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CALVINIST

monticello to elk river-what can I expect?

20 posts in this topic

Hey,

I plan on floating down the Mississippi from Monticello to Elk River next monday morning with a friend. I have never done this before, so I am asking the experts...what can I expect? I plan on using my 16' boat with motor pulled up. About how long will this take? Besides smallies what species can I expect to catch? Walleyes? Pike? Panfish? What presentations work best?

Thanks

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Calvinist
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Calvinist....thats a good float, we done it in a canoe.

We would hit the typical spots, back washes, behind boulders, top and bottom ends of pools, run and gun so to speak.

Current is fast and the rocks are round! Not alot for an anchor to hang onto.

You can tie off to a branch, or beach it if you find an area around one of the islands that you want to fish.

Maybe you can slip fish also, one guy manning the oars, aiming upstream, one guy working from the stern, all the while letting the current take you down river at a slower rate....gives you a little more fishing time at a spot. Maybe you have a trolling motor you could do this with?

We used strickly artificals, Raps, jigs, plastic, different spinner combos, we got alot of smallies and some really nice ones, a couple of smaller pike and a couple of smaller waldos...mostly bass. We snagged a couple of Carp that got our blood pumping for a minute or two also.

The river is pretty low, I was up in the Elk River area today and I took afew casts, south of town.

I don't know how experienced you are on the river, but if you are not, that can be a real different smoke, once you get into that current! Be mindfull of it, it can be real unforgiving! Read the water.

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A lot depends on how heavy your 16' boat is. It will take you about 8 hours to drift this if you pause some for fishing, wading, etc.

You will hit rocks. Guaranteed. There are a few places that are only 4 inches deep. Take push pole if you possibly can.

Great smallmouth fishing. Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits will get you the 3 & 4lb smallies. Anchor down around the riffle areas and fish them good.

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I agree with HT. There are some real shallow areas in that stretch. A push pole would help bunches. I've done good with tubes in that area also. Although I am quickly becoming a bigger fan of the buzzbait for the bronzebacks.

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Good luck on the float trip. It will take anywhere from 7-10hrs to float this section. I waded a couple saturdays ago and watched a slip boat (1guy rowing & 1 guy fishing and swapping every 5 min.) and they passed me in monti about 9am and I later when down the river about 2/3rds the way down (north of otsego) and they passed me again at about 3:30pm. They were rowing slowly against the current, but any way you put it, it's going to be day trip float.

You will catch plenty of smallies, probably a handful of pike (some nicer pike are in there too - especially in the big eddies and slow current areas!) and you may pick up a couple 'eyes, carp & cats.

For locations to look for... always look for current breaks: bolders, eddies, shoreline cuts/points... The boulder fields/rapids/riffles always produce good numbers of smallies. If there are rocks around, smallies aren't far behind. The other species will hang in the deeper and slower moving waters. For baits, use pegged tubes, senko/stick baits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, inline spinners (mepps, etc...) & jigs. Topwater usually brings the bigger fish, but those will be fewer and farther between. Plastics will get you a lot of fish but will probably come in between 6-12inches)

Again, always wear your lifevest on the river (SAFETY FIRST!), you may be in 4 feet of water and all of a sudden you nail a huge boulder and you'll be overboard - and in the river you can't take chances. I would also suggest beaching your boat around the bigger sections of rapids/riffles & around islands. Get out and fish it a little more throughly because of a few things: you may float by too fast to get that many casts in, especially if you hook a fish from one spot - or it may be too shallow for your boat to make it through (although you will nail rocks on the river...guaranteed!) - or you may find a couple spots that look great but didn't produce on 1 or 2 casts - or just get out, stretch the legs, let the forces of nature call and have lunch. Bring lots of liquids too! Just my 2cents (or maybe like $2). Have fun!

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I would watch for any creeks / water drains ,ext and fish them shallow. metro

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Thanks for taking the time to reply...I'll let y'all know how I do.

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Calvinist
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Calvanist,

I was going to post some questions regarding this stretch when I saw this thread; Monticello is close to my home and I wanted to give it a try somtime with a 14 ft. boat. Did you have any trouble getting your boat all the way down this stretch? Did you get stuck in any shallow spots?

Thanks!

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I had to get out of the boat a couple of times yesterday to get "unstuck". All this rain has not helped get the river up. The good side is that the fishing is great.

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Well, despite post-front conditions today, me and my friend went anyway today. The fishing was actually better than expected. Smallies galore, mostly small, (missed some big ones) but fun nontheless, and a bonus walleye to boot. They seemed to like my chartreuse Hot-n-Tot. We didn't go the route we planned however. My friend said that we should launch in Elk river, motor up some, and float down. Well, the launch was too shallow at Elk river, so we ended up launching in Dayton, which is also in very poor condition, but better than E.R. There were a few spots that were tricky to navigate, but managed...thanks for whoever recommended the big pushing stick! That helped me get unstuck off of a big boulder, and also navigate around some shallows. I would still like to go the route from Monte to Elk river, that would be fun. LetThemGo, The river is pretty low, so if you decide to go, I would avoid the Elk river launch. Overall, the river can be a very unforgiving place, so utmost caution must be exercised. Let me know how conditions are in Monticello.

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Calvinist
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Calvinist...there is another launch, or at least there used to be, just west of Ostego a little ways.

We used to launch there and trap the river down to the park launch south of Elk River.

A trapping partner left me on the river one night and I had to walk from Elk River to the truck and when I went back and checked, I had walked 7 miles, so it can't be all that far out of town.

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I believe you are talking about the Kadler Ave launch. Basically a dead end dirt road.

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Calv, at least you got out and nailed some smallies. There have been a lot of smaller bass this year, but you know what that means - in a couple years those 8-10inch fish will be 14-17inch fish! What a great fishery we have in our own backyards!

Sorry to hear that the ramps were in bad condition, I don't know if you are going to find conditions any better no matter what ramp you head to, the water is WAY LOW right now. We haven't really had substantial rain since the end of May (was it that long ago...man summer is flying by!). The river was really up & cruisin' at opener and has only fallen since!

The one ramp at Kadler might work for you but that is about 1/2 way between Monti & Elk River. I haven't fished south of there yet, but the Kadler area is pretty decent - a lot of catfishermen on that stretch.

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Thanks for the awesome reports & advice! I'll have to try drifting that stretch sometime.
I hate to say it, but the Kadler ave. "primitive" is a much better launch in low water than ER.
I think Snuffy's takes the title of Worst Municipal Launch, though.

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The Kadler Ave ramp is 4WD territory. I got stuck there last year. Better have a backup tow plan.

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I will back up HT's advice - MUST HAVE 4X4 Drive! The ramp is washed out and as of a couple weekends ago had a big water washout/canyon. It's dirt/sand/gravel with mostly sand since the river is so low.

That bend is deeper right at the launch, but you might want to weigh the +'s & -'s. Now if it would only rain a little...but I'm not complaining, the smallie action has been real good! grin.gif

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The best ramp in the Monti area is the Montissippi Park ramp. The ramp at Ellison park is good, but there are rocks all around it so it is hard to get your boat to shore after it's launched.

Be prepared to navigate water less than a foot deep in any direction(within 1/4 mile) from either park.

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Hey Big mike!

I have seen the same row boat you were refering to. kindof a goofy looking boat. I'm out 2-3 times a week In a 15ft john with a 15hp johnson. If you see me out there stop me. Maybe i'll show you my nefound walley hole!

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Wheelier, what sections do you normally fish? Otsego, monti (north or south of bridge)? I'll have to look for you if I get out. I usually don't get up all the way to monti on a weeknight just because it's too far for a quick after work stop, but on the weekends I get up there every couple weeks. You should come out to the Monti FM get together and fish for some smallies. Saturday, Aug 28th from Ellison Park - Check out the "Monti FM Gathering" post.

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I always fish beetween the otsego park and riverwood. went out yesterday and caught some nice ones up to 16.5". I was the only guy on the river, it must have been too cold and windy for the rest of you?. I had the best luck trolling in 4-6 ft! The walleye bite seems to have slowed, I didn't catch a one. The get together sounds fun but I'll be up fishing the big pond that weekend. Thanks anyway maybe next time!

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