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Sauk Rapids/St. Cloud/Sartell Smallies


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MinnowBuckets

Hi all. I am new to the forum, but not to the area. Who are the folks on here that like to target smallies on the Mississippi (and tribs)? 

The last few years I have really enjoyed fishing smallmouth bass in the St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, and Sartell stretches of the sippi. Anybody getting out for them yet this fall? How is the action for you? Not looking for your secrets (I have plenty of my own), just wanting folks to chime in that share a passion for fishing this awesome river!

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Yea, I'm usually die hard for smallies this time of yr.... Water is still moving a little too quick for my style

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eyeguy 54

ditto on the crazy water, great time of the year.  welcome to FM MB!  

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MinnowBuckets

Thanks for the comments guys. Awesome to see there are a few guys that fish the area regularly. Maybe I’ll see you out there sometime. I’ll be out dunking sucker minnows along the river this weekend. Found a couple spots the last time I was out where the smallies were really concentrated. But then I’d go a few yards down the shoreline.....and nothing. I’m hoping the water levels start to come down.

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BassHunter89

I made it out a couple of weeks ago heading north from the Sartell landing and caught a few, but since I'm new (only lived here a couple of months) I'm making it up as I go.  Hoping to get out this weekend if the weather cooperates.  Do the water levels make the fish move much?  I've never river fished before...

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MinnowBuckets

I’ve always found that changing water levels will relocate fish and throw off patterns. That being said, current fluctuations can also make bass location more predictable. For example, when the water rises and the current is ripping, fish tend to move closer to the shorelines seeking out slower moving water. Also, right now, we are moving into the fall pattern with smallmouth bass migrating from faster sections of the river towards deeper, slower pools where they will eventually spend the winter. Some bass travel up to 30 miles from their summer locations in the fall. Because of the mass migration of fish, fishing can be hit or miss with incredible days AND days that leave you scratching your head. I’ll be in the area shore fishing this weekend. If anyone wants to join me, feel free to PM me. 

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MinnowBuckets

I apologize for the crappy pic in advance. I was on a solo mission and failed with setting up my tripod in an area with good lighting, but here is a 19 inch bass from this morning on the Mississippi near St. Cloud. I was using sucker minnows below a float for much of the morning. Fish really seem to be schooling up in deeper slower sections of the river. I ended the day getting about 20 smallies with this being the biggest. Most fish seemed to be near deeper water adjacent to fallen timber or rock. The fish I caught were in 5-8 feet of water. The high water limited the spots I was able to hit, but it was a fun day overall. I also managed to pick up a bonus walleye on a crankbait after I ran out of minnows.

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eyeguy 54

nice fish, they are really hungry these days. 

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Stick in Mud
On 10/12/2017 at 10:26 PM, BassHunter89 said:

I made it out a couple of weeks ago heading north from the Sartell landing and caught a few, but since I'm new (only lived here a couple of months) I'm making it up as I go.  Hoping to get out this weekend if the weather cooperates.  Do the water levels make the fish move much?  I've never river fished before...

As MB said, high water tends to spread fish out and push them tighter to the banks in any slower water they can find.  A "normal" year with low water in October can be ridiculously, almost unfairly good in the river when you find the smallies. There's a reason it's mandatory catch and release now, as they pile up in deeper, slower water and can be quite vulnerable if/when you find them.  

That being said, the difference in high vs. low water is not as pronounced above the dams (either the 10th St, Sartell, Little Falls, Blanchard, etc.) as it is below them.  At least in my experience, anyways.  

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I fish pretty much exclusively above the Sartell dam.  I normally try to hit it 2-3 times per week.  Over the last 3 weeks, I thought the fishing was down right ridiculous(even with the crazy high water) at times, 12-20 fish in a hour or two before sunset.  I found them right up on the bank, and of course in slower moving water.  There are a few spots north of the dam that are great places for high water.  Some larger areas where the water can swirl around and create backwash.  In fact, I'll point my boat down right and put spot lock on, because the water is flowing back up river, and just cast parallel with the bank. 

Most of the time I'll throw a Scatter rap, then when I see a fish chasing bait, I'll throw out a wacky rig.  

I went out last weekend to a spot I've been hitting, and the fish have diminished big time.  Caught 6 in a couple hours.  Then I went out last night, and caught one walleye.  

So, with that in mind I figured they had to of gone to the deeper rock piles.  And, sure enough, I caught 2 just before sunset, then I headed in.  

If you have SI, just drive down or up river and look for large groups of rock piles.  Go up river from them, and try and do a controlled drift over the rocks.  I normally use a jig and a tube.  And there's no mistaken them when they hit.  

Even a few eyes mixed in every once in a while.  

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MinnowBuckets

Thanks for chiming in and sharing how the river has been treating you lately. They sure are fun to catch. I am hoping to get out again this weekend for some more smallie action. Hopefully they are still near where I was able to find them last weekend....

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I think I'll give it a try today.  Looks like it could be windy, which can help a bit with the down river drift.  

I might try to get out Sunday as well after the game.  But, I think it's time to start putting the summer toys away for the year.  Just not the boat yet.  Will keep that out for a another 2-3 weeks. 

Will tell you how I do if I get out today.  

Another thing I'll add.  I've fished above the SCSU dam a bit this time of year.  Always just went a bit north of the Wilson Park landing and pulled some cranks along the east banks.  Normally did pretty well. Would normally work all the way up past the Hospital.  

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MinnowBuckets

You know it’s a good day when you’re thumb looks like that from lipping the fish! What sizes are you getting right now, Rick?

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Rivers are so under fished in this state.  People seem to gravitate towards lakes all the time and avoid rivers but the reality is that rivers, large and small, have awesome fishing.

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1 hour ago, gimruis said:

Rivers are so under fished in this state.  People seem to gravitate towards lakes all the time and avoid rivers but the reality is that rivers, large and small, have awesome fishing.

So VERY true!

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  • 2 weeks later...
BassHunter89

I was on the river a week ago and had great success.  At that time they seemed to be hanging tight to the banks.

 

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eyeguy 54

water dropped a lot in the last 10 days. :)

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Tom Sawyer

 

22 hours ago, eyeguy 54 said:

water dropped a lot in the last 10 days. :)

No doubt! Been droppin' for weeks.....

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20171018_132811.thumb.jpg.fe54bc37c25c6898031ddada5644788b.jpgNICE SMALL JAWS!

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