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tjoutdoors

When, where to float the Mississippi?

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tjoutdoors

When I was a child my dad and uncle took me and some cousins on a float down the Mississippi from St. Cloud to Clearwater. I've heard it is some of the best smallmouth fishing in the state between SCSU and Monticello. My questions are: 1. when is the month to go and 2. which section (SCSU to Clearwater or Clearwater to Monticello)? I guess a 3rd question is about how long does it take to float from one location to the other?

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MinDak Hunter

September would be my 1st choice and 3-10 hours depending on how much you fish and how much you paddle. You could wade around the Beaver Islands all day, 8-10 hours, and never fish every spot.

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Brad B

can't really say a certain month. the whole section from st cloud to where the crow river enters the mississippi at dayton is a small mouth mecca. that's why there is the special regulations in place for this section. as for length of a float. st cloud to clearwater is 8 to 10 miles depending on which st cloud access you would use. clearwater to becker is 7 miles. becker to monticello is 8 to 10 miles depending on which monticello access you end at. monticello to elk river is about 15miles. total miles from st cloud access by the dam to the access at elk river is 47 river miles. average speed of the river is 3 to 5 miles per hour. so to do like a 8 mile section would take a minimum of 2 to 3 hours if you don't stop to fish along the way. there is a lot of rocks from clearwater to monticello that you have to be careful around. I wouldn't take a regular boat in this section of the river because of the rocks and the fact that the river is so low now. the best way to float this section is in a canoe or kayak. the only type of regular boat that could run this section is a flat bottom jon type boat with a jet outboard. even with one of those you would still need to be careful.

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pushbutton

Not really a bad time to go. By opener they will have got their groove on and good to go anytime after. Fall can be a blast though, on topwater. Have only gone as far as Clearwater and you can do that in 4 hours up to 10 depending how much fishing/goofing off you want to do. Someone just posted an excellent DNR link for the river depth maps in one of the forums.

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Rick G

Like the guys said ahead of me, it varries greatly as to how long it takes to do that section of the river. A few things will slow you down on the St. Cloud to Clearwater strech, first is how fast the water is moving, on a fast day with high water you will be going at a good clip 4-5mph. When the water is low and slow you will be going at around 2-3mph.

Second is all the islands to explore and scenery to look at, imo. it's by far the best section for viewing wildlife.

Third thing that will slow you down is the fishing, it can be great from the dam here in town all the way to the access in Clearwater wink. Tons of smallmouth, catfish, walleyes, crappies and various other river species can be found. Smallmouth have a special size restriction here so they have the chance to grow to good size grin

Best months are June-October. Durring the early summer the fish will be scattered through out the whole river. The later in the year you go the more the fish will be orienting to the deeper holes. If I had my pick I would either do early June, before the bugs get bad. Or early Oct. when the biggest fish in the river are starting to be in more predictable locations.

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Stick in Mud

What they said.

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mrklean

One thing to remember is water levels, couple years ago when the river was super low it was tough getting around some sections cause the water was so low but that section from Clearwater to SCSU is pretty awesome fishing

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tjoutdoors

Thanks for all the responses already folks. Sounds like I can't go wrong with any month during the bass season thru October. Size restrictions are of no concern to me as I don't plan to keep any smallies, if I keep anything at all. As for river levels, we'll all be in canoes as I value the bottom of my boats and my lower units! eek

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pushbutton

Here is that link........ MAPS

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firefish_12

Can u wade this section and cast?

Also what r some good baits/lures to use

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pushbutton

^^^^^psst...check out the maps wink ^^^^^

As for bait...a piece of tin can with hook will get you fish, everybody has their favorites, mine is something cheap and simple for the river since you will lose tackle....jig and a white grub tail is often all you need.

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mrklean

Jig and grub or spinnerbait were always my best baits greens or white worked for me

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Stick in Mud

Pushbutton has recommended a tin can. I prefer aluminum. Just find one of those Miller Lite cans the college kids drop by the river (I should say that they also like Bud Light, but they are wise enough to avoid the Natty Ice...the fish, I mean), attach a hook, toss it out, and you're bound to catch something.

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OnAFly

Are there any shuttle services that run up and down the river? I would like to do a float, but paddling 10 miles up a river flowing at 3mph doesn't sound real fun.

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fischer69

Why would you paddle up the river?

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Rick G

Try Clear Waters Outfitters, they run out of the town of Clearwater. I think there is one or two others that offer suttle service but I can't think of the names right off

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Borch

We used to fish 3 guys and drop off a vehicle downstream before launching upstream. Involved a little more driving but sure beat all the paddling against a stiff current.

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tjoutdoors

This is my plan. 8 to 10 of us are going so we'll just leave a vehicle or two at the exit point and drive up to the entry point and then use the vehicles at the exit point to head back up to get the vehicles at the entry point. It might take a little longer than using the outfitter but all we need them for is a ride so seems like a bit of a waste. I'm going out on the 15th of June so I hope the water level recedes a bit. No more rain is necessary during in the next 2 weeks!

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Rick G

If you were to do the St Cloud to Clearwater section today it might only take a hour and a half wink. The mighty Miss is moving faster right now than it does most springs

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Stick in Mud

Yeah, the river is NUTS. The dam at Sartell has BOTH of the big gates open (at least it did yesterday). I can only remember a few times--and only in the spring during very high water)--that both have been open. I stopped down there the other day just to watch the river....pretty amazing how wild it is right now.

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tjoutdoors

My trip is planned for 2 weeks from now. I hope it doesn't rain anymore and all that water heads south so they can slow the flow . . . ya know?

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Rick G

Even if we don't get any rain for a while the river is going to be plenty high yet in two week's I would bet, just not like it is now I hope. Lots of h20 up in the watershed that still has to come by here yet.

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tjoutdoors

Well needless to say we didn't go back in June. Went to Mille Lacs for some of that fantastic walleye fishing instead. We didn't have a banner day but still put a dozen in the boat and even got to eat one. The river is back down to a more typical summer flow so I think we'll try this float again in 2 weeks or so. Hopefully all that water this spring and summer didn't wash all the fish down river and we can still slam a pile of fish during our float. Really looking forward to battling a few bronze-backs from the canoe while getting sore wrists from casting jigs and spinnerbaits all day!

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Rick G

Conditions are ideal right now so you should have a good float trip. The river is low and slow enough to where you will be able to fish just about the whole way. The high water didn't wash the fish away lol... still plenty of bass in our strech of the Miss wink.

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bassNspear

hows fishing been latly??

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