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Turk

Croixsippi Guide Service Report

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Turk

05/29/13 In the last week we have more and more found the walleyes receptive to taking the whole bait. I say would since opener the “short strike”, not to be confused with the thousands of 14” walleyes in the river right now, was the most common bite you would get, where the walleye would take the bait and avoid the hook. Now I am seeing a more aggressive bite where they have the hook in their mouth much earlier when you get bit.

full-81-33616-jimbo435wb.jpg

Jim Wernimont with a trophy walleye

I figure that the days are getting long and even though the water temp won’t really budge it is in the low 60’s and the fish are just plain getting more aggressive.

As a sign of normality in a spring where the lilacs and the tulips are flowering at the same time, I am happy to see the sheephead going on their late may early June RAMpage. You know the sheeps are often hated, but they are a native specie, and at the very least keep you on your toes. At least at this point in time these drum are not shallowing the hook. I admit that is when they become irritating.

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Tony Acketzwith his Personal best walleye!

Smallmouth bass. The bronze back bashers opened last Saturday along with the muskies. Both species have been quiet overall. Not really surprised by the slow Muskie bite as it is high cool water. It is strange to me on a day when we go through 6 dozen nightcrawlers and land one smallmouth while walleye fishing - folks that is not normal.

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Bass master Bill Libanski proves he can catch walleye gold!

Walleye depths have been all over the board. I have seen on two occasions within the last week how the wind sucked the eyes up shallow and 8 feet deep was where we tagged some good white tips. Otherwise it has been a 14 to 24 foot depth on average. Livebait – crawlers, leeches, and minnows, though as the water warms I will use less minnows personally. Rigging on a sliding sinker Lindy style is my main set up right now. With a decent to good livebait bite I am not trolling, though late last week trolling did well on Thursday and Friday. I have no doubt that if I pulled my Rapala crankbaits through my rigging spots we would bring some nice eyes to the net. Bright colors bright days dark or neutral colors on clouds, firetiger actually covers both these bases very well. For rigging we are using 6# test, with a 4 to 6' leader, #6 VMC hooks while fishing Limit Creek Smoothies and 8'3" Smoothies.

The river has crested and is falling the current level as of this report is 681.4. The water is very clean with minimal debris. The river level projection shows that the water is on the drop despite the rains. Water temperature is 61 degrees.

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rough_rider

Is it safe to they are beyond done with spawning? I only ask because of the late warming trend that may have threw them off and delayed spawning.

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Turk

Rough rider,

Yep. They are well past the spawning stage.

Thanks,

Tirk

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DonBo

Great report Turk! Nice to see you're on 'em.

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st.croixfishin

Great report Turk! Looks like you have the walleyes dialed in, as usual.

Some thoughts on the smallies... We have been finding a good amount of smallmouth in the 2-8ft range since the bass opener. Rock and sand drops with good current in the "neck down" sections of the river and then a few slow tapering river banks with little to no current and good sized rock/boulders have been key for us. My theory is some of these smallmouth are still spawning or just got done spawning - possibly why they are not showing up in numbers out deep yet. On a normal year, I think you would be seeing more fish out deep already. Jerkbaits, tubes and misc. plastics have been key baits. We've had lots of missed hook-sets from fish nipping at the bait in some areas, then you throw back and can usually catch them - leads me to believe those smallmouth are still spawning.

Keep up the good reports!

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TRZ II

Crappies and Smallmouth have not spawned yet or some have and some have not. I have been getting jet black crappies in the shallows, all males. I cleaned 2 smallies yesterday that had eggs. This is a crazy year. We boated 85 sheephead between 3 guys last sunday.....Sunfish are in 12-20ft, they may not spawn till the 4th of july. My walleye reports are very bad, picked up three legals in 5 min. one day in 12ft and that is about it. Crankbait bite has been painfully bad for me.

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Turk

June 10, 2013, The St. Croix River walleye and smallmouth is alive and well. With the spring being unusually cold, quality walleye can be hard to find, but the good news is they are there. Better news is smallmouth bass are setting up in normal locations and biting well as they should in the first week in June. full-81-34014-royandgayleen.jpg

Roy and Gayleen hammer the bass last friday! 44 boated.

Smallmouth are hitting natural colored soft plastics (tubes, jerkbaits, grubs, worms) and swim jigs near shorelines, both on the surface and on the bottom. Look in depths from 2 to 8 feet of water. These fish are widely distributed on the entire river. It is true certain areas hold much better concentrations, but from Prescott to Stillwater solid 14 to 16” smallmouth are common, and eager to eat your lure.

My partner Scott Hale and I recently fished the Slagle Rig Fest walleye tournament held in Bayport Minnesota. This tournament showed that several fishing techniques are working, proving again that numerous presentations catch fish on the same day on the St. Croix River. Livebait rigging leeches, minnows, and crawlers ALL caught fish. Trolling crankbaits also caught keeper fish.

I know of a high placing team of this 50-boat tourney that kept their boat no deeper than 9.5 feet ALL day and had many nice walleyes. We stayed mainly in 14 to 18 foot depths. I also know of a big 25” coming from over 28 feet. So what am I trying to say here? I am trying to express that you need to be aware of what the fish are doing. Did they move shallow to feed? Did they get run off a spot by boat pressure? You need to do your best to think like a fish – they are wild animals after all bent on surviving. I am not saying you can think like a fish, just that you should try.

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7 pound tournament weighed walleye. Caught on a leech #6 hook. We took 3rd out of 50 boats, with 21.4 pounds.

The over all walleye bite was solid six days ago before the cold front hit. I was able to guide on the same spot and get good walleye (16 to 19 inches) for three trips in a row. Then the cold weather came in and the river wide bite turned into a 14” walleye bite where all the spots were over run by this great year class of fish. It took around 10 shorts to get a keeper.

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Chad out with his father Dave, these guys really caught some fish. Then 2 days later the bite slowed...

I am happy to say the sunfish have not attacked our lines like last year, the freshwater drum (sheepshead) appear to be finished spawning and are still biting well, but not at the RAMpage stage anymore. Drum are a great eating choice for the grill, smoker, blackened fish, fish tacos, or chowders. They are a non oily, boned like walleye, white firm fleshed fish. I have an analogy for you - It is just as foolish to chop up a ribeye steak to use in a stew, as it would be to put walleye into a fish chowder. The drum has their place in many different dishes.

Very low catfish numbers to date, muskie action slow, have not seen or heard much for northern pike either. Water level steady and is 680.1 Water temperature 62.

Keep catchin'

Turk

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FisH_SLaYer24

Nice report Turk! Have you been trolling lead at all yet this year or have you primarily been fishing jigs, live bait rigs, and long line trolling for the eyes and saugers so far?

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Turk

Slayer,

I have been rigging bait mostly. I will troll lots come July, August, and September.

I always have six trolling rods ready to go though at anytime.

I have two - 12' Limit Creeks (LCT120MHF2) with lead line, and two 5' Limit Creek (LCT50MHF) with lead line, and two 8'6" Creeks (LCTE86MHF) used for longline or snap weights.

This way if the rig bite is slow - I start crank'n in no time. My Alumacraft 195 Tourny has a big rod storage box, that helps too.

We are soon to enter the summer transition where slow rigging can get harder to fool walleye. Also the fish spread out. This will happen about the time the water drops in my opinion.

Hope this helps.

Turk

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FisH_SLaYer24

Thanks for the info Turk. I can't wait to put my new Limit Creeks to the test pulling lead. Thanks again for setting me up.

P.S. This is Chris Raisanen by the way wink

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Redlineracer12

The over all walleye bite was solid six days ago before the cold front hit. I was able to guide on the same spot and get good walleye (16 to 19 inches) for three trips in a row. Then the cold weather came in and the river wide bite turned into a 14” walleye bite where all the spots were over run by this great year class of fish. It took around 10 shorts to get a keeper.

Glad to hear it wasn't just me catching the little ones. Your reports are awesome thanks!

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Turk

The St. Croix is rising and is now at 682.68 feet above sea level in Stillwater, MN. The water temperature is 73 degrees. The water is two feet higher and 8 to 10 degrees warmer than my river trip.

I had a great trip today with Bruce Fullerton, and his father, Russ, and his son Andrew. We targeted bass and walleye – a wonderful entertaining Croix mixed combo to pursue.

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Andrew with a beast of of smallmouth bass. This fish fought like the devil and all eight years of Andrew landed this fish himself. Very fun.

I found that even though the water was high the color was not overly stained or muddied, so wind helped on this trip. We live bait fished and did very well on bass especially in the morning.

full-81-34542-andrewrussbrucefullerton.j

Three generations catching fish together today – a real privilege. Russ got this nice bass on a crawler.

All bass here released to be caught again…

Legal walleye, took a bit of time to locate after a week off, but we did find some nice keeper walleye and saugers mixed in with the very strong year class of 2010-2011, there is a huge batch of 14″ fish in the river. I targeted walleye today with spinners/bait and cranks.

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Russ with a 19″ walleye caught on a Rapala Shad Rap.

As mentioned I targeted walleyes with spinners but as we had more luck on cranks, cranks it was.

Pretty typical late June day, though it felt much more like July in the 90 degree heat. Actually the bass were larger than normal, we got at least 6 from 18 to 19″, plus the big one that got away…hey how often do I say that…I bet you can’t find that in print on this site. smile Talked to a buddy at the landing that did well on spinners and that is good, because that means the walleyes are open to a few ways to being caught. When the bite gets tough fewer techniques work…

Also the river will likely go no wake tomorrow. Its summer time.

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Turk

07/08/13 After eight days of a river wide slow no wake rule for boaters, the ban is off. Boaters are now able to hit the firewall again and get the motors humming. I found the no wake a bit slow a few times, but overall the relaxed pace was enjoyable. There was less in my hands and I had to more readily accept what God had in store for catches those days and accept whatever was meant to be was.

Trolling Shad Raps worked well for putting walleyes in the boat. I had mostly half day trips, where we got from 5 to 7 keepers, with many many more 14 to 14 ¾ inch walleyes. I did try very hard to turn fish in less than 10’ of water, but the depths from 23 to 25 were best. Best colors were blue, firetiger, and neutral.

full-81-34899-danyoungeye.jpg

Pic caption - Long time customer and all around great guy – Dan Young shows off his St. Croix walleye he caught on a jointed shad rap. This fish slammed the crank bait! I use 12 foot trolling rods on the outside poles to get a huge line spread. The model I use is the Limit Creek LCT120MHF2.

I really must mention rigging, because rigging with crawlers accounted for half of the catches of short and legal keeper walleyes. I also know spinners are working as well. This time of year I like to use beads ahead of the hook to add some color and bulk up the bait. Large beads can also be used here versus the tiny ones you would use in the early season.

full-81-34901-dougrhodeanddanyoung.jpg

Pic caption- Doug Rhode and Dan young lift their stringer of eyes. The guys and I got most of these keepers rigging crawlers. We found a very heavy grouping of eyes in the last hour of the trip to make the day all the better. With the mild summer heat and sunshine it was a grand time.

I will be out Wednesday looking for the great big toothy predator the mighty muskie. This is the time of year I start to hunt them.

Last outing the river was 75 degrees and the water is now 681.3 feet, which is still 6.5 feet higher than the normal pool level of 675.5.

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Turk

08/06/13 St. Croix River fishing for walleye and sauger has been surprisingly good considering it is the first part of August. The dog days are here and normally the walleye can be struggle to find. However there is a nice year class from 14.5 to 15.25 inch walleyes in the Croix that are biting as of late.

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Terry caught this nice eye.

In case you don’t know the legal keeping length is a 15 inch minimum so there are tons of “shorts” and it is an easy 3 to 1 ratio of shorts to keepers, but heck its fun catching them anyway.

full-81-35626-bonnieandterry.jpg

Bonnie and Terry with 10 keeper eyes and saugers.

Saugers are also biting okay, but a little slow for this time of year. We did see nice 18 inch saugers about ten days ago but now the good keeper saugers are from 14 to 16inches. Also saugers can be any size to keep.

The river has a strong algae bloom right now, and I can’t say that it is all that pleasant. Naturally the river flows so certain areas harbor this green stuff more than in other areas, where say in the middle of Lake St. Croix the algae is not too thick at all.

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Bonnie with a HUGE Buffalo

If you are looking for new presentations from me on what is working it is the same as weeks before, I am livebait rigging with crawlers (mainly crawlers very little leeches) and trolling Rapalas to take the fish. Best depths have been from 20 to 30 feet.

Very brief white bass activity is happening on the surface and it is a far cry from what it used to be, I really long for the days where you would see these “silvers” busting on the surface the whole river wide and it they were so easily caught… dyas gone by….

Channel cats are biting on the livebait rigs, but they are really small.

River level is 675.5 and water temp is 74 degrees down from 80 two to three weeks ago.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • skyking
      Was up last week on Kab and it seemed that your bait depended on where you were fishing. Some areas leeches did good, but others minnows were the go to. We lindy rigged the entire trip and on days when wind was gusty we did pretty good shallower with minnows in 13 to 20 ft....then some areas we were doing better with leeches 16 to 32 ft. No wind was like the dead sea.
    • Mike89
      catch and eat the crawfish too!!!
    • Uncle Boney
      I can second A Warrior.  Jumbo leeches for Walleye.  Northern were more interested in minnows and crawlers.
    • Harry Goodliffe
      A Carp Anglers Group Fishing social will be on June 23rd in Coon Rapids. If you enter the park from the Coon Rapids side (Egret Blvd), take a left from the parking lot and drive towards the picnic shelters. Take a right at the first stop sign and park in the lot. We will be fishing in the stretch or river behind the picnic shelter/playground. Start time can be before 7am and you can fish into the evening if you want. There will be medals for the 3 largest fish captured.
    • Gone Out Fishin
      Thanks for lots of good info guys.  Sounds like if I do things right I can have fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'll try fishing that reef for some evening walleye. Bobber fish for some sunnies in the weeds.  @delcecchi, I catch enough Walleye in the summer that I really don't want to ask. I won't shy away from a bite. I'll check that little bay for crappies.  @vermilionfox, Wow that is a lot of location data. My PROP thanks you for the rock info!  Merry Go Round? I have another question regarding the Rusty Crawfish... are they a problem on the west side of the lake too? Bloody mini lobsters. I remember spending lots of time using orange for bass and walleye since they were a major food source. Been years since I've done that.  Gone Out Fishin
    • Parmer
      I don't think you will be able to run it on that generator. I have a yamaha 2000 and I have not tried it yet but from everything I have read you need 2800 watts to start the AC. All the 2018 ice castle fish houses are coleman mach 3 plus AC I think. 
    • BigVwalters
      The fishing was pretty decent over the weekend.  Walleyes were biting on rigs with leeches or crawlers. Caught 12 between Friday and Saturday with with 4 nice slotters.   Biggest being a 24".   
    • Borch
      Star Island in Cass Lake has remote, boat in primitive camping as well.
    • A Warrior
      Just returned from a successful trip on Kab.  Minnows did catch fish, but leeches were the ticket
    • Rick
      Angling regulations on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River in northern Minnesota would change under a proposal being considered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to reduce the number of walleye and sauger allowed to be kept in the winter on the lake, and on the river allowing only catch-and-release fishing for those fish in the spring.  “We recently went through a public process of updating the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Management Plan and identified several potential areas of concern with regard to current levels of harvest,” said Phil Talmage, Baudette fisheries supervisor. “That’s why we’re discussing these potential changes.” The proposed changes would reduce the aggregate limit of walleye and sauger in the winter to align with the summer regulations on Lake of the Woods, and make spring angling on the Rainy River catch-and-release for walleye and sauger. The changes would go into effect starting March 1, 2019. Anglers will see yellow signs at public water accesses around Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River later this month notifying the public of the proposal. Future news releases will provide the details of a formal public comment period during the fall, and will include ways to provide comment to the DNR on the proposal. For more information on Lake of the Woods management go to mndnr.gov/lakeofthewoods. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.