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Hey guys, I’m going to try something new this year and target mooneye and other shad for catfish bait this year! My only issues are that I don’t know anything about how to locate them or fish them. I mainly fish from shore and want to try something new. If anyone could provide me with tips on how to rig rods for them, where to look, preferably somewhat close to New Hope MN, and what I should use, I’d be extremely happy. 

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Welcome to FM @Decanno1.


Once you put all the pieces together let me know. The mooneye I've caught have been where streams enter the Minnesota River. Tossing as small a jig as I could to get down fast and avoid snagging the bottom. The eddies are where to look for them. 


I'm sure there are more experienced on here as I've never intentionally targeted mooneyes.

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On 3/4/2020 at 5:39 PM, Decanno1 said:

Hey guys, I’m going to try something new this year and target mooneye and other shad for catfish bait this year! My only issues are that I don’t know anything about how to locate them or fish them. I mainly fish from shore and want to try something new. If anyone could provide me with tips on how to rig rods for them, where to look, preferably somewhat close to New Hope MN, and what I should use, I’d be extremely happy. 

You can find Mooneyes and Goldeyes in the Mississippi from the Ford Dam and downstream, and the St Croix. To a lesser extent, in the Minnesota River, and the Cannon River. They will hit small crankbaits and inline spinners, but if I were targeting them, I'd use a worm.


Gizzard Shad are more common but in my experience, they aren't all that catchable. I've often fished water where I can see them but I haven't ever caught one. Maybe they'd take a chunk of worm.


If I were you, I'd consider making a run up to the Clearwater river and catching a load of big chubs and shiners. it is really easy to find and catch a lot of 5-7" minnows in that river. 


A fun tool for researching this stuff is the Fishes of Minnesota Mapper on the DNR site. You can filter for species and find a ton of survey info that isn't available through MN DNR Lakefinder surveys.

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