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dan2957

I need to scratch a smallmouth itch!!

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dan2957

I just drove by the river on my way home from work and my heart leaped for joy. Guess what I found? Thats right, It's NOT froze over heheheheheheheheheheheheh.... I moved here to Minnesota last spring so Im kinda new to the river, I've fished it a few times. Im not asking for your secret honey hole or your favorite Smallie lure, what I would like to know is where is a good place to catch Smallies in the Monticello area. My boat is put away for the season so I'll be on the bank. Should I try below the Nuke plant or the at the park in Monticello? Do I need to go out and buy some waders or can I reach the fish from shore? Should I use small jigs or are tubes baits a good choice?
Any help would be great. I NEED to catch a BASS before I go CrAzY!!!!

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If it aint a BASS, it might as well be a rough fish.

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BigMike

Wow, if it's not froze over, I might see you up there this weekend smile.gif LOL.

I've fished the shores up there a couple of times and if you have waders it would definitely help you reach deeper waters. From my experience this fall and early winter, slow moving baits work best. It's fast moving (and mostly shallow) water so you can look at it both ways: more weight keeps you in contact with the bottom, or less weight and it floats by the rocks with less snags. Whichever is your preference. In my opinion, I don't want to lose every jig I throw! For smallies, my best baits are plastics.

I want to say this though... be really gentle with smallies this time of year (short fights and barbless hooks are a good start, no live bait). Luckily the water is warmer up there and that is to their benefit, but spawn is only a few months away and we don't want to spoil the future of smallies on the 'sippi.

As for spots... if you have waders, just start wading and walking. Keep moving and you should be able to find fish.

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Mark Christianson

The river doesn't freeze over in the Monti area. The Nuke plant keeps things open a long ways downstream from its discharge.
I have never tried the river this time of year so I am of no help there.
Heck, if you try it on a decent day, you will at least have the enjoyment of watching all the waterfowl and a few Bald Eagles that call Monti home in the winter, including one of the largest concentrations of Trumpeter Swans you will find anywhere in the midwest. Or probably the country for all I know.
I just get mezmorized with those swans. What a majestic bird. What a big bird!

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dan2957

HOLY SMOKES!!!
HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHHE

Dont worry BIGMIKE, Im a catch and release only fisherman. I do need some waders though.
MAN OH MAN OH MAN, what a day on the river!!!
I love that NUKE plant Biglakeba$$ hehehehehe!!
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If it aint a BASS, it might as well be a rough fish.

[This message has been edited by dan2957 (edited 01-13-2004).]

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Mark Christianson

Dan
I feel like your not telling us something!!!!!

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BigMike

Biglake, I agree. I think Dan is holding some info back from us. He seemed a little TOO giddy to just be excited to find out that the 'sippi isn't frozen over! You know what i think... he went out fishing on the 'sippi and didn't want to share what he found. I think we both know of good spots so it's not like he couldn't just say, "hey I went out and caught some smallies" maybe even give some additional info wink.gif

just teasin' with you dan, although we would like to know what the hehehe is all about.

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dan2957

Yep, I caught some smallies alright.
I think I was more excited about being able to catch fish in open water rather that through the ice this time of year. Ice fishing is fun, dont get me wrong but I prefer a solid piece of earth or my boat when I'm fishing. I guess that is the Texan coming out of me. Man oh man what a great day on the river.
Hey I heard it might be near 30 this weekend, I bet you guys know where you can find me HEHE....

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If it aint a BASS, it might as well be a rough fish.

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Alphid

I would love to get out there and share in the thrill of getting some fish in soft water. I like ice fishing but am no way as interested in it as normal fihsing.
Any help of place to try and techniques to use would be appreciated. I catch and release all, just like the tournies.
alphid@hotmail.com

I understand if you want to keep it quite though.

Thanks

[This message has been edited by Alphid (edited 01-14-2004).]

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dan2957

Hey alphid,
I am kinda a newbie in these parts but I learn real fast.
I'll let know one thing that I've learned is that the Mississippi is whole new kinda monster than I'm use to tackling. I learned to bass fish in the rivers and creeks of Texas.
This ain't Texas haha!
Anyway, I'm still learning the river but I'll let you guys know how I caught my fish the other day. It's no big secret really. I would walk along the river and look for little back flows. Thats what I call them at least. A place where the river is moving backwards. The best place I found wasn't 20 feet long and maybe 10 feet out from the bank. The water depth was maybe 3 feet at it deepest. I would pitch a tube into the current and let it fall into the back flow, as soon as that tube started moving opposite the main current that is where I got my strikes.
Jig weight played a very important part in whether I got a hit. I experimented with a few differant sizes till I found the best one. I like the size that lets the bait flow naturally, meaning that it sinks but not very fast.
Like I said, I still have alot to learn about the river and the Smallies that live there. Someone else probably has a better way to catch them than me but it's hard to argue with seven landed fish on nine back to back casts.
That was the best outing that I've had on the river to date.
Man I can't wait till May. Only 135 days till Bass opener.

------------------
If it aint a BASS, it might as well be a rough fish.

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BigMike

Dan, that is a pretty typical pattern for smallies up there. For some reason *wink*wink* there is a large population of winter smallies there. Any size to your smallies?

I had to get used to fishing the rivers here too. There are several "typical" rivers and spots with deeper water and slower current, and then you may move to a new spot or different section of a river and there will be several spots that have shallow/swift current that hold just as many fish. And fishing from shore makes it even harder to figure out what type of situation you are going to be fishing...but that is all part of what makes it fun!

Congrats on a good outting, that's about as good as it will ever get from shore. I went up there with Hawgtide in his jet boat and we were nailing them on almost every cast in some spots.

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HawgTide

I think you're going to have to wait in line to cast up there since half the state will be there this week. A lot of folks read this site.

With that in mind, I hope you all will read up on how much winter fishing affects the welfare of Smallmouths. It is believed by some fisheries experts and documented in the In-Fisherman Magazine a couple of months ago, that catching smallmouths in the winter puts an unusual amount of stress on them and a good number never survive after being caught. Fishing in this area during the winter is almost unfair since the water temps are probably 20 degrees higher than the rest of the state. If you read the DNR report on the migration of the Smallies, you will know that these fish migrate great distances. The fish you are catching now, are the ones that will be providing the spawn from St. Cloud all the way to Coon Rapids. Please go easy on them so we don't lose this great stretch of world class smallmouth fishing.

Thanks

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BigMike

AMEN Hawgtide!!! Just read some of my posts regarding that exact point/topic. Smallies are VERY susceptible to the effects of winter fishing!!! Every magazine, dnr report, fisherman, etc knows that smallies are greatly affected by fishermen that fish for them in the winter. This is our future smallie fishery we are talking about.

I was pretty upset when I saw that smallie video they were touting on here because it was basically showing some guys targeting BIG smallies through the ice in upper Wisconsin! Great looking fish, but one of the fish battled for almost two minutes. You never know just how much that fighting affects that fish.

So again, please be considerate of this stretch of water. It's a good stretch of water, but it won't be good for long if we don't use a little better judgement when it comes to winter smallie hunting. If you do go, go barbless and no live bait please.

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dan2957

Hmmmm...
I am the first to error with caution when it comes to bass fishing and everything I have read (I study Bass like it is a college course) about bass suggests just what you guys have said. BUT, I find it hard to believe that those fish are going to suffer after being caught in the conditions and enviroment that I found them in. That being said, I dont want to say anything thing more here in the forum because this is a very popular site and I dont want people to get the wrong impression and decide to have an all out assult on the smallies this next weekend. I would love to keep this conversation going VIA email and maybe talk a little more specifically about this.
I DO NOT want to hurt these fish. Fish work very hard to conserve precious energy during the winter months and in cold water temps. Thats why I not a big fan of targeting those fish during winter. But what we have here is a change in conditions and fishing enviroment.... special circumstances.
I maybe wrong and if I am please let me know. My email is dan2957@msn.com

------------------
If it aint a BASS, it might as well be a rough fish.

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dan2957

Im more of a Texas fan but I do like to see them Aggies play well.

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If it aint a BASS, it might as well be a rough fish.

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HawgTide

dan2957,
That sounds good. I'll shoot you an email when I get the chance. I'm from the South also and grew up on fishing Largemouth Bass. I had never caught a Smallmouth before last year and was immediately hooked after the first one. I started reading up about Smallies this fall and didn't realize how vulnerable they were as opposed to Largemouths. After reading the article in The In-Fisherman this past fall, I just cringe when I hear about people catching them during vulnerable times. I, too, am on here to talk fishing and to make friends. I don't want to come across wrong to anyone on here. I'm just trying to pass on some of the info that I learned this year to others who may not know.
(PS. Hope your not an Aggie fan wink.gif )

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smallie_hawgin

Ok Folks, I have to chime in here. Let's think about the fervor were discussing. I have not read or seen the articles that some have refered to in the In-Fisherman. I do know that there is no physiological reason that smallmouth bass are any different from any other species. Many species of fish make spawning migrations, including the states beloved walleye. Species like salmon, striped bass, sturgeon, american eels all have incredible migrations and in many cases the populations have changed, although, it is usually related to poor spawning habitat, not fishing prior to their spawning.

All species of centrarchids (Sunfish family) are developing eggs this time of year, preparing for the spawning in the spring. If we suggest that fishing for species during the winter harms the fishery than theoretically, we shouldn't be fishing for anything except for fall spawning fish. Obviously, I don't believe in this. Catch an release fishing if done properly, will not cause problems. I have my doubts about using live bait in certain cases, although the use of circle hooks can prevent most of the deep hooking. Obviously we shouldn't be playing the fish completely out if possible. It is pretty simple really, catch the fish, admire it briefly, place it back in the water.

Let's also think about this particular area. It is a small stretch of river when we look at the whole 60 miles. Not all of the smallmouth bass hang out in Monticello! The most important factor for smallmouth bass population density in the Mississippi River is flows at the right time of year, not angling mortality. Plenty of information is available on this stretch of river

www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/montrose/Montriver.html

Keep up the good discussions and have fun fishing!

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HawgTide

That's exactly what I thought too, until I started reading up on Smallmouths. Apparently they are different from other species.

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Mark Christianson

Hawgtide, Dan, BigMike, Ebass(if your out there), send me an email.
mark_christianson@cnt.com

I know this isn't the Tournament forum, but hit me up. The MN Smallmouth Bass Championship is back on this summer.
Email me, and I will give you details.

PS - Smallie Hawger hit the nail on the head with his post. I also am not aware of the In-Fisherman article, but it would seem to me that if it was that harmful on the fish, the DNR would close the smallie season altogether earlier in the year so people are not tempted to try their hand at fishing the river systems for bronzie.

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Kevin Turner

Hey now, go easy on my fish...LOL. I know where each and every one of them are supposed to be.

Can't hardly wait for Bass opener.

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BigMike

Biglake, you've got mail...

WOW, what a fun trip to chicago. I don't know if it was a good idea for me to go to the bass pro shop any more during the winter. It just puts too many thought in my head! So of course now I have a bunch of new "stuff" that I want to get out and put to use! Not fair. Oh well...more catelogue and magazine flipping for me until opener!

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EBass

Welcome back BigMike, what did you all get? Inquring minds want to know. What's the hot new lure for 04? How many fake senkos did you buy? Did you buy some gloves to handle dem mean/flesh eating pike? How many cranks and topwater did you get? What about a new rod n reel?

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BigMike

Well I went down and spent about 3-4 hours there walking around, trying stuff out etc... Ebass, I even took about 45 minutes to look at the boats. I found my perfect boat... a Nitro Sport (great bass boat for me, ski boat for the wife!), only problem is it costs $17K minimum. But I also looked at the Tracker boats and was really tempted. Much cheaper and I could probably finance it and pay it off in a year or two. But again, I know I could pay it off but I doubt my wife would be willing to go for that option LOL.

Anyways, on to the important stuff (the stuff I picked up!). I went wild on topwater stuff. I picked up a few smaller 1/8th & 1/4 oz buzzbaits (one by bps with the bleeding color scheme and can’t wait to use it). I think that may be the next “hype” is the bleeding look with red hooks and red paint schemes on everything from cranks to spinnerbaits to the skirts for spin/buzz/jigs. I also got a couple spooks and torpedos. I picked up a tourney scum frog just to try it out. I’ve never been big on the topwater and I wanted to break into it a little more this year. Of course I also loaded up on specialty terminal tackle like tube rattles & rattle weights... unfortunately no gloves to handle those toothy friends smile.gif and no imitation senkos. I did see however that everyone and their brother has imitation senkos out this year, they practically had a whole row dedicated to them at bps!!! I have this feeling that they may work for another year or two and then bass will be recognizing them.

As for a rod and reel: I am really looking for a new spinning reel and I love the new Quantum PT with titanium coating. It looks like it might be more flash than anything else, but I was surprised - it really has a lot of great features including 10 ball bearings. I didn’t see any other spinning reels that have 10 ball bearings for under $130. Although I already have the Quantum PT reel from last year with I think 7 or 8bb for $80 and I love that reel!!! I may have to get another one of those. I also looked for a couple of casting rods to pair up with my baitcasting reels.

I took the time to look at some other reels too. I checked out the new Quantum MG series baitcaster and it looks and feels awesome. Not as smooth as a $125-150 reel but for $60 this is a solid reel. I have one of the older ones from a while ago and it still works great. I also looked at that new Shimano reel with the electromagnetic braking system. They say you should be able to cast a lure (even light weight lures) over 250 feet!!! That is unbelievable. Pretty cool, but not for $500.

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