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crow river


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does anyone fish the crow river? I was there friday 24th caught one 25-26" channel on the south side of rockford using a cut sucker. the biggest cat I have seen was 29" anyone know how big they get in the crow?

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Me and two of my buddies fished the Crow last Monday and Tuesday night. Caught 23 cats total. All between 3 to 10 pounds. Tried Saturday before the front and didn't catch a single fish. Still kind of early. The good action probably won't come for another 2-3 weeks. The biggest cat we've taken in the last 10 years was about 25 pounds, but that was definitely the exception. Usually the biggest cats we catch are around 17-18 pounds. If you want a fun time get a pair of waders and venture away from the crowds in about a month after the water starts to drop and find a hole that you have all to yourself. It is almost always worth the effort.

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thank you for the tips it sounds like i have a chance to catch some big fish. i went out today for 3 hours and caught 1 21" cat. do you use only cut bait?

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I've fished the Crow for almost 20 years & have never seen a cat over 15 lbs. I'd love to see a picture of a 25lb Crow fish. Did you get a length measurement?

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Like I said that really big cat was a fluke as far as I'm concerned. But it did happen. Like I said, normally the biggest cats we get each year are around 17-18 lbs. We do use cut bait. I am not going to reveal my secret weapon. I'll give you a hint though. Just figure out what the cats in the crow eat as their normal table fare, and you'll be well on your way. It is a bummer that you don't get one of those occassional fish over 15 lbs. As I stated above, you need to get a pair of waders and get to a section of the river that isn't an easy access public fishing hole. It is definitely a little bit of work. I'm not trying to pull the wool over anyones eyes on that. It really isn't any different than getting away from the crowds while ice fishing.

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Pikeguy, I've caught many channel cats over 20 lbs, mostly on the Red River. My biggest are 28-30 lbs. But I spend a lot more time on the Crow, Minnesota & Mississippi & rarely see fish of that size (17-25 lbs). I'd love to see monsters like that come out of such a small river. Do you have any measurements or pics? Not for proof but just out of curiosity.

Thanks

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I've fished the crow for the last 15 yrs or so on both Nth and Sth forks. Seeing a fish over 20 is very rare, the average bigguns are 10-15lbs. But a few yrs ago a buddy of mine did catch a #21 CRP, so I do know some are swimming around. Sorry no measurements, the only pix was on a camera phone and it was at night so the pix didn't turn out really well.

I agree with Pike, cut bait, find out their normal forage, and get away from the crowds. I like to take float trips in a canoe to get away.

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Vern, I don't take pictures of fish. Maybe I should, but I really don't care about bragging rights per se. Honestly, the big cats are not what I'm really interested in. What I am looking for is the 3 to 3 1/2 pounders. Smaller than that or larger than that they go back in. I'm out there looking for that specific range as those are the ones I think are perfect for eating. Now is the best time of year as the water is still cold. Between last Monday and Tuesday night me and my buddies were all able to put a limit of eaters in the freezer. That's what I care about. The one thing I enjoy more in life than hunting and fishing is cooking. My real enjoyment comes from eating stuff that I personally took home, cleaned, and prepared. In my mind it doesn't matter if it is 10, 20, or 30 pounds. You cannot do anything with a fish of that size. Too big and too full of pollution. Give me some 3 pounders and look out. Cajun catfish with cajun tartar sauce here we come! I made a vow not to get into political conversations, but one thing I see on the river all the time is guys fishing with too light of gear. What happens is they take forever to bring a fish in, and the lactic acid builds up in their system and it kills a lot of fish that are released. I like to use one of my big musky rods with either 20 or 30 pound line. Our goal is to always bring them in quick, and if they aren't going home with us, then get em back in right away. It's those bigger fish that are the reproducers. When they swim away quickly it is a good feeling, as you know you are sending a fish back that isn't exhausted. That might be part of the reason why people don't see very many fish over 15 pounds? Also, if I'm turning them back, I'm not going to take the time to snap a photo before putting them back. Part of my belief on conservation is to get them back in as quickly as possible if they aren't going home to the frying pan. Take care, Pikeguy

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wow limit on cat is great,pikeguy. 2 is the most i caught in oneday nomally one but most of time nothing. i heard they use to have a dam on crow river around st micheal. does any one know where it at? just wanna find a new spot to fish.

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pikeguy how do u cook your cats? I've had some that friends cooked and they were terrible. Thanks for the fishing tips. Biggest out of the crow for me was 10 lbs. Good luck

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I agree, you should use heavier tackle when targeting cats. I’m normally running at least #30 and circle hooks. Ever since I’ve been using circle hooks I can’t remember the last time I gut hooked a fish. Usually it’s right in the corner of the mouth.

Cold water cats do taste the better, and the best catfish I’ve ever had has been while icefishing. When cleaning a cat watch out for the mud lines and the yellowish fatty parts of the meat. Cut them out, stick with only the white meat and you’ll be fine. Sometimes giving them a quick soak in beer or saltwater helps with the taste also. I like to deep fry mine, so any normal batter that you like will be fine. I’m a big fan of Shore lunch Cajun or make my own batter.

Equal parts flour and cornmeal, then add seasoning salt, black pepper, Cayenne powder, Garlic powder, mix everything together to taste and you’ve got a pretty darn good batter=)

There is the old Bernie Mills dam in St. Michael right behind the Tavern, but it’s private property and is gated now. There are shore spots near it though that will hold fish as well.

There is a lowhead dam at Watertown also.

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Here is my recipe for Spicy Catfish Fingers:

1 lb catfish filets. I cut them into strips diagonally from top to bottom about the size of my middle finger, pat dry with a towel, and shake salt and pepper over them.

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl for the rest of the batter:

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup all purpose flour

Then place ingredients into a large ziplock or plastic container with a lid for shaking the fish in. After you coat the fish deep fry in 350 degree oil for 3-5 minutes. They are usually done in 3 minutes but can be a little on the soft side. If you like them a little crispier fry the additional 2 minutes.

Cajun Tartar sauce recipe:

3/4 cup mayo

1 TBSP dill pickle relish

1 tsp lemon juice

2 TBSP dijon mustard. I used Emerils.

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 TBSP finely minced onion

It is best to make the tartar sauce the day before as the flavors marinade together and it tastes better then next day. If you do make it the same day, do it at least 3 hours ahead of time so it will have time to cool in the fridge. Tartar sauce is meant to be served cold.

My wife never used to eat catfish, until I took her to Famous Dave's about 8 years ago. I ordered the catfish fingers. She asked me how it was, and I said really good, but not as good as the recipe I have at home.

The next time I made my catfish fingers at home, she tried them, and absolutely loves them! Now she even buys fresh catfish filets at Cub when she is hungry for catfish. Drives me crazy! Catfish are to be caught, not bought! Oh well, what do you do?

I have another kicked up version of the tartar sauce that has some real kick to it, but it is more than than the average person can handle. The version I gave you is the one that my wife really loves. Since she grew up out by Watertown on a dairy farm, it should be safe for the masses. If she can handle the flavor, everyone can. Her parents even like it, and they have been meat and potatos folks there entire lives.

My goal is to make fishing more enjoyable. For me, my favorite part of fishing is eating. Give this a whirl. I've never had anyone unsatisfied with this one.

If you make it, I would love to hear back from you on what you thought of it. If I ever open up a restaurant some day, this one would definitely be on the menu.

Right now, I am experimenting with sunfish and crappie filets. I'm trying to invent a chowder, similar to a New England Clam Chowder, but using crappie or sunfish meat instead of the clams. My dilemma is coming up with a substitute for the clam juice in the recipe. I have been experimenting with different fish stocks, but haven't found a winner yet. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Thanks, Pikeguy

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94W, to 241 St. Michael exit, take left going south, to the 1st light which is 40th St NE, follow it down to the river and you’ll see the signs that will take you to the bar/tavern. If you go over the bridge then you’ve gone too far, but there is also shore fishing spots if you park at the Park area and do some walking around.

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Hi...

I am new to Crow River, I need some advices.

Do you guys fish from shore or can you do it in the 14' boat?, and is there any boat launch around St. Michael?..

Thanks.

Soft.

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I normally just shore fishing but I have fished parts of it from a boat or float it in a canoe. During the spring with higher water your 14’ should be just fine, but be careful and don’t go full bore. A bud of mine uses his 14 jon with a 25hp short shaft and has navigated it with no major issues. The closest launch to St. Michael would be at Dayton. There is also a launch at Rockford and Watertown.

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Soft, personally I just fish from shore. You might be able to use a boat in higher water like now, but even then its pretty close. I've been doing just fine shorefishing, just have to put in some time to find good quiet spots. The closest launch I know of to St Mike would be in Hanover. Its a little county park on the north bank. If your coming south on 19 take a left just before you cross the river and follow that back to the park. Good luck.

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Do any of you eat fish out of the Crow, my big concern is the huge watershed of the crow through agriculture land with the fertilizer. I would like to smoke some suckers but always tentative. Opinions??

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I know people who have eaten fish out of the crow their whole lives.

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I have another kicked up version of the tartar sauce that has some real kick to it, but it is more than than the average person can handle. Thanks, Pikeguy

now you have to spill this one Pikeguy

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Been eating fish from there since around '85. Might explain a few things! I have caught a few redhorse the last couple years. That's a good sign since they are somewhat intolerant of poor water quality. The North Fork gets a good boost of clean water when the start pumping Pulaski. Just like most waters in the state: Keep the smaller ones and let the egg layers go.

A couple years ago, I saw a guy from 'out of town' on the bank. He was yelling about catching a "fy poun boo-head!" He held the channel cat up to his armpits and the tail was curled on the ground. The only problem was he was tresspassing. Something to keep in mind when shore fishing.

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the water from Pulaski goes through Buffalo and deer, then down to the crow. Plus there is several areas where it gets filtered out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've fished the Crow for almost 20 years & have never seen a cat over 15 lbs. I'd love to see a picture of a 25lb Crow fish. Did you get a length measurement?

Vern,

It's no 25 but here is a 17-pounder I caught out of the Crow back in 2001:

3575350174_070c9c14de_m.jpg

One of the fellows I was with wanted to keep him and I didn't say no. So it did end up on somebody's table, just not mine. An animal that size probably has more mercury in it than a weatherman's thermometer! eek

In retrospect I really regret not releasing the fish; It's a shame to take a big breeder like that out of the game. frown

I've since mended my ways!

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