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thistlekicker

canoeing the Mississippi downstream of Brainerd

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Does anyone have info to share on paddling and fishing from the Brainerd area down towards Little Falls? I'm thinking about a day trip, either from Kiwanis Park to the Ft Ripley landing, or Ft Ripley landing to Belle County Park. Does the river differ very much between these areas? Fishing better in one or the other? Boat/canoe traffic? It sounds like the river is shallow in spots and it is more of a canoe route than a motor route? We would be after smallmouth on the fly. Thanks in advance.

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Its a good stretch for many species. Water should be up some. Probably smaller boat or jon boat. I canoe below brainerd some. There are some nice smally spots. It can get shallow if you motor so watch the lower unit. Theres an occassional musky lurking in some areas

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I'd opt for the lower stretch...I grew up in Little Falls and fished the stretch around Camp ripley for years. Lots of shallows, great smallies and pretty good walleye fishing. Never went up much beyond the camp bridge, but from there down to Bell Prarie rapids is very good.

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TK,

Downstream from Brainerd is a great stretch, although pretty shallow in some areas, and pretty tough on lower units and props. I actually prefer to use my canoe and do alot of wade fishing in likely areas. There are a few walleyes in the holes, some (generally) small pike, and some muskies here and there. Smallies are the most abundant along there. Good numbers, and also a reasonable chance at a whopper. I have never fly-fished them, but imagine you should be able to do pretty well on them. Eddy holes and quiet pools behind current breaks should be good. I also catch alot of fish in the fast water/shallow rock flats....not sure how that would work out with fly gear, but it's a blast with spinning gear (shallow raps, tube baits, jigs/twister tails, skitter pops). I typically see a few boats when I do the stretch between Brainerd and Crow Wing State Park....not too bad, and probably even better during the week.

I've never fished it below the state park, but have heard some phenominal reports from the stretch including the St. Cloud and Monticello area. Some day...... Good luck on your trip.

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