their rented cabin.  Fun fun trip.

The early mornings on the river are nice and quiet.  The river has a lot of places that are beautiful and relaxing.

Peaceful fishing
Peaceful fishing on the St. Croix

When targeting walleye and sauger, the  catches have been mainly saugers.  The saugers in the St. Croix are nice size though.  You will catch a lot of small ones too.

17.5" saugers are nice fish. Summertime saugers can save the day.
17.5″ saugers are nice fish. Summertime saugers can save the day.

The facts are that the walleye and bass are harder to catch in the middle of summer – it can be slow, but its still very nice to be out on the water plus other species keep the fishing interesting. If you are bent on being on the water at a peak bite time this is not one of those times.

From my last report, the river is about a foot lower and is at 675.5 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 77 (same).

 

July 14, 2017 St Croix Summer Time fishing

Chris with a solid smallmouth bass from the St. Croix - all my bass are released
Chris with a solid smallmouth bass from the St. Croix – all my bass are released

Summer is in full swing on the St. Croix and the weather has been hot and humid and then cool and dry. The bite has been all over the board just like the weather.

Smallies earn their reputation deservedly as fighters. Chris got this one on a tube bait.
Smallies earn their reputation deservedly as fighters. Chris got this one on a tube bait.

Huge schools of minnows can be seen basically in any depth and on structure and off of structure.  Fish hone in on the massive bait balls to gorge and chew they will often ignore your bait when the schools are so large.

Walleyes are harder to catch as of late but you can get enough for a fish fry still. Stefen landed this on on livebait.
Walleyes are harder to catch as of late but you can get enough for a fish fry still – it depends on the day. Stefen landed this one on livebait.
Josh with a 22" walleye - caught and released. Good fighter on six pound line!
Josh with a 22″ walleye – caught and released. Good fighter on six pound line!
Josh with another walleye - this one a eater. I voluntarily release walleye 20" . I wouldn't mind it as a rule btw.. Here is a good eater, the two had a good fish fry that night!
Josh with another walleye – this one a eater. I voluntarily release walleye 20″ . Here is a good eater, the two had a good fish fry that night!

Summer time is family fishing time.

Jen surrounded by Joe and Henry. Long time Ryan brought out his "Fam" for some fun on the water.
Jen surrounded by Joe and Henry. Long time client Ryan brought out his “Fam” for some fun on the water. Good times – Joe normally entertains with his songs but this time he must have forgot the lyrics!

From my last report, the river is about a foot lower and is at 676.1 feet above sea level  as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 77 (up 7 degrees).

 

June 29, 2017 St Croix Summer Time fishing

Everybody is happy that the 4th of July is on a Tuesday, so they can have a big extended holiday weekend.  The St. Croix River will be as busy as the weather forecast is good.  Rain will keep many away.  The first good weather prediction day and it will be very busy.

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Bill with his hands full – here are a pair of two nice St. Croix  River walleye.  Bill took out his grandson Martin and we had a very good time.  These two took home their limit of walleye, the bite was strong enough that we had 11 keepers in the box by 11 o’ clock!

Fishing has been good this week. Today was a little slower but overall we are seeing good numbers of fish, and some of them nice.

Here is Martin with his first walleye ever! Not a bad one for the first ever. :)
Here is Martin with his first walleye ever! Not a bad one for the first ever. 🙂

Livebait fishing is still going well for my boat. Livebait will put you in contact with a lot of differing species.  Like smallies.

There are many places on the St. Croix that smallmouth bass and walleyes reside together. Nobody really ever complains too loudly when a big smallmouth comes to play! Martin landed this one like a pro.
There are many places on the St. Croix that smallmouth bass and walleyes reside together. Nobody really ever complains too loudly when a big smallmouth comes to play! Martin landed this one like a pro.

Catfish, crappies you don’t know when they will show up.

Micaiah and his college buddy Leeland hit the water and we worked for them hit lots of places and ended the day with a very nice bag that they were satisfied with. This big crappies was memorable.
Micaiah and his college buddy Leeland hit the water and we worked for the bites – hit lots of places and ended the day with a very nice bag that they were satisfied with. This big crappies was memorable for Micaiah.

We are finding walleyes in the 20 foot range on average, but the way the river current works some fish are shallower and deeper – I know thats generic, but all the spots are different. The Croix is not like a depth range  for say Mille Lacs or other big lakes were the fish are really found often in a more clear cut depth range.  Ask any old river rat and they will say the same thing I am in this regard.

Leeland here with a nice walleye that hit a spinner rig. As an officer of the law Leeland brought this walleye into custody. Great trip with these two!
Leeland here with a nice walleye that hit a spinner rig. As an officer of the law Leeland brought this walleye into custody. Great trip with these two! caught from 20 fow.

From my last report, the river is just three feet high. 676.9 feet above sea level (down one foot) as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 70 (down 6 degrees)

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 4x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

June 17,  2017 St Croix Summer Time fishing

It is summer on the St. Croix people are catching fish and swimming in the water.  The pleasure boaters are out having a good time and the jet skis are getting a work out in.

Look at this Cat! Hal landed this on 6 pound test, the fish was hooked with a #6 Gamakatsu hook in the corner of its mouth. Hal said it was the best fight he has had fishing - " A total thrill!" When it came up we all gave a cheer.
Look at this Cat! Hal landed this on 6 pound test, the fish was hooked with a #6 Gamakatsu hook in the corner of its mouth. Hal said it was the best fight he has had fishing – ” Couldn’t be better!” When it came up we all gave a cheer.
Hal in action. Limit Creek "Smoothie" rod. Six pound Suffix line
Hal in action – on the massive cat.
Limit Creek “Smoothie” rod.
Six pound Suffix line

Hal’s son Will caught a nice channel cat as well, he was thrilled. The walleyes have been on a much better chew this week compared to the sheepshead rampage that happened last week as the sheeps went nuts.

Hal and Will limited out on walleye - June summertime spinner fishing.
Hal and Will limited out on walleye – June summertime spinner fishing.

People love to fish in the summer and the St. Croix is a nice getaway in the metro.

Zambie with a sweet walleye caught on a spinner rig. Great morning with Zambie and her son Carl.
Zambie with a sweet walleye caught on a spinner rig. Great morning with Zambie and her son Carl. Released

We had some serious action on Zambies trip not all keeper size but the walleye went bonkers for spinner rigs.

DCIM100GOPROG0251028.JPG
Quality walleyes swim in the Croix.  Released.
The perch blade is A good spinner rig blade pattern.
The perch blade is a good spinner rig blade pattern.

The river is just three feet high. 678.0 feet above sea level (down one foot) as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 76 (up 4 degrees)

 

June 8th St Croix River Walleye Fishing

With no rain for almost two weeks the river is dropping fast and the walleyes are on the move  to new locations.

Jim holds the best of the day. He was out with his friends on the St. Croix the weather was a lot better than the bite but we managed good ones.
Jim holds the best keeper of the day. He was out with his friends on the St. Croix the weather great, and was a lot better than the bite but we managed enough good ones at the end to make the day a success.

Last week when the weather got HOT! – the bite cooled. Right now in early June the weather is fantastic and the fishing slower.

Walleyes on ice in the cooler! Mid week this week. Livebait still catching fish!
Walleyes on ice in the cooler! Mid week this week. Livebait still catching fish! Leeches and craaawwwwlers.

I have crankbait fished some with poor results – that will change sometime soon. The month of May was so good that the bite just “corrects” itself and comes down to earth… It can’t be great forever… The weather is warm and light winds with low humidity. A true summer feel right now.

The big fish are in the St. Croix, this fish bit on a nightcralwer.
The big white tips are in the St. Croix, this fish bit on a nightcralwer – good fighter. C & R.

I have had nothing but walleye trips, with no real chance to fish for smallmouth.  Should be real soon though – smallies are a blast.  I have some great plastics from Prescott bait Co. I can’t wait to try. www.prescottbaitcompany.com . They are a small company and make hand poured great STUFF!!  I have used their baits for walleye on Pool 4. They work. The smallie stuff should be just a good…

The river is high. 679.0 feet above sea level (down four feet!) as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 72 (up 8 to 10 degrees!!! )

 

May 30, 2017 St. Croix River Walleye Fishing

Walleye Rod bending on the St. Croix River last weekend.
Walleye Rod bending on the St. Croix River last weekend. The rod is a Limit Creek “Smoothie” LCS69MLF, this model has been in my boat for over ten years. They work period. Looking for a new rod under a 100.00 You won’t find a better one as far as I am concerned.
Get the Net! I got the NET! Nice walleye!
Get the Net! I got the NET! Nice walleye!

The bite has been about as good as you can expect from a metro fishery, we have been able to  catch fish very well nearly every trip this month of May.

19" walleye a good one in my opinion. Released to grow and bite another day.
19″ walleye a good one in my opinion. Released to grow and bite another day.
She even took the hooks out!! That's a keeper fella's.
She even took the hooks out!! That’s a keeper fella’s.

The bite will come down to earth in June but it still should be good. May has been great, anytime I can guide exclusively via livebait rigs – that is a good bite. Crankbaits are a speciality of mine and they are needed no doubt, but customers really like rigging – so if the cranks are not needed, I don’t crank.  You have to give the fish what they want.

Noah and his father Kary. We had a ball. Noah wanted to know if I needed an "apprentice". He had a
Noah and his father Kary. We had a ball. Noah wanted to know if I needed an “apprentice”. I have guided Kary for 19 years, He is on the move going to Texas for health reasons.  Kary wanted us three to get in the boat before he had to move on.  Special morning  – and we limited out by noon.

Did you know you never fish the same water twice on the river? It always flows and moves on.  It might be the same “spot” , but the waters not the same. The river just keeps flowing on.

Like I said for a month livebait has been solid leeches and crawlers. Hard to beat on a Lindy Rig. 8 to 22 FOW.

The river is high. 683.2 feet above sea level (steady) as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 62 to 64 (down 2 degrees).

 

May 24, 2017 St. Croix River Walleye Fishing

The very good bite continues.  Recent rains and high water have not bother the bite as far as I can see.

I tell you what, there is nothing I enjoy better than when a father and son fishing trip turning into a catchin' trip! Brian and his son Axel really caught the fish. Axel had two of his other buddies along and it was a grand ol' time walleye fishing.
I tell you what, there is nothing I enjoy better than when a father and son fishing trip turns into a catchin’ trip! Brian and his son Axel really caught the fish. Axel had two of his other buddies along and it was a grand ol’ time walleye fishing!

Sometimes when you are walleye fishing you catch smallies. The season opens this Saturday so if you catch one it goes back.  It is legal to capture a quick image prior to release.

Tyler, Axels friend with a very nice fish that went into the box. The other friend was Gabe and he hammered on the fish!!!
Tyler, Axels friend with a very nice fish that went into the box. The other friend was Gabe and he hammered on the fish!!!

It is hard to beat livebait, crawlers and leeches – on a standard walleye “rig”.

Here is the half day box from WI resident Brian and his son Axel. On this trip we caught white bass and some smallies too!
Here is the half day box from WI resident Brian and his son Axel. On this trip we caught white bass and some smallies too! It was very fun.

So the river is on a “slow no wake” for the whole river right now from Taylor falls, MN to Prescott, WI.  The river will be locked down to closed throttle speeds for about five days I am guessing.

I did some trolling on a brief outing to stay on top of the bite and did well trolling. So the livebait success is not the only thing. As truly there never is ONE way to do it.

I have caught fish from 8 to 25 feet deep this last week.  The river is not like a lake where there is a “set” depth to be in.

The water has not dirtied as much as you would expect. Seems like the earth is sponging up the rain versus running off.

The river is high. 683.2 feet above sea level (up 3”) as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 64 to 66 (stable).

 

May 18, 2017 St. Croix River Walleye Fishing

Recent weather patterns have caused a more challenging bite, but its hard to say the bite isn’t good when you boat over 20 legal walleye , like we did this week!

Kirby shows a nice keeper walleye he caught on a jig and crawler technique I like to use. Its a cast and let the jig work over structure and lift to drop. Then you get a whap! Kirby caught a lot this way.
Kirby shows a nice keeper walleye he caught on a jig and crawler technique I like to use. Its a cast and let the jig work over structure and lift to drop. Then you get a whap! Kirby caught a lot this way.

We have been livebait fishing using nightcrawlers and leeches on light six pound line.  Everyone likes this style.

Paty, John (Drax), and Chuck. We let three go. this crew took home their limit. 21 legal walleye! that is a hard # to beat. Drax kept us laughing with his jokes. He is doing a comedy album - Drax Live 2017!
Paty, John (Drax), and Chuck. This crew took home their limit and that was a lot of walleye! We caught over 20 legals! Drax kept us laughing with his jokes. He is doing a comedy album – Drax Live 2017!

So anglers fishing lately have a good tan going.  Today I looked for my winter hat! That is what you call a cold front.  Rivers buff cold fronts!

Bob son of good friend Win, Bob holds the walleye trout style! We battled a cold front in the morning trip and caught walleye from 15.5" to 22". Plus lots of Sheepshead. Bob had a tanker on that took drag and I was ready to net the trophy walleye that was a shipper! fun and a good laugh.
Bob son of good friend Win, Bob holds the walleye “trout style!” We battled a cold front in this morning trip but did catch keeper sized walleye from 15.5″ to 22″. Plus lots of Sheepshead. Bob had a tanker on that took drag and I was ready to net the trophy walleye… that was a sheeper!! fun, Win and I had a good laugh.

The recent rains will rise the river to 681.2.  The water has not dirtied as much as you would expect. Seems like the earth is sponging up the rain versus running off.

The river is high. 679.78 feet above sea level (down 1.1′) as measured in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 64 to 66 (up 4 – 6 degrees).

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers

USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 3x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

May 11, 2017 St. Croix River Walleye Fishing

With stable and seasonal weather with highs around 65 and lows in the 40s the water and earth are heating up evenly. Stable weather in the month of May like this brings good fishing.

Ron and Diana hold up four of their best eaters upon the end of their 7am to noon trip. Diana ended the day with 5 keepers in 10 minutes! Ron and I did have bait one, but she just kept hoisting them in! I was fun to watch. They left with ten total for the morning, Plus we released a big post spawn female.
Ron and Diana hold up four of their best eaters upon the end of their 7am to noon trip. Diana ended the day with 5 keepers in 10 minutes – really! Ron and I did have bait on the hook, but she just kept hoisting them in! and we got ignoredI It was fun to watch. They left with ten total for the morning, Plus we released a big post spawn female.

The fishing has been good, as a result of the water and weather being stable, the fish aren’t moving – this really makes guiding look easy (and that’s fine with me).

Here is Mert with a nice eater. Mert had to memorize the eye chart to get into the Marine corp for WWII. It was a pleasure to fish with the Gary Miller crew. These guys brought back a good haul, the action has been good.
Here is Mert Miller with a nice eater. Mert had to memorize the eye chart to get into the Marine corp for WWII. It was a pleasure to fish with his crew. These guys brought back a good haul, the action has been good. Plus we landed two nice channel cats and two 10 – 12 pound sturgeon – sturgeon really fight.

Hard to beat a nightcrawler for bait right now.

The river is high. 681.4 feet above sea level (down 1.1′) as measured in Stillwater, MN.  The water temperature is 60 (up 6 – 8 degrees).

 

 

May 4, 2017  St. Croix River Walleye Fishing

The river is in fine shape right now, and we are catching a lot of walleyes.

Brian with a nice catch and release walleye caught on a crawler.
Brian with a nice catch and release walleye caught livebait rigging.  The river has a great population of walleye of all year classes, it is nice to see the big ones like this one.  Nice catch Brian!

We started the morning out trolling Rapala Stickbaits in the F7 and F9 sizes on three way set ups.  We caught fish right away but the size was all short, save one keeper about 16″. so I decided to livebait rig instead and that turned out to be the best bet.

Here is Paul and Brian with a fine stringer of 12 keeper fish all in the 15 to 17.5" range. We had a few sports of non stop action. Very fun.
Here is Paul and Brian with a  stringer of 12 keeper fish – their limit – all were walleye save one sauger, these beautiful fish are in the 15 to 17.5″ range.  Very fun day.

Earlier in the week- that cold had a hold on us – and the water got dirty.  Cold and dirty is a challenge to fish catching.

Here is Pat with the best walleye on our afternoon trip. His fishing partner in arms dave is over his shoulder and we had a good time. The bite was tough to start but picked up at about 4 pm.
Here is Pat with the best walleye on our afternoon trip. His fishing partner in arms – Dave – is over his shoulder and we had a good time. The bite was tough to start but picked up at about 4 pm. We salvaged the trip with five in the box.

 

April 30, 2017 St. Croix River Opener

It was a good opener for many boats on the lower St. Croix River.  As expected both livebait and crankbaits produced keepers.

Ron holds up a very nice stringer of fish at noon on opener of the 2017 St. Croix river walleye opener.
Ron holds up a very nice stringer of fish caught from 7am at noon on opener of the 2017 St. Croix river walleye opener.  Ron took home his six and the guide kept three for a fresh fish fry.

Every year the Croix has good numbers of walleye well represented from all year classes.  The bigger fish naturally and harder to catch (and elusive), but the numbers game and keepers in the eating class size is what the vast majority of anglers pursue.  St. Croix River anglers catch a lot “shorts” from 14″ to 14.5″ walleyes, but they keep the action going.

Talking about these sub legal fish (minimum is 15″)…. isn’t that what a fishery is supposed to have? Year after year strong year classes- recruits for the future.  I see these fish as a sign the fishery is in good shape…

Just a couple white bass, a few saugers, and two sheepshead yesterday; the rest were walleye – total catch numbers was about 40 fish.

The river water looked nice and clean and debris free.

Techniques catching fish now: livebait Lindy Rig fishing with crawlers and minnows, trolling crankbaits in 13 to 22 feet of water.

Paty (aka Mack) with a big Pool 4 walleye caught a few days ago.
Paty (aka Mack) with a big Pool 4 walleye caught a few days ago.
Fisher Gal with another nice one from pool 4. Crawlers fooled the fish best this day.
Fisher Gal with another nice one from pool 4. Crawlers fooled the fish best this day.

 

April 17, 2017

Since the last report we have done a lot of casting techniques to catch fish on Pool 4 of the Mississippi River.

My client Chad wanted to get a ten pounder. We didn't accomplish that but his son Noah had a great time bringing in fish. Here is Chad with his biggest of the day. Noah counted and said we landed "eight species" on this trip. Chad caught this nice eye on a jig and plastic.
My client Chad wanted to get a ten pounder. We didn’t accomplish that but He and his son Noah and friend Steve had a great time bringing in fish. Here is Chad with his biggest of the day. Noah counted and said we landed “eight species” on this trip. Chad caught this nice eye on a jig and plastic. C & R.

Many of the fish we are seeing still have eggs and the males are milting.  The females will be finished spawning in a few days and the post spawn drop back to Lake Pepin will start.  Males hang around long after the party is over as if they don’t know the females left!

The bite has been up and down with periods of good activity and then slow action.

Longtime client Paul B. with a nice eater taught on a cast jig and plastic. Second cast of the day, nice start Paul.
Longtime client Paul B. with a nice eater taught on a cast jig and plastic. Second cast of the day, nice start Paul.

Early in the cold water season dragging jigs is always a viable option to catch fish.  I drag jigs like I Lindy rig, I like the weight just off of the bottom. So for dragging jigs I keep the jig just off of the bottom.

Brent holds a nice female still with eggs that hit on the last spot of the day. Brent caught all the fish and had a good time with his wife Natasha. The two had a couples weekend in the Red Wing area. Good fishing Brent!
Brent holds a nice female caught dragging jigs, fish still with eggs,  that hit on the last spot of the day, our trip this day was slow, so this fish was a nice way to end. Brent was the fishing star on the trip with his wife Natasha. The two had a couples weekend in the Red Wing area. Good fishing Brent! C & R.

So casting has been the main approach as my clients look for big fish this last week.  Blade baits are a top producer of BIG fish.

Catch and release. This fish hit and missed the bait, and was hooked not in the mouth. blade bait.
Catch and release (C & R). This fish hit and missed the blade bait, and was hooked not in the mouth.

One aspect of fishing Pool 4 is the variety of presentations that work well during the early spring.  Heck even nightcrawlers start to put fish in the boat. Trolling Shad Raps catches fish too.

When casting plastics and blade baits, and you hit a lull in the action a jig and minnow can turn a fish that has seen a constant offering of artificials, just like this nice walleye here caught on a jig and minnow - cast.
When casting plastics and blade baits, and you hit a lull in the action – a jig and minnow can turn a fish that has seen a constant offering of artificials, just like this nice walleye here caught on a jig and minnow – casted.

The river has been stable for a month at about three feet high and the flow stable as well around 30,000 kfps.

River flow is cfps 33,300 and stage is 6.4 (672.4) River water temp is 47 – 50.

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke

19 Year Professional Guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers

USCG licensed OUPV Captain

5x Beanie River Rat Tournament winner, 3x Paul Koval St. Croix Classic tournament winner

2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner, 2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the Year

Follow Jesus to life giving water!

April 5, 2017

Jig fishing has been our top technique for fishing Pool 4 of the Mississippi River.

Bob with a sauger caught on jig and minnow.
Bob with a sauger caught on jig and minnow.

Crankbaits are still getting fish.  Rapala original minnows are working, but the shad style lure bodies like a shad rap will very soon be a producer as well.

Gary and Lowell on an afternoon trip these two skilled anglers landed 10 keepers on their afternoon trip.
Gary and Lowell on an afternoon trip – these two skilled anglers landed 10 keepers on their afternoon trip. We jigged and cranked.

From the “head of the lake” to the dam there are a lot of good places to fish, all spots are not within site of the dam.

Morning on Pool Four Mississippi River.
Morning on Pool Four Mississippi River.

The river is mostly debris free and not clear but not too muddy, it is colored just right.  We have done better on sunny days.

Good times on the river!
Good times on the river!
Father and son trips are always nice. Michael and dad Chris.
Father and son trips are always nice. Michael and dad Chris holding up some of there fish for the fish fry..

 

March 28, 2017

Spring is here!  Today it was 60 degrees, the fish are biting and we are having fun on the River.

This pic is from last weekend. We really clobbered the fish! Pool 4 is very good fishing when it is on! Things are shaping up nicely right now for a great April bite.
This pic is from last weekend. We really clobbered the fish! Pool 4 is very good fishing when it is on! Things are shaping up nicely right now for a great April bite.

We are getting mostly sauger but they are in the 18 to 19″ range! Huge for saugers anywhere in the nation – the Mississippi has great sauger fishing.

Walleyes should make up half of the catch soon.  We are seeing small males show up – but not a lot of big gals – yet.

Catching on jigs and plastics and original Rapala’s. 13 to 22′.

River  flow is cfps 29,000 and stage is 5.22 (671.2) River water is stained but mostly debris free.

 

March 24, 2017

Spring is about to arrive on the walleye and sauger fishing scene on Pool Four of the Mississippi River near Red Wing, MN.

Walleye fishing in the early stage of spring can be excellent on Pool 4. Some songbirds have returned to our area signaling a warm up. This warm up gets the bite started.
Walleye fishing in the early stage of spring can be excellent on Pool 4. Some songbirds have returned to our area signaling a warm up. This warm up gets the bite started.

Thursday morning on the drive down top Everts Resort http://www.evertsfishingresort.com I saw Robins back in the area.  I have also heard some songbirds singing a tune I haven’t heard for months. So spring should be here soon. This is when the river gets good, when the earth warms up and the frogs come out of the mud and the worms start to wiggle.

Here is Jeff again with his friend and co worker Wes. Jeff caught this 19.5" sauger on a fathead minnow.
Here is Jeff again with his friend and co worker Wes. Jeff caught this 19.5″ sauger on a fathead minnow.

On the half day trip with Jeff and Wes last Thursday we started fishing at 12:30 pm and stopped at 5:30.  We caught many small ones and these two kept ten total: 4 – 14″, 2- 16″, and 4 from 19 – 20″.  Nine of the ten were saugers.  Walleyes must be 15″ minimum.

Minnows and plastics caught 70% of the keepers.  Our biggest did come from an orange/chartreuse colored soft plastic.  Trolling Rapala Original minnows caught  three keepers, but I stopped that technique as it was too scattered and we rigged with the flow instead. Fish are deep we caught almost all keepers from 20 to 28 feet of water. Walleyes are generally shallower but we got a nice one in 30 fow!

River level is scheduled to rise 2′.  cfps 30,000 and stage is 5.3 (671.2) River water is stained but mostly debris free.

Mid March Report,  2017

Walleye and sauger fishing on Pool Four of the Mississippi River near Red Wing, MN.

The river is seeing no influx of new water and the level is dropping, plus the weather had chilled and the water temp rise we saw weeks ago has slowed.  This mid March stage will hang around until the weather warms.

Eaters
We boated over 2 limits of eater saugers most where these chunky 16″ fish.  Johnny had the hot hand in the afternoon.  Saugers eaten from 38 degree water are outstanding!

We found over two limits of keeper saugers today caught all on Rapala original minnows. Most fish were 15 to 16″. The bites were incredibly light and really just a “tick.”

It was absolutely necessary to hold the fishing rod vs. rod holders to help catch and trigger fish.

Not a lot big ones yet, looking forward to a nice walleye and sumo sauger bite just around the corner.

Jigging techniques have and will be good again, The Rapalas excel when the fish spread out  as the flow drops.

 

March 1, 2017

Walleye and sauger fishing on Pool Four of the Mississippi River.  Today out best luck was with minnows.

It is true, walleye love fathead minnows. When cold fronts come minnows are often best. Catch and release.
It is true, walleye love fathead minnows. When cold fronts come minnows are often best. Catch and release.

My boat and trailer was covered with snirt (snow and dirt) when I reached Everts Resort this morning.  A couple inches of snow on the road quickly covers your boat like sprayed stucco on a house the further you drive the thicker it piles on the boat.  I will say this nobody and I mean nobody was on the river today. Jeff and I were the only ones dumb enough to fish, but it wasn’t that cold at all. Especially when the fish bite!

Jeff with a 19" sauger caught on a jig and plastic, looks like a firecracker paddle tail and popular bait to use. Second most popular bait behind the ringworm.
Jeff with a 19″ sauger caught on a jig and plastic, looks like a firecracker paddle tail a popular soft plastic bait to use – the second most popular bait behind the ringworm. C & R.

Jeff said “I will take some wind and cold and NO boats any day, especially when we are getting fish!”

Jeff with another nice one on a fathead. This fish was just under 20" Catch and release.
Jeff with another nice one on a fathead. This fish was just under 20″ Catch and release.

The weather soon will be downright great! 50 degree high and the river will be packed with boats all looking for a tug on the line.  Over all our best action was on minnows as a cold front hit us this week.  We did get some on plastics.

We released four bigger fish today and kept these 6. We had many other small fish as well. Not a bad total for a 7 hour trip.
We released four bigger fish today than these pictured and kept these 6 for the fryer. We had numerous small fish as well. Not a bad total for a 7 hour trip.

 

February 16,  2017 —

Catching walleye and sauger on Pool Four of the Mississippi River.  Today our best luck was using ringworm soft plastic baits.

Here is Paul Earney with a nice chunk of a walleye that hit a ringworm. Paul said the bite was very light. This fish fought well in the current.
Here is Paul with a nice chunk of a walleye that hit a ringworm. Paul said the bite was very light. This fish fought well in the current.

This time of year it is often necessary to tempt the walleye and sauger with minnows, though the plastic baits work well too.  Hard to generalize but often bigger fish come on plastics.

The wonder of Pool Fouir is the encyclopedia of techniques that catch fish. The venerable old man the jig and minnow vertical caught this eye. Nothing big but an example go the good healthy eaters in the river.
The wonder of Pool Four is the encyclopedia of techniques that catch fish. The venerable old man the jig and minnow presented vertically caught this eye. Nothing big but an example the good healthy eaters in the river.

THUMP!

The other fish hit light... Paul said this one crushed it. The whole jig and plastic worm deep in the mouth.
The other fish hit light… Paul said this one crushed it. The whole jig and plastic worm deep in the mouth. Nice job Paul!

The weather should warm, look for more good fishing soon.  Actually mid 30’s is great when you dress right, the wind well not so fun, but when the fish hit, the weather doesn’t matter.

A 16" walleye a perfect fish. Close up on baits that work.
A 16″ walleye a perfect fish. Close up on baits that work.

 

January 24, 2017

I am hearing good reports on the St. Croix River Bayport area fishery this season.  One of the surprising and often reported catches are nice sized saugers.

The St. Croix ice bite is one where the majority of the anglers are targeting the very nice sized crappies on the Croix.  Saugers and walleyes are a lucky bonus catch.  I have heard that the saugers in the two pound range are showing up. Not in huge numbers but a couple here and there – enough to add to the enjoyment for sure. Fish with fatheads under a bobber just off of the bottom.

January 17, 2017 —

Ice thickness is 10-14 inches on the St. Croix River’s Bayport area trucks have been driving on the ice lately.  Most anglers target crappies using crappie minnows and bobbers.

Here’s some info from the old days I remember an angler named “Tom” from River Falls, had a home made three hole shelter.  All  holes were inline and about seven feet in length from hole one to three.  Anyway he chain smoked these cherry cigarillo’s with his three holes in front of him and he hammered fish.  He fished all the time out there and did better than anyone.  He always fished all three of his legally allowed lines using bobbers staggered in certain depths off of the bottom. He set up and stayed put—moved from trip to trip but not much on a given day.

January 2, 2017 —

St. Croix River ice thickness is 5-6 inches as of New Years Day. The St. Croix sees most anglers fishing for crappies in the Bayport area. Here it is a deepwater basin bite. Fish can suspended easily 12 feet off of the bottom. The crappies roam the entire area. Dead stick minnows is often best versus active jigging.

Crappies can be found across the whole basin and are caught best on a crappie minnow. Many of these fish are suspended up to 12 feet off the bottom and can be hard to decipher at times from the abundant shad baitfish.

BE CAREFUL! There are multiple areas of openwater on the St. Croix – only fish where safe, and driving automobiles on the ice is not safe yet.

 

2017.King.Plant.2

Tip of the Week

December 1 

” When the winds from the north fish bite short”  Short biting fish do not want to feel a heavy action fishing pole. THEY WILL drop the bait.  I use Limit Creek Rods. “The Smoothie” a medium light has been a walleye slayer in my boat for almost fifteen years! The Smoothie will land any fished fish in the river, if you fight it right. The 5′ 10″ spinning rods are mint.

They’re great rods I believe in and not $249.00!!

http://www.limitcreek.com

They also have a line of very sweet ice rods!

November 9

When in doubt a Rapala Firetiger is a solid bet. Me with some St. Croix Gold.
When in doubt a Rapala Firetiger is a solid bet. Me with some St. Croix Gold.

About ten years ago I started to surmise that the reason angling is called angling  is not because the word for hook in Old English is angle, but rather that the angle in which you present line to the fish is of utmost importance.  For cold water fishing it is true and I learned this on Pool 4 of the Mississippi River.  I can’t tell you how many times that vertical mattered or dragging jigs mattered.  When the bite is HOT that stuff wasn’t as important. Its when the bite is  off that line angles are so important to consider.

November 1

Plastics for walleye?? yep people been catching walleye on Mr. Twister Tails for years, but there have been improvements. I love cold water walleye fishing because eyes love plastics!! THUMP! that’s the hit.  For some top of the line walleye plastics check out:

https://www.prescottbaitcompany.com/basswalleye-baits/

 

October 17 2017

Fishing is an outdoor activity all people can enjoy successfully, and from many types of boats, and shore fishing as well. Don’t get caught up in thinking an expensive boat loaded to the gills is needed to catch fish, all kinds work.

We did a trip with Josh, Kyle, and Jay in Josh's pontoon fishing machine. The guy had a good time fishing, I ran the boat and netted fish. Jay is holding one of the keeper saugers.
I did a trip with Josh, Kyle, and Jay in Josh’s pontoon fishing machine, it was a well laid out toon. The guys had a good time fishing, I ran the boat and netted fish. Jay is holding one of the keeper saugers.

So I use the word successfully above in terms of catching – all types of boats can catch fish.

Here is a pic of Josh's pontoons live well with nine keepers caught during a half day trip. We also got white bass and sheepheads.
Here is a pic of Josh’s pontoons live well with nine keepers all saugers and one walleye caught during a half day trip. We also got white bass and sheepheads.

 

October 2017

Crankbaits must track true (dead straight) to be of optimal fish catching performance.

Sharp hooks are a must.

September 18

You can land large fish if you play the fish right. Here are a few things to remember:

Big fish can be landed even when you are under powered with the line test strength you are using. Tips below:
Big fish can be landed even when you are under powered with the line test strength you are using. Tips below:
  1. Time is on your side, there is no rush to get that HOG in instantly.
  2. If the fish runs… let it. Have your drag set right.
  3. Some times the fish will do a burst and your drag can hesitate to give.. help the drag and pull line off of the reel at the same time of the burst.
  4. If the fish runs – a burst – give the fish the rod tip and even stick most of the rod in the water. I do this all the time. – while keeping tension.
  5. If the fish runs do NOT pull up or away from the fish.
  6. Fight the fish with a bent pole and not by continuous reeling.

Show a big fish some respect and play the fish. and of course ENJOY the moment!!

September 9

It is never too late in the season to fish the windward side to find fish.  Often anglers use the wind to their advantage to fish game fish while fishing on the windward side of the river or a lake. Or fish the windward side of underwater structure like a reef.  To me this wind tactic peaks in the height of summer.  My tip is that this tactic is still effective in late summer and early fall.

August 17

Quality line is a must.  Suffix 6 pound Elite is very dependable while river fishing,  With your drag set right and the fish fought properly there isn’t a smallmouth bass that can break it.

August 4

Fathead minnows are good when teamed with a spinner rig. You can also use two fatheads on a two hook “crawler harness” spinner rig. This double minnow rig shows a beefy presentation to the fish.

July 14

If  you fish a lot and use your battery power trolling motor you need to make sure the battery cells are full of water to keep them running most efficiently.   Keep the water level just over the cells. use distilled water as well.

Crankbaits are only as good as their hooks are sharp and as true as they track straight.

June 29

People just don’t hit the water in the rain.  Even fisherman – well some.  What does that mean on a busy body of water? It means you can have a lot of places to yourself and find a bit more relaxation.  In my business catching fish is a big deal.  But in my opinion the ultimate goal should be to come back refreshed by getting away from it all for a little while, not being frustrated if you don’t get fish.  Easy to say – I know… but food for thought…

June 17th

Spinner rig fishing tipped with livebait either crawlers, minnows, or leeches is a great presentation to find active and aggressive walleye.  You must use a high quality swivel to prevent line twist when “spinner” fishing.

In the past I have used a ball bearing swivel as they are high quality – costly too. By accident I started using a high quality but still much less expansive – Rolling Swivel – and it is as good as a ball bearing swivel, but a fraction of the price.  Who doesn’t love to save some moolah!!

June 8th

If you can fish two lines well… do it!  If fishing two lines makes you miss fish on one of your rods fish one rod then.  A rod hold helps a lot when fishing two rods. Consider one a “deadstick” and leave that alone compared to the one in your hand.

Two rods fish well can really make a difference in your catching. BUT two rods done wrong can land you less fish. Heck some guys don't want fishing to be much work. I say more power to you! If you want to just relax... so be it.
Two rods fished well can really make a difference in your catching. BUT two rods done wrong can land you less fish, as a result of snags or having your line at the wrong depths constantly, or two lines eating up your concentration as to where the boat needs to be…. Heck some guys don’t want fishing to be much work. I say more power to you! If you want to just relax… so be it.

May 30

North of Stillwater is good fishing. However when the water is over the islands it is tough.  This is because the flow doesn’t stay in the same channels as normally directed by the islands.  Consequently the fish scatter then and spread out.

May 24

Smallies open this coming Saturday on the St. Croix. The “bronze back” as they are called are a willing attacker of soft plastics.  A great places to start to catch these fun fish is a tube worm on a jig. Slide the jig head into the tube. Smallies love this presentation on a cast – fall – hop – fall (repeat).

Axel with a beast smallie! His fellow 10 year old buddy netted it. I sat back and let the boys do their thing. Fun to watch.
Axel with a beast smallie – caught on a crawler! His fellow 10 year old buddy netted it. I sat back and let the boys do their thing. Fun to watch.

May 18

If you are getting short bites, you need to feed fish line. this is one of the best reasons to use a “Lindy Rig”.  a “rig” employs a sliding weight, held on the line by a swivel, then swivel to leader and hook.

May 11

Using light line catches more fish.  Fish become line shy of heavy thicker lines. All fish do…  This short story solidified my belief… On the TV show “Wicked Tuna” The captain of the Wicked Pissah explained to one of his crew members why he used a lighter line than a heavier one.  To sum up the conversation, The crew member told the captain that heavier line won’t break – the captain told the crew member that the heavier line won’t get bit!!! Right on captain! Even in the Atlantic Ocean captains consider line diameter.

The lightest line pound test rating you can use is the test strength you should use.
The lightest line pound test rating you can use is the test strength you should use.

May 4

Some livebait like leeches are not a good bet when fished too fast as the roll.  So when it is windy and the boat speed is fast a leech is not a good bet.  Presented at just the right speed a leech can get many a fish to bite.

April 30

Line twist is often created by: 1. Reeling in a decent fish with too loose a drag. 2. The reel design itself is junk and twists line (believe it or not).  3.  Your livebait or lure is rolling continuously in the water.

The best braided line that I have never seen hold its twist via memory is Suffix 832.

I have used braids that when they twist up  you can NOT run the line through your fingers to untwist.  I have never had a single issue with the 832.

April 17

It is important to know that when the water hits 50 degrees presentations can greatly be sped up.  For almost two months slow and steady has been a key to catching fish, but as May is almost here speed can be your friend in catching fish.

April 5

A jig and minnow once the hands down most popular presentation is now just one of many ways to catch them on the river.  It was and always will be a fish catcher, don’t over look its charm to fool fish.

This sauger could not resist a jig and minnow.
This sauger could not resist a jig and minnow.

Vertical jigging is done best with fine and light line. 6# test is all the heavier you need.

March 24

I try to have my main line, the line on the reel to be heavier than the leader line.Most times when you snag up it is the hook.  Then if you  need to break off on a snag the line will break at the hook leaving you with your swivel and weight.  This is especially helpful when rigging with all the combinations of rigs you can fish with a three-way swivel technique.

Mid March

One key to river fishing is to know when the fish are concentrated and when the are spread out.  Even a “minor” water level change of 1.5 feet will move the fish.  Normally lower and slower flow spreads out the fish.

When fishing Rapala’s in the dirty river water I find the red painted bill is a good fish attractor.

note the red bill.
Note  – the red bill I like these in spring time river water.

March 1, 2017

Walleye and sauger move deeper when cold fronts happen.  When cold fronts happen especially in slower and deep rivers (like the St. Croix) fish will hit lightly.  If I am jig fishing and I want the bulk of the jig to trigger bites I put a stinger hook on the jig.

Here is a pic of a Northland Fireball jig that still has the stinger in the fishes mouth. This is exactly how the fish hit and was caught. No stinger no fish.
Here is a pic of a Northland Fireball jig that still has the stinger in the 17″ saugers mouth. This is exactly how the fish hit and was caught. No stinger no fish. The trick is you don’t always need a stinger. Let the fish tell u.

February 16, 2017

Hard to believe but trolling in cold and I mean cold water ice cold water does work to catch fish.  As you would guess the fish, trolling speeds need to be adjusted for the cold water. Today with 36 degree water on the river we boated a good sauger trolling a Rapala stickbait.  The key was a slow steady pace into the current. Give crankbaits a try in the winter.

January 2, 2017 —

For ice fishing panfish 2-3 pound line is a must.  It is very fine and hard to work with. Colored line really helps. I like the orange line, the dark blue line is also good.

16-Jan7.Turk.bluegill.2247

 

Turk’s Column

October 12, 2017

It is nice to know that ” they’re in there.”  A body of water that holds trophy fish is something special,  often it is just the idea that you can catch the fish you want is enough to keep a guy motivated to keep trying.  Keeping on trying is the name of the game.  To organize and plan everything to go just the way you want it often doesn’t work out in fishing. However you can always keep on trying – THAT can’t be taken away.  It’s the fishing and not the catching that you can count on.

Trophy fish are a result on " keeping on trying" and not so much of a genius plan. Catch and Release October 2017
Trophy fish are a result of ” keeping on trying.” St. Croix Catch and Release October 2017

Mid September 2017 The Fall time offers some very fun fishing from not only a catching standpoint but also a time when you can experiment with differing techniques for walleye.

Mid September walleye - St. Croix River. released.
Mid September walleye  2017 – St. Croix River. Released.

One of the most over looked presentations by anglers is the Wolf River rig.  It is a three way swivel to a floating Rapala , then a dropper line to a bell sinker. It is a bit of a mix between trolling and rigging because there is a lot of art in how to exactly catch fish this way. It is definitely a technique that takes years to perfect.  Then you can leadline troll and longline troll. The choices are like the options of hunting and fishing – too many options and not enough time.

Plastics in the Fall.  20 years ago, I saw the plastics bite explode via the ringworm craze down on the Red Wing area of the Mississippi River. There is no doubt James Holst gets the credit for the promotion of this bait with B Fish N tackle. 20 years ago catching eyes on plastics was big news – since then you see walleye plastics everywhere.

I couldn’t help but catch on to this incredible success that ringworm’s were having as I guide down in Red Wing February, March, and April and return to the Croix in May. Ringies dominated the catches especially during a good bite. The neatest part of the ringworm baits was they required no livebait – just a jig and the plastic.  The walleye and big saugers SMASH the bait – the hits blew me away. The fish would swallow the plastic and the jig head with a thump!

It didn’t take long to explore other plastics that work so well in the open water cold water fishing. Then the following Fall it didn’t take me long to catch fish on the Croix using plastics as well.

Then a simple jig and minnow can be the best.  Fun.  It is hard to know what to do some days…

Crawlers yep crawlers still.  Caught walleye on them till mid October. Blade baits, jigging raps, and jigging spoons.  Of course anglers love to rig minnows at this point as well such as suckers, shiners, and chubs.  They all work and there’s more actually, again a fun time to be on the water.

You can experiment in the Fall but try not to do too much. Let me explain…

Years ago I had “In Fisherman-itis” I read every magazine of the cutting edge fishing journal, I read articles two and three times.  I knew a lot. I would say though in hindsight I knew too much about all of the new presentations but not enough of just one of them!  I fished and fished and tried and tried every presentation under the sun, then rig another and re rig.  All with little success.

The day would end and I had worked hard, but not really fished, I was too busy rejigging and tying knots.  LOL!  Eventually I settled into a pattern of presentations that worked for me and then fishing came together.

Here is a big walleye that was caught on a Jigging Rapala. It is a very fun way to fish.
Here is a big walleye that was caught while Jigging. As the water cools the jig bite gets better. It is a very fun way to fish.

Not a lot of new news. tough bite for walleye, bass a bit better though.  I wish I could catch white bass again like days gone by when they hit on top water across the basin in the early mornings.. I guess change is inevitable.  The river is still a beauty and most people friendly and just enjoying themselves being on the water, so its a good place to be with or without a hot bite.

Mid summer mid July – the bite gets tougher right now every year.  The right colors,  beads, blades all seem to matter now more than ever. Fish have so much feed that they can ignore you rather easily with the abundance of bait.

Bait never hurts though when it is on structure.  But for some reason not all bait on all structure is the same.  What I mean by that is you can find bait balls in certain places always and for whatever reason the fish don’t hit strongly there. Then when the bait is on other places its lights out good fishing!

The more you understand fishing you should then reach a point you start to ask new questions.  There is always a lot more to learn, that’s how I see it.

 

Late May – My Partner Scott Hale and I won the St. Croix Classic/ Paul Koval walleye tournament. Proud to say Scott and I have won this event now four times.

Here are our two biggest . Total team effort! Good job Scott!!
Here are our two biggest, and the one on the left was the tournaments biggest . Total team effort! We took home heaviest stringer and biggest walleye awards. Good job Scott!!

Mid May – Wow 80 degrees one day then 40 degrees two days later.  Thats fishing in Minnesota and Wisconsin! I was looking for my winter hat this morning before the trip, but I figured the hood on my sweatshirt was good enough. Not.  It is not often that an angler goes from sunscreen to a winter hat.

Well what about the fish?  What about the thunder?? This week we clobbered the fish after some thunder, and today though not as good we did put enough in the boat to call the Miller trip a success.  That is a river for you. The rivers especially with high water buffers the bad weather!

Speaking of thunderstorms, I remember a trip a few years ago the weather was so bad, I had to get off the water fast, and wait out the storm in the bait shop. It poured and Cracked Lightning!  When the smoke cleared there was only about an hour left on the  trip.   Before the storm, we were hammering very nice fish, so with an hour left on the trip we decided to motor back to the spot where we were catchin’, to my surprise – we instantly picked up where we left off.  The storm didn’t matter one iota.  I give a lot of credit to catches to the river! What a great resource.

This was a day I wish I had worn short. Greta fishing from May 2017. St. Croix Walleye Released.
This was a day I ended in shirt sleeves and I wish I had worn shorts. Great fishing from mid May 2017. St. Croix Walleye – Released.

I just finished my three month cold water early spring guide season on Pool Four.  What a great fishery down there! Wow.  I launch out of Everts Resort and have now close to 20 years.  Everts is a special place because of the workers and the fishing community there. You find all walks of life and some very very good anglers.  The Everts Bait Shop is the best flat out river bait store I have been in.  Thanks Everts.

The water of the St. Croix River produces gold. Walleye Gold.
The water of the St. Croix River produces gold. Walleye Gold – 2017.

April 29 -Happy to be back on the St. Croix.  It’s waters are amazing and you need to be in  the boundary waters to find anything like it.  The Croix runs cool for a while, but in summer its a warm water fishery and the catfish and saugers get fired up and chew. Right now the name of the game is walleye.

It is true a lot of the good spots are in community holes, but there are many out of the way places to fish.  I was just thinking this last night… the keepers from the Croix go so far on the dinner table in terms of how much walleye meat you get, that three good sized 17″ walleyes go a long way – its a lot of food.  Limits of six per person is a HUGE bag of meat.  I am not against catching limits by any means, just saying that if you want to fish in places away from the crowd and your goal is solitude, and to bring home some  – 3 to 4 keepers -, there are ample opportunities to fish different locations that hold keepers all year long on the St. Croix River.

next.

Every now and then I have a customer who knows both -a lot about the river, and has fished it for a long time.  Last Fall I had the privilege to Guide a guy like that – Steve Frankosky. Steve and his brother had all these great stories from the Croix I asked Steve to put them down for all of us to enjoy! Thanks Steve!…

 

Steve Frankosky (right). Steve has great stories from the Croix, he put some of them down on paper for all of us to enjoy.
Steve Frankosky (right). Steve has great stories from the Croix, he put some of them down on paper for all of us to enjoy.

Turk asked me for a brief history of fishing the St Croix, I started fishing the Croix back in 1966 or so, I was 15, my dad bought a boat from the Afton Chris Craft marina, now the Afton marina next to Windmill Marina. We got a hand me down 12’ Alumacraft boat and used a 5HP green Johnson SeaHorse moter with a built in small gas tank, my brother Greg and my dad and myself would fish out of it, usually anchor fishing . In 1967 my dad bought a bigger boat, a 38’ used Chris Craft, and we actually started to troll the St Croix using that and with three way wolfe river rigs, that we still use a lot today. This is the era when Russ Lind, a mechanic at the marina, would fish out of his 15’ wooden boat , anchoring at his favorite spot and still fishing with minnows or crawlers. My brother and I would try to beat him out there but no matter what time and what conditions he would always be there, nod his head and give us a wave, many times in the fall he would appear to us out of the fog already anchored up. In the cold, he would have a insulated metal bucket with charcoal in it to keep him warm. He would use two poles, one always in his hand and one dead stick, reminded me of the old man and the sea…
In 1974 we bought a 15’ Alumacraft, I think a F-11 and a 9.9 Evenrude, going big time, it helped us cover a bit more river, up to Hudson and clear down to the Kinni! We usually trolled in the fall, but used lindy rigs with crawlers and some blade baits as well. In 1976 we bought a 25HP Evinrude and used the 9.9 as a kicker, our depthfinder was the old Lowrance green box, still have it! We used that set up, got a 6hp when the 9.9 wore out, till 2009 when I got a 1725 Lund Pro Guide with a 75HP tiller.
We usually launch out of Windmill Marina, it used to be called Windmill Bill’s, my dad moved his cruiser over to that marina in about 1990 from the Afton marina to be closer to friends. We have launched out of Beanies as well.
Beanie used to run a tourney that ran from opener to November in different catagories, walleye, sauger, catfish.., My brother Greg won the sauger and we placed in the walleye, but each year it was fun to watch the board leader weights go up.
Fishing has changed a bit on the Croix, in the 60-70’s the opener was busy with 20-30 boats at catfish, many anchored, silvers were thick and big…in the fall about the same as now but now more trollers and slipfishing with jigs. Best year ever was in the fall of 1968, the water was high, similar to most of this year, Wally McCarthy and his buds would troll near every day back then and starting in mid October walleye limits of 7LB average were happening, the DNR came down and said that schools of Mississippi walleyes, big ones had moved up the Croix and were stacked up on some of the points above the Kinni, not many boats were fishing as it was a cold fall but it was like in the old pictures of big stringers. We follow a lot more catch and release now, with all the big girls going back in to the water, in 2015 my 10 year old great nephew came down to fish the Croix for the first time and nailed a true 30” walleye, he was excited!, we were stunned it was our biggest walleye of the year! I thought that the fall of 2016 was one of the best and most consistent we have had for a few years, my brother nailed a 31”, key is time on the water but fish were active. The Croix is such a great fishery and environment with clean water and sand bottom, just a treasure so close to the cities yet not really overfished, hope it stays that way. From Steve Frankosky.

December, 2016 —

With water temps hovering around 40 degrees, I fished the first week of December from the boat before winter hit. Often the last bite before winter crashes into fall is some good fishing. This was the case again this year. We had a great time catching fish on soft plastics, minnows, and jigging Rapalas.  Not all but some of the bites were thunderous.

When fishing artificial versus live bait the strongest strikes are on artificial.  Its very common to have the jig and  plastic bait struck and shallowed with the entire bait in the mouth.  Then the live minnows are often a light and faint bump.  Not sure why, but walleye crush artificial lures during this cold water bite.