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Early Season Shore Fishing Ford Dam/Hidden Falls


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Looking for any reports, suggestions, or discussion on what to expect this afternoon when I make it down there. Anyone been having any luck?

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I went down yesterday in the rain, and saw two boats... wait maybe three the whole time, no one looked like they were catching anything.

I tossed Perch color swim-baits, minnow color rap's, and a few other things and couldn't pull anything in. I tried a jig and gulp minnow and still couldn't even get a nibble.

Cold and wet, is how I would describe yesterdays fishing.

Oh well, it was nice to cast, but my powerpro kept knotting up in the middle for some reason. Maybe the wind.

Anyone know of a better way to catch fish down there from shore?

I'm going back down right now.

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we always go for carp down there with oatmeal. never been skunked yet, lots of fun.

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You hit it good with your choices, just walking along the bank casting can get some good fish.

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I went down there yesterday and threw some more stuff for a few hours from shore... not a nibble... talked to a couple guys who seemed to know what they were talking about. They said that the water was up at least five feet from the weekend before, and that they just walked down to the dam to see how high the water was, and to watch the boat guys to see if they were pullin' anything in.

There were about 8 boats all congregated in front of the lock, and that was steady because as one left, another two would show up.

This good weather has got us fisher people going crazy!

The guy said he had about 25 years experience from minneapolis to hastings... and said that the water is still real cold, the fish are staging for spawn, and that once the flow of water gets moving, thats what will trigger the fish to move up to the dam... he had no real suggestions on how i could catch anything from shore other than just be patient, there are fish down there.

The water temp is probably 35 degrees, and I'd assume once it hits about 40-44, they will become more active...

So i guess i just have to keep my line tossed and my fingers crossed.

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you mean throw way up where the current is very strong, and its bubling white foam? I want to throw in that?

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All of the eyes I caught last year down there were right at the bend, or a little down from there, on the St Paul side before you get to the rocks. I tried to fish up closer to the dam, but the current was too strong and my baits wouldn't stay down very well. When I go, I usually just put on a floating jig head tipped with a fathead with an egg sinker and real it in slowly if the current is high. Otherwise I just leave it if the current is slow. I am sort of a lazy fisherman when it comes to the eyes.

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i've been fishing hidden falls for about 5 years & for some reason just started fishing the dam area last year or two. i had some great luck last year. one monster northern. i'm thinking about heading down there next week. the weather this week does not look promising to warm up that water.

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Like others said minnows are a safe bet but if you want to go the artificial route a jig and ringworm can be killer. Ive caught LM, SM, walleye, sauger, sheepheads, pike, rockbass, crappie, and whitebass on them. Id recomend a bass style shaky head/jigworm style jig so you can texas rig the worm to prevent snags. I tend to fish current breaks or small bays so I can get by with 1/8 and 3/16 oz jigs. Ive never really tried fishing them in high current areas from shore.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • redlabguy
      Mark, Glad your crew had another great outing. It’s always good to read your reports. Just wish there were more of them like the old days. Sorry you hit the storm. One of the worst in our 14 years. We’ll be dealing with dock issues for a long time but nothing like the good folks in Cook have.  The fishing has come around a little since the storm. Definitely nightcrawler now. I don’t get far out of Frazer but the reefs are where the action is. Looking forward to hearing from you in September.  My best to you and Linda, RLG p.s. Our good old red lab, Ole, cashed it in last summer, but we have a 6 month old lab now who is learning the ropes up here (and teaching us we’re older than we think we are!)
    • Mike89
    • leech~~
      No can see?  
    • 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. 
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