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advice for a river newbie?


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So I don't have a lot of experience fishing the river, but I live in downtown St. Paul now and want to start. My fiancee and I went for a run yesterday down by the lilydale area, and just past the launch I saw about 15 boats scattered in that stretch of river. I'm guessing walleyes? I have a little 14 ft. boat with an 8hp motor, is the river manageable in that boat or does it really vary throughout the year? Any advice for a river rookie? Thanks for the help.

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Conditions vary throughout the year. Right now should be okay. I would say your biggest threat in a small boat is floating debris. In the summer on weekends you get the big boats cruising creating some pretty large wakes. It all depends on when and where you fish. Just be smart and keep it to your comfort level, the river is not as predictable as a lake.

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you shouldn't have a problem, watch the ripple of the water for wingdams. Stay away from the barges.

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Also watch the current in the spring. Be sure you can run up-river. So you don't get sweeped down stream. I was guiding on the river saw 3 people in a boat that floated down river. Thier motor did not have the power to push them up stream.I put 2 in my boat then towed them back to where they launched.

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ha ha thats kind of funny...I went out last year with my 14ft. 15hp rig and did just fine...pretty hard to fish when the river's really flowing. I had never gone out before and it was a totally different expirience than what I expected. Do people usually fish the river when its really moving, barely moving, or in-between?

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Quote:
Do people usually fish the river when its really moving, barely moving, or in-between?

All the time grin

The river poses different challenges threw out the year for all kinds of species of fish.

You just have to adapt to the river and learn the "go-to" areas for the time of year (and conditions) you are on the river. This will come from many failed trips with no fish to show, but when you get in tune with the river, it will show its self wink

Short of stealing the Griz's GPS chip, on the water time is key. Learning where feeding fish are during open water is the key (no duh grin).

Now you can read the above and go “Shack, that does not help me one bit to finding actively feeding fish” and this would be true. That is why time on the river is needed wink.

I can tell ya as of last weekend banks (shallow or deep, soft bottom or rocks, wood structure or no structure, manmade structure or natural) where not producing with plastics or lures for walleyes. I expect this weekend to change this. For the good, I hope, for the bad, I hope not, but never the less I will be out and trying at some point.

I will tell you, for large flats during mid summer I always counted on deep holes or deep area’s around man made structure off the main channel. Last year I only got one 30lb’er in these areas. We found more actively feeding flatheads (smaller though) in shallow area’s in the middle of nowhere and on main channel manmade structures during mid-summer. We had to find them and never did find where the 40+lbers where at grin.

You should be just fine MN-FishGuy with your set up in about a month or so. The next couple weeks you might not be able to move upstream with much speed at all. During the summer you should be just fine to venture up stream a ways for fishing. smile

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Thanks shackbash, great info! I have a couple other questions i'de like to ask as well: 1. Do you ever see other people out there running small boat & motor combo's, or is it mainly larger boats? 2. Are there many wingdams to look out for?

Thanks!

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I run a deep 14 ft with a 15hp and can get around fine and never had problems. Regarding the wingdams if you stay in the middle you should not have any problems. Only time I ever have hit one is when I am fishing them and start day dreaming and back over them.

Once you are out there a couple of times you know what to look for (shore rock piles, current seams, etc..) and they are easy to spot.

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I have seen 10-12ft boats on the river,during the summer months. Having enough HP to push against the current is your biggest problem. I would suggest going with someone first, to learn things about the river. Have seen many people have major problems for not knowing what and how to travel the in the currents. Give me a call. chat more about it.

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Quote:
Once you are out there a couple of times you know what to look for (shore rock piles, current seams, etc..) and they are easy to spot.

Yep, could not agree more.

Either talk to Jim above or just take it slow and bring a spare prop and shear pin just in case wink. In a small boat with a small motor, you are not going to do too much damage to the hull if you hit something, just watch out for the lower unit.

Yep, observe all boating info and regulations needed for the river, after spring stay away from the shore at least 30 feet. Right now the wing dams are disappearing fast due to the water rising. In a small boat for the next couple weeks to a month you will never hit one. In small boat during the summer, just keep an eye out for what was said above wink. In the Pool 2 info thread stickied at the top of this forum, there is a link from Tommyk that gives you a good idea of all the wing dams on the Pool 2. Check it out!

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Thanks again everyone...it never hurts to ask. I will have to check that link from tommy, sounds like that will be very helpful, indeed. I won't be getting out in my boat untill a couple weeks, but I would love to venture up shore and cast a little bit. I don't need to catch anything I just want to see the access and get a little more familiar with the river. Do you guys think it is worth it to bring a rod if I am going to just scope the hidden falls area out a bit?

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How about a 1976 16ft alumacraft, and a merc 9.9? Is the boat too heavy for the motor in the river?

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Jari, for right now, until the water starts to come down a bit, I wouldn't risk it. Driving by the 101 bridge in Elk River today, she is flowing very fast. Just wait a few days til the water goes back down.

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Do you guys think it is worth it to bring a rod if I am going to just scope the hidden falls area out a bit?

If that boats on the water with no rod then you should have your head checked. Good Luck

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
      Heard that too. Also heard 38 was closed for a but north of rapids due to flooding.    I know the water really came up when I was up last week compared to when I was there in April. 
    • Kettle
      Someone said 4 inches in the past week, more expected this weekend. A few roads, including county roads that are asphalt ended up with sink holes. Lakes are the highest I've ever seen in the 30+ years coming to the area and now living here. Several people lost trees Tues night
    • smurfy
      Dang Kettle  that bites. Great to hear fishing was good though.   How much rain you get up that way?
    • Dash 1
      50 in 6 hours is great. Boat issues really put a damper on a great day though. Hope you get it fixed quickly.  
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