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thistlekicker

paddling lower Cloquet to St Louis R.

20 posts in this topic

I posted this in the canoe/kayak forum but thought someone here might know...

Does anyone have experience paddling the lower Cloquet from around the 694 bridge down to where it enters the St Louis?

I have a book that says the last mile of the Cloquet has a gradient of 20 feet per mile (steep!) and is basically a solid stretch of Class II-II+ rapids.

From my experience Class II whitewater encompasses a wide range of paddling conditions and I'm wondering if anyone can give me some additional info on this run.

It doesn't look like there is a take-out between 694 and that last mile of 20fpm drop, which would be ideal.

btw this would be a early summer trip depending on water levels.

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I've done the float many times, that last section is what I look forward to. If you not accustomed to reading water on the fly just pull over and scout it out.

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We have floated that section many many times. Not bad at all. We have taken a 12' jon boat down it many times and it is brisk and hard to fish but very doable for paddling. You will have more of a rapid to look at as you make the turn into the St. Louis the first set of rapids there can be fun. Some large rocks there. Hope you plan on fishing it, there are some nice smallmouth in that part of the river.

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That's one of the things I was wondering about - whether there's good places to pull over and scout the next run. The book made it sound like one continuous, mile-long Class II, and I haven't been comfortable in every Class II rapid I've run. There's so much variability associated with that rating.

Thanks for the info - it looks like a lot of fun. Good bass fishing, I assume.

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it's a nice fast run.

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has anyone ever fished the pools of the cloquet river for walleye???

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I've tryed some spots up by the lost lake road in twig but only cought alot of smb I mean alot ! The 1 spot I've done good at for eyes is off the edge of Bowman lake just after opener cought some real hogs there.

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I have, thats all i will say about that. smirk.gif

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We live in Brookston and are on the St. Louis about three times a week in the summer with our kayaks. In higher water, the Cloquet is a blast, but in low water, it can be a lot of work. My youngest went down it the first time in a kayak when he was 9 and new to kayaking. He did better than any of us. My wife, daughter and oldest son went down as well. No one got wet. If you fall in, stand up. For the most part, the fast water is shallow. In high water, the run from 33 to HWY 2 will take a couple of hours, but in low water, it takes much longer. Once you hit the St. Louis, hwy 2 is about a mile with a few hundred feet of rapids that can be great fishing, if you can get positioned right. The run from hwy 2 to Cloquet is the one that can wear you out. I would guess it is about 11 to 13 miles and the rapids can get a bit spooky. The there is the dead water. If the wind is from the SE, it can be a lot of work and the fishing is almost always bad on the river if the wind is coming up stream. If the wind is from the west or NW, it is a breeze and the fishing can be great. Hundreds of big smallies in august. Cast after cast!

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well i know of a big pool that gets up to about 23 ft. so i'll have to give it a try sometime. What time of year would you fish in the river?

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You can get into spots that hold walleyes. Any run that dumps into a pool would be the best place to look. Might be eyes there or SMB.

I'm not a fan of the plastic canoes but for the Cloquet they work very well as the bottom conforms to the river bottom in those shallow areas whereas a aluminum will hangup.

Best time, I'd pick a time when theres some flow an not much wind. Dead stretches and head winds aren't fun.

Go light with the bare essentials, food water, small amount of tackle and a beater rod tied under the thwarts. Its mostly shallow but wear your life jacket anyway.

Visit the DNR site and look up the Cloquet River for access points and routes. The upper reaches of the Cloqute would interest you as well.

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A lot of fish in the upper St.Louis and Cloquet. We have been up there in canoes and caught upwards of like 70 fish very fun. We ran out of bait.

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all summer grin.gif

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Yep

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When floating the Cloquet river we have caught Largemouth, Smallmouth, Wallies, Northerns, Catfish. There is some slack water where you will find LM but with water level down those areas will be hard to fish or non existing. Coming down the river there are some deep pools. It has been my experience on the river that you will find walleyes above the rapids and smallmouth in and below the rapids. If you are planning to fish take some time to beach and fish below the gravel bars and bigger rock piles. Floating rapalas in orange and also blue ones work well. Also Perch colored. Small spinners in chartreuse and black and orange work well. Beetle spins are another good choice. I like using 7' spinning rods for the extra leverage. 70 fish day, been there done that. Also have done 7 fish days to...If water is low you may have to really work to get down the river, but if you get into one of them 70 fish days you will be hooked on it. Spend some time where the Cloquet dumps into the S. Louis above the big set of rapids. Have taken 7# wallies and 4# smallmouth from that area. Have had times when the little smallmouth are just thick right there.

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Sounds like I have another trip to plan out this summer. I have a buddy that fished the Cloquet River occasionally, usually I think he just hikes the shore line but we could arrange a day out in a canoe.

The river actually runs through my grandparents old property that is still in the family, funny thing is I have never fished it. Its a long trek through pretty thick forest to get there from the maintained part of the property so I never wanted to try getting a fishing pole through there.

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You can take out at the access on the St Louis at Hwy 2 if you walk and fish this stretch of the river can be very good also. There is a game trail running along the shoreline from the access up to where the Cloquet dumps in. Be ready to get wet. There is also a trail that runs through the woods back from the river. You can go from the access under the bridge and follow the dirt road there. There is a gate that you can walk around and follow the trail along the river. It will bring you as far up as the first set of rapids below where the Cloquet dumps in. This set of rapids can be a good spot for shore casting for smallmouth and walleyes. Take care in walking this stretch as the rocks are slippery. During the summer catfishermen use this shore for fishing and you will find the tell tale pointed sticks in the bank. I make a point of walking and fishing this shoreline a few times a year, tuff on these old knees but still worth it. If you are quick enough you can catch frogs in the high river grass and use them for bait.

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I've been down that stretch of water a few times. If the water is up its a fun trip. The first time I took that section of water was during deer season one year. We got out and hunted a few times going down. We lost tract of the time and ended shooting the last few rapids in the dark. shocked.gif

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Shhhhhh grin.gif

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I've been on the whole river from Island Lake to the Hwy 2 / St. Louis River takeout. I've found more walleyes up stream from Hwy 53. Down from Hwy 53 the pace of the river quickens and there is some decent SMB fishing. There are also some long pools that have some walleyes and northerns. The lower section has some class 2 rapids toward the end, but anybody that can keep a canoe straight and maneuver around a few rocks can get to the St. Louis. There are also some Browns swimming around in that section. If you catch this section at low water be prepared to drag your canoe. Catch it at too high of a water level and you can get into trouble if you don't know what you are doing. This section is an easy day trip and don't stop fishing when you reach the St. Louis.

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