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LanceJ

New to the North Croix

24 posts in this topic

Hi everyone. This season I'm planning on seriously pursuing some river fishing...as many of my favorite metro lakes are speed boat/jet ski havens in the summer. The area I'm first considering would cover probably the first 3-4 miles north AND/OR south of the Taylors Falls dam. Can I expect decent fishing in this stretch? If so, what can I expect to find? I fish for crappies/sunfish and walleye primarily, but I am willing to expand and learn in any way possible. I'm equiped for fishing 2 to 10 pound gear on spinning reels, and thinking about picking up a crankbait casting combo this spring. Thanks in advance for any advice!

Lance

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First off welcome to FM.Ive only fished the Franconia area in spring,Its about 3 miles or so south of Taylors falls.Its a good bet for opener but beyond that I dont get up that way much.However,Tunrevir and John Wells post on this forum quite abit and Im sure they can steer you in the right direction.....Good Luck...

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There is good fishing both above and below the dam in the summer months. On the topside it is more like a deep lake towards the dam with 25-40' water depths and lily pads and brush piles as well as a few crappie cribs and rock piles. The basin can be great for crappies, eyes and smallies with a largemouth, pike, catfish and even some sunfish thrown in. There are accesses on both the Mn. and Wisc. sides with the Wisc ramp being a bit nicer IMO. North it can get shallow and really rocky and give you fits if you haven't been in the area before but good fishing areas north as well. South of TF you can launch at the park on either side of the river and work the Dalles area. Again, walleye, sauger and crappies with the bonus of some hard fighting white bass thrown in as well as the rivers usual assortment of other fish. South of the park it shallows up quite a bit till Franconia and the shoals could be a problem depending on the size boat you run. Franconia has a small dirt landing to launch although it can be real dicey once the lower flows of summer roll around. North of the landing there are many fishy areas and deep holes that hold the usual characters, sotuh of the landing is the eagles nest campground(MN side)boat to access only with privvys provided. There are a few cuts along the area that can hold early season fish but again alot of shallow shoals so watch your depthfinder and prop. Further to the south you have the Osceola landing and surrounding backwaters which hold pike, crappies and eyes with a few smallies thrown into the mix. Tough going upriver from the landing again due to rocks ect and shallow water during the summer, south is a bit deeper with a few holes and cuts that hold fish. Pretty wild from Osceola to the Copas landing just above Marine on the St. Croix. Look for fishy areas to have some type of cover or change in bottom substrate and of course current breaks. Jigs, cranks, live bait rigs can all produce, experiment and have fun that is the best part about exploring the river! Good luck!

Tunrevir~ cool.gif

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Thanks Tunrevir! I will definately take all that into consideration. I've launched at Franconia, and at the camground off 8 going toward Taylors Falls before. I know the area fairly well. I went to school at Chisago for a number of years, I've just never spent much of any time fishing on the river. The few times I did, it was usually camping first, and a little fishing second.

I have a pretty small 14ft alum boat that runs fairly shallow, and I can trim the Johnson 15 if need be. I'm not too worried about the boat taking damage, as its pretty managable.

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Thanks for the tip-o'-the-cap, croixeyes! North of the Dam is my new favorite area to hit as it is closest to my house. I used to fish the crap out of the lower end, and pretty much know it like the back of my hand, but it is so dang long of a drive for me to get down there anymore. I have found that above the Dam is pretty much a similar experience to Lake St. Croix, but much smaller. Right around Wild Mountain the river starts to read a lot like north of Stillwater. One thing that is different is that I have yet to catch a sauger up here. As far as the fishing goes, tunrevir pretty much said it all. My one piece of advice, though, is to not try to jump all over the place north of the Dam. Most of the consistent bites I have had are in the area around the launches. Be methodical and learn this area well. There are some dynamite areas upriver, but you will torch a lot of fuel and time getting to the spots. I won't give away any spots in particular-but keep in mind that you don't have to go very far from either launch. Toss light jigs at the rocky shores, work the drop-offs, etc... classic river fishing.

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If you fish any of the areas between Interstate and Bill O'Brien State Parks, I recommend fishing early in day or late afternoon/evening. The "aluminum hatch" (canoes) picks up about 10:30 and stays pretty strong thoughout the day. You also have to deal with the riverboat and the "catchin' anything???" phrase north of the Franconia area. Most of the times it's pretty comical.

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Thanks for the advice everyone!

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Hi Lance, I don't want to steal your thread, but does anyone have info on how the fishing is around copas landing. I started fishing the St. Croix a bit last year and often put in/out there. Lance I found the fishing ok, but I am new to the St. Croix myself. I also did not get out there as much as I would have liked. Hopefully this is still in the area that you are interested in??

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What are you fishing for? The area around the landing is pretty shallow. As you head north, there's a few shoals but also a few deeper holes with stronger current. If it's walleye and sauger that you are after, you need to hit this area early in the year. When the spawn ends and summer warms the river, many fish will move back down river. There's always some that stay, but you'll need to fish the deeper holes and also the current edges. Hope this helps.

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lance j

i also like to fish from franconia up river, i also run a 14' aluminum with a johnson 15, works great as summer gets longer and the water gets lower to get to the deeper holes. ive had my share of good days and bad days there. i like to fish up river from the (franconia) boat landing by the island. i like to hit it very early ,like so haad said, it gets busy with"aluminum hatch".. but what guy cant resist a girl in a 2 piece ...but all kidding aside ive found that the early morngings are best for me until the sun hits the river,

good luck

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Thanks for the input F&F and so haaad!

I think I know the island you're talking about...the rock island with the sand bar on the south end of it, with some pretty significant depths by the bluffs on the WI side? I'll be targeting walleye and crappies...but since its the river, out of the ordinary can be the ordinary.

Any recommendations for early season? Depending on depth and the current I was planning on doing pop and verticle jigging, and some live bait rigging and bottom bouncers. Any live bait out perform others this time of year, or should I bring the buffet? I'd like to stick with plastics like gulp grubs, jerk shads, gulp swim shads, and ringworms, but I know live bait can be key.

Are rattle baits a good go-to for fishing the river?

I know I'm asking alot of questions...keep in mind I don't want anyone to give away the farm, so to speak. Any help on stearing me into the right direction for river angling methods to keep unsuccessful trips to a minimum is all I'm looking for.

Thanks guys.

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LJ, your better walleye water is going to be in the break areas of the current where the faster and slower water collide. Also pay attention to the rock face as that might clue you into areas that will hold fish as well. Tail out areas of the holes will hold fish just like the head and tail sections of various islands. Shallow sand and stretches with a rocky shoreline will produce as well as the medium depths either trolling cranks and or live bait rigs. Vertical is good up that way and don't hesisitate to go really light and shollow if need be(1/16th/1/8th) pitched on a hop and fall retreieve can work well. I'd stock up on 1/4 and 3/8th ounce jigs and be ready to use them as well. Look shallow first and then go deep as the day wears on. I have always liked fatheads and shiners up that way with crawlers and crappie minnows in the summer months. Cranks can and are effective early like the opener both trolling and 3-way rigging or lead if you prefer. I haven't fished the area alot with the live bait rigs but rest assured they will catch fish but I find the cranks and jigs and occassional spoons can turn the bigger fish more consistently. Hope this helps!

tunrevir~

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tunrevir, u gotta show me how to catch dese eyes with crankbait in the st croix river!! i m thinkin abt hit the croix for opener but aint sure where..

ole matty

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Matty,

Tunrevir doesn't know a thing about fishing the St. Croix. Every time that I've been on the river with him, he's left with the skunk! Right Tunrevir?!? grin.gif

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Quote:

I think I know the island you're talking about...the rock island with the sand bar on the south end of it,


Ironically that island is acutally named "rock island" I'll be around there on opener, if you see a beat up 14' Alumacraft with 4.5 evinrude on it be sure to say hi!

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There's actually a weasel or some kind of large varmit that lives on rock island. Or at least there was last year. His eyes glow... Ooooo! Eeeee!

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Quote:

Matty,

Tunrevir doesn't know a thing about fishing the St. Croix. Every time that I've been on the river with him, he's left with the skunk! Right Tunrevir?!?
grin.gif


I can neither confirm or deny that last satement, anyone know what this guy is talking about? Winter is a whole new nut to crack but I intend crack it. Thanks for making the journey this winter, looks like we may have to get out sooner next year! I'll let you lead though! grin.gif Matty, I'll tune you in on the crank bite in the next week if you are willing to listen to this old skunk! grin.gif

Tunrevir~

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tunreviur, sure i ll let old skunk teach me a or two abt crankbait either way. i just want to fish with u cuz i KNOW i will outfish you again grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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No trash talk ole Matty...please read forum policy grin.gif!!!

We'll be down there again this opener. We fish a ways south of O'Brien so we may or may not see you guys (we do launch at O'Brien). I think tunrevir hangs north of that area. I have 16' blue lund rebel with a black suzuki on it. Me and Clam Up will be down catching whatever we can.

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Quote:

if you see a beat up 14' Alumacraft with 4.5 evinrude on it be sure to say hi!


That was YOU on Long Lake the other night! heh

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Small world huh - I take it you were the one back in the lagoon when we got there?

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Yeah that was me alright! In my pleasure cruiser. I was just working my way out when you guys were coming in. Anything with any size back there? I caught a handful of crappies and sunnies but nothing decent. I think I had more fun watching the little girl in the creek channel pulling in a carp. She was pretty excited.

If I see you out there again I'll stop and introduce myself.

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No trash talk ole Matty...please read forum policy
grin.gif
!!!


what forum policy??????????? grin.gifgrin.gif

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Lots of action but nothing even close to "keeper" size. Yeah, that little girl was really nailing the bullheads - it was pretty entertaining to watch her jump up and down everytime she got a bite.

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