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River report 07 14


Turk

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Report: Walleye. With a little wind the walleyes and saugers on the St. Croix River are cooperating and biting on Lindy rigged livebait. Crawlers, fathead minnows, and leeches are catching fish. Trolling Rapalas is also effective and turning keeper sized fish. For trolling I like the Shad rap, SRS, and Minnow Rap, also the Storm Thunderstick Jr. is highly effective at catching fish. Keeper sized fish are 16 to 19 inch walleye and saugers.

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Cats. This is also the time of year to do some channel cat fishing in the day. Channel cats are pound for pound the strongest fish in the river. A ten pounder will give you a serious battle. I also enjoy that much of this fishing is done from the anchored boat position, which easily leads the body and mind into a true state of fishing relaxation. Cats love cut bait, small sucker minnows, and crawlers (a friend of mine, Steve DeMars is leading me away from the dark side of stinky cay baits. Ha thanks Steve!).

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Bass. Smallmouth bass are scattered over a wide range of depths and are from ultra shallow to 24 feet deep. These bronze backs can still be targeted in the shallows for a time, but later in the day they do drop deeper. Tube jigs, swim baits, Pro Tour Trick Sticks wacky rigged, and buzz baits (to name a few) will catch smallmouth right now.

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St. Croix River level is 677.7 feet above sea level in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 80 degrees. There is a band of cooler water at 22 feet in most of the basin below the I94 bridge. I can see this band on my Humminbird but not my Lowrance unit…I am not sure this is a true thermocline with markedly differing oxygen levels or not, but there is a band of cool water down there.

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Good luck fishin'

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Great report, Turk. Stay after those cats. Won't be long and you will be looking at walleyes as simply cut bait for real fishing.

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I have had two nice outings for cats. Cats are much more cooperative right now than the St. Croix walleye for me so I am spending more time of late going for these big predators.

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Cats are all about the fight!

The last two cat trips I have caught good numbers of 28 to 34 inch (flatheads mostly) on cut bait mostly in the early afternoon. I enjoy how they attack the bait and sometimes really rock the pole upon strike where you would have to be pushing up daisies to not feel the bite!

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Nice one!

I have both anchored and drifted depending on a north wind or not. To this point I am believing I can turn some bigger fish even in the day, I have a bunch of places in mind that should hold big cats, places in fact that they hit Shad Raps in the fall when I am walleye fishing.

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Double cats strikes!

Walleyes can be caught right now, but an all day trip keeper tally would be about 6 to 8 keeper saugers and walleye, so you do go longer than normal in between keeper bites (though this is the average summer time rate). Livebait rigging the "Smoothie" rod is still putting fish in the boat, Plus trolling Rapala Shad Raps, SRS, and Minnow Raps.

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Limit Creek "Smoothie" rod lands another keeper, oh Jim had something to do about it too! LOL!

Keep catchin'

Turk

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Thanks, Turk! I always love your posts and this one has me itching to hit the river for some catfish.

I'm not asking for any specific locations, but what types of spots tend to hold catfish? Jusr curious as to depths, structure, some general things to look for? I've not really figured out what types of spots hold catfish.

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Cats Like current, back flows, and eddies. With that said I have caught some of my biggest cats by walleye fishing in the deep away from current areas (there are subtle currents in these places though)...these are large flatheads chowing down on shad. The massive schools of bait (shad) will move cats. However there are always fish in current areas. Cats hold deep in the day and move shallow in the morning (my theory) and night. There is no set catfish depth, in fact I have caught a nice 10 pound channel cat on a Storm brand Thunderstick Jr. crank bait on a planer board ten feet down over 44 feet of water.

So I just explained a lot here and likely just added questions to your question...lol!

For starters look for current and downed trees near shore with current hitting the trees. This is where I started cat fishing. These spots are in the skinny fast waters of the St. Croix and there is lots of this on Pool Three of the Missisippi River.

Keep catchin'

Turk

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Thanks a bunch, Turk! My son and I will give it a shot tomorrow morning. We'll look for some spots like you described and we'll report back on how we do!

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Well, my son and I are still working on our catfishing skills. We checked out a few spots around Hudson with cut bait and crawlers, but didn't entice any fish with whiskers. We did boat a lot of sheepers on the worms, along with a few smallies and rock bass. We'll give it another try later this week or this coming weekend!

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Herky,

I think you would do better in the fast water north of the Stillwater Bridge as the spots are a little more straight forward with current and current breaks from wood and islands.

Keep Catchin'

Turk

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Herky,

I think you would do better in the fast water north of the Stillwater Bridge as the spots are a little more straight forward with current and current breaks from wood and islands.

Keep Catchin'

Turk

Good luck with that. Not much current flow upstream either. I've been skunked my last 3 times out upstream. Water is at 675.7 feet which is finally our normal summertime stable river elevation but the cats have disappeared. Water temp is a warm 82 degrees and there is very little current flow. The warm, low water had pushed them into the main channel and I picked up a couple of nice post-spawn flatheads the 1st week of July but now I can't find them. The big boat traffic has been terrible upstream - the National Park Service never put in the No Wake bouys at West Channel Narrows or at High Bridge Bend. A lot of boats are running the No Wake Zones and our normal summer peaceful fishing spots are not going to happen this year it looks like.

I'm thinking the cats have moved to the Big Water south of Stillwater for the annual shad migration but I haven't seen any reports of shad pods from the Big Water yet. Anybody seeing any shad pods?

Every year about this time the cats seem to disappear from upstream and start to follow the shad. I'm wondering if that is starting to happen now. I am seeing a lot of sturgeon jumping all up and down the river which is usually a signal of the river changing. Kind of a strange year with the warm, early spring and then the high water with this prolonged hot summer July weather. I am planning on moving down to the Bayport pool and start to troll for cats. I think it is find the shad and find the cats time.

If you are looking for current flow you have to move to the neck down areas. There are a few spots to try: Hudson Swing Bridge has deep water and some current flow plus the No Wake Zone makes it daytime fishable. The Malileau Dam area has some flow - watch out for the rocks.

I'm a night cat fisherman, it helps beat the heat and the boat traffic. I'll be out chasing the Big Water cats after this current bout of unstable weather passes.

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I take back everything I said in the previous post. I guess the big flatheads haven't moved to the big water yet, at least this one hasn't. Got him last night on a big 10 inch bullhead. I had to sit through a rain shower and wait for the weather to clear but my patience was rewarded. He measured out at 46" X 27.5" and weighed 45 lbs on my spring scale. I'm out again tonight.

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Thanks for all the advice, guys! We took the suggestion of going out north of Stillwater yesterday and found lots of catfish. Unfortunately, they were all about 6-10" long!

But my little guy (he's 9 now) and I had a blast yesterday, catching channel cats, sheepers, a walleye, smallies, rock bass, a sucker, and a carp. My son loves the anticipation of not knowing what's on the other end of the line when he gets a bite. The fish of the day was a 17" smallie he caught on a leech in about a foot of water along some rocks. He was dinking around for some rock bass when it hit and surprised the heck out of him.

Good times. We were out for 8+ hours and I almost had to drag him off the boat. If we hadn't run out of bait we might still be out there!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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