February 20, 2018
Looking for some 35 to 40 degrees days coming up to start fishing Pool 4. During the early early spring season or late winter season whatever you prefer to call it minnows are needed on most trips. I will use plastics as well when the bite favors plastics, but minnows are for sure in the boat.
Learned something new today from Art at http://stillwaterturfandpower.com . So my trusty gas auger wasn’t starting. I explained to Art what I did at the end of last ice season… and he told me that I should keep gas in the auger over the summer, but when ice comes back to swap out the old gas for new gas. I ran the auger dry and out of fuel prior to storage, and so my carburetor either dried up or gummed up.
In two cycle engines keep the gas in the tank for storage, and change out gas when your going to use again.
Also use NON ethanol gas.
January 23, 2018
Notes, take notes and keep a journal. I regret to say that over the last 20 years of guiding there are spots and stuff I have done that worked that I can’t remember. If you do take notes be thorough, I was looking over some of my chicken scratch and I couldn’t figure out what I was saying! ha. The best notes I have show little sketches as to the flow and boat positioning with time of year and current rate.
” 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!!
They also have a line of very sweet ice rods!
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.
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:
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.
So I use the word successfully above in terms of catching – all types of boats can catch fish.
Crankbaits must track true (dead straight) to be of optimal fish catching performance.
Sharp hooks are a must.
You can land large fish if you play the fish right. Here are a few things to remember:
- Time is on your side, there is no rush to get that HOG in instantly.
- If the fish runs… let it. Have your drag set right.
- 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.
- 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.
- If the fish runs do NOT pull up or away from the fish.
- 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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vertical jigging is done best with fine and light line. 6# test is all the heavier you need.
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.
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.
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.
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.