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Wiskers

River Walleyes VS Catfish.

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Wiskers

River Walleyes VS Catfish.

There are awesome amounts of good water available to today's walleye angler, not to mention the thousands of river miles that cut across Minnesota. The Mississippi, Minnesota, Rainy River, Red Lake River and Red River are some of the names that come to mind, but there are plenty more, and it's rivers that can provide you with some of the best action come early fall if you look in the right locations.

By late summer and early fall walleyes that have been a little hard to find start to show up in the same locations as most catfish and they do so with an attitude. This improvement in attitude plays right into the hands of anglers that have stuck with it and are willing to try new ideas to find them.

Some of the main factors that keep anglers away from finding these trophy fish is the time it takes to find their hangouts. When it comes to rivers VS lakes, the river systems can be very overwhelming. The main rule is, if there is habitat there the Walleyes will find it. It just takes some time and patience.

Current breaks and slack water are good places to start. As a professional Cat fisherman, I have found that Walleyes seek the same habitat as cats in the fall. To start out with, look at the water below the dams in your area. Most of the time you will have the main water rushing down the middle of the river and slack water on the sides. If there is rock on the shores, more than likely there is rock in the water also. Walleyes like this area just as do Cats. They will not have to work as hard to stay put and food will be swept by them much slower than in the main current.

Many rivers will have a very erratic depth contour and this will be the ticket to finding your fall fish. Many fish feed in shallower water than they rest in, therefore, look for contours in the bottom that would allow fish to rest out of the current. Then work your way down from there. If the water gets shallower and levels off, this is a good feeding area. The same goes for wing dams. This slack water has to meet the current some time and that is where they will be laying in wait for their next meal.

Clarity also will play a part in your finding fish in most murky rivers. Cats and Walleyes become accustom to the water they feed in. They will adapt to whatever is needed to feed. If you have murky water then color, shape and size does not matter because they can’t see it anyhow. You have to get them to find the bait, not see the bait. They will feed by smell more than any other sense. Most of the trophy Walleyes caught around here in the rivers are caught on the bottom. If you try the traditional jigging method or trolling methods you will either loose your rigs or miss out on many good fish because a moving bait is much harder for them to catch than a stationary bait that they can zone in on.

Fall Walleyes are looking for areas to feed up and work less for winter cold waters to come. This is why river dams are a good place to start looking for them. Most dams will hold numerous fish in the deep, fast water that is overwhelmed by high amounts of oxygen from the aeration of the dam. Many baitfishes will be swept over the dams and stunned by the water or swept to the slack water, making them easy targets for hungry fish.

River Catfish are a very aggressive and powerful sport fish. They are used to working in currents and feeding on smell and sound only to find their next meal. Keeping this in mind is how you work your way into finding them. Many of the same rules apply from above information on Fall Walleyes, however these rules apply in summer months for Cats.

Catfish are very aggressive towards each other and other fish when it comes to feeding. That is why you will not catch many large cats in one area as you will catch many smaller cats in one spot. Slip rigs are the #1 rigging for river catfishing for several reasons. Rivers are full of rig stealing hidden snags, murky water that hides the bait from sight but not from smell, and currents that sweep the scent down river in the swirling waters. Your bait is going to have to smell like something they are looking for to eat or make a noise that they can zone in on to eat. Crank baits will work but not as productively as baited rigs. Analyzing your current speed and depth of water will help you determine how much weight you will need to keep you on the bottom with out moving around or too much weight will anchor you to the bottom and make too much resistance when the fish start to nibble your bait. Many fishing rigs will have a spinner blade built in to it which will cause your rod tip to quiver when placed on the bottom and your rig is set the way it was meant to be. When that quiver stops, you most likely are having a fish on your bait and it is swimming up stream with it as it is testing the flavor.

Most of the time simple is the best rule. A simple no-roll sinker on a line with a plastic bead between the sinker and the swivel is an awesome start. A Snell of lighter line is use to attach your hook of choice. This Snell can be 1-3 feet long depending on your choice and trial and error in your area. Some times a floating hook rig can also be very productive.

One of the main attractions to fishing the river systems in our area is the abundant types of fish found in the systems. Lake fishing most of the time you will know what you are fishing for and what you expect to catch. River fishing however is off the scale when it comes to surprise fishing. You some time never know what you will catch cast to cast and that is part of the attraction to fishing these untapped fisheries. Most rivers will have much more structure for than any lake and this is where you start looking for catfish. Deep holes and snags are the first place to start looking. Feeding cats will often look for shallow flat runs of river to dine in but will eat anywhere they are at when ever they feel like it. Catfish are the dominant fish in any water they are in, in my opinion. They are the lion of the jungle, Eagle of the sky and Crocodile of the Amazon. Pound for pound they will out fight most fresh water fish. Give them some fast current and you better spool on some more heavy line.

A Catfish as well as a Walleye will have to work their way up river in the current in the manor a search dog seeks its target. Keeping this in mind, you will have a very good chance at getting into some nice fish and making your time on the water a more enjoyable experience and less overwhelming. Last but not least, never be afraid to move, You can be set up in a ton of fish and only catching a nibble hear and there if they are not actively feeding fish. There is always fish under your boat, the hard part is finding the actively feeding ones. Good luck and happy fishing.

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Dan Thiem

Excellent read! cool.gif Very good info there. For instance the spinner blade technique. Never heard of that one before. I'd sure like to try it out sometime.

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Schloogs

Great read! This brings back some great memories of when I was in school at Mankota and spending summer nights on the Minnesota catching those cats.

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harvey lee

Very informative article. Thanks. smile.gif

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AaronM

Awesome..Thanks!

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youngie22

Great article, lots of great stuff.

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Wiskers

Hey thanks fellas, I figure that time of year is getting so close and a little good open water article to get the blood pumping could not hurt. grin.gif

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Wiskers

With these temps, it will not be long now.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • LoonASea
      I fished out there last wednesday ,,, Launched out of Washburn and headed towards Houghton Pt ,,, Lots of current on the brakes to deeper water ,,, Ended up getting 2 splake and one whitefish ,, Marked lots of interested fish just didnt get hooked ,,, Hope to get back out there soon but now that we got snow Im gonna hit the snowmobile trails while it lasts   
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    • Hoey
      Bumping this one up as a reminder - end of the month is not far away!!!  March 1st - you need a 2018 license.
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      nickeleye, Thanks for the report! Lookers but no biters seems to be the pattern the past couple of weeks. Common for this time of the winter on Vermilion! Cliff
    • Rick
      KABETOGAMA FISHING REPORT AND TRAIL CONDITIONS  2/20/2018 SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW!!!! So our forecasted 3-7 inches turned into about a foot of snow in the last 24 hours and its still coming down!  Needless to say the trails are being groomed and are in premier shape.  If you can get up here, the next couple weeks should be awesome riding around the entire area.  Always check with the Park Service and local snowmobile clubs for the latest conditions. On to fishing……the walleye bite has slowed some but with the warmer weather coming through the weekend we should rap up the walleye and pike season with a bang.  Right now, 30-34 ft over mud seems to be producing the best.  Casey form Reef Runner Rentals and Voyageur park lodge is starting to move his houses onto the mud in preparation for what should be a fantastic late season perch bite.  We have some monster jumbo perch on Kab and the fishing can be fast and furious!  And don’t forget about our great crappie fishing.  Rumor has it they are biting but you need to explore a little to find them.  Generally the area around Ash River is a great place to start. Snowmobiling and fishing aren’t the only activities to take advantage of in Voyageurs National Park right now.  Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, the park service sledding hill and skating rink are just a few things to keep you busy in our winter wonderland.  We also have winter camping for the brave ones! It is absolutely beautiful out there right now.  Load up the bus and come visit us in Gods country! Gateway General Store
    • jj56342
      Have you been out Lately how has the fishing been
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      These are gorgeous fish!!!
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    • eyeguy 54
      popped out from 730 till noon today and fun city. went to 3 different areas and did not see another person. gold with red, purple with white produced. Tried the chartreuse wishbone again and still a no go. someday maybe. 
    • Alex wilhelmi
      Awesome thanks Rick! I'll post a fishing report on how we do! 
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