05/19/13 Yesterday my partner tournament partner and good friend Scott Hale and I fished the Paul Koval St. Croix Classic walleye tournament held out of Beanies on the St. Croix River. We got completely soaked by a three hour rain during a real touchy bite, but managed to land six legals to bring to the scales for 13.30 pounds, I ran the boat and Scott caught the fish. We finished 4th place out of 26 boats. The bite was incredibly light, feeding biting fish livebait was a must. Many (over half) of the tournament anglers did not weigh a fish. With that said it is hard to say that a river wide bite is on. The winners Dave Hale and Mark Hedin had a great eight fish bag with over 25 pounds. Congrats to them.
I am still believing a good river wide bite will happen this spring. The river is 60 degree water temp, and above 680.0 and looking to rise a foot in a week. Still low sheephead and smallmouth bass activity, white bass are holding deeper and fairly active. In the tourney bait anglers did better than trollers.
05/12/13 Yesterday was a Saturday and the Wilkening guide trip day, with a great group of repeat customers – Bill the father, Dan and Mark the sons, and Mathew who is Dan’s son. Our goal was the 2013 elusive walleye keeper. With sustained 22 mph winds and 30+ mph gusts forecasted, feeling out the bite and how we could effectively fish four anglers considering the windy conditions was the plan.
We fished our first spot (a place where a few species are normally caught and mixed in can be keeper walleye), where two days previously we hammered on the white bass with fathead minnows. This day we found nothing biting.
Still very early in the trip, the winds already had caught up with the boat, so spending time trolling Rapala crankbaits for the best boat control looked like a wise move. We started fishing in one of the river narrows (in 16 to 19 fow) that still had good current running through it. After five minutes of trolling, Mark caught a short walleye that could have fit in a hot dog bun. Then a minutes later Bill caught a 14” walleye. The wind kept coming. Within a half hour we landed a 15.5” keeper! Booya Jack.
The guys had the wind to their backs and behind the full windshield of the boat we had good conversation. Dan is a big trout angler, so it is nice to hear about the trout fishing in our area here in the valley, I found myself wishing for more time to explore and do some trout angling. Mark is a servant of the Lord previously working with youth mission trip services, Bill is retired who also does big brother type mentoring and volunteering, and Matt is a bright high schooler soon to be Eagle Scout planning his future college choices.
We finished the day on our second spot where we started trolling, ending up with a pretty good total. Out of 35 to 40 walleyes and saugers caught, the Wilkenings brought home seven keepers. 4 walleye in inches 19.5, 18, 17, 15.5, and three keeper Sauger 16.5, 14, and 13.5 (normally 14” is my minimum but hey, its been a tough bite). I am pretty sure Bill landed the most fish.
I also know from Saturdays catches from talking to other anglers that livebait techniques was working and Saturday overall was the best bite of the season so far here in 2013. River master Scott Hale and partner Dave Kortum won the Hamm Room Tournament again using livebait. Congrats!
A few side notes – Walleyes seemed to be in one area and sauger in another. Most occasions they are mixed in the area I was fishing. Of our total fish species caught 100% where either sauger or walleye. No sheephead caught all year, none. We did not troll up one white bass, in our location we angled that is odd.
River water is dropping (680.4 feet above sea level in Stillwater,MN, water temp 51 degrees) and is a clean light bronze color - really pretty water right now.
05/11/13 St. Croix River walleye bite is improving as we are seeing more walleye now, but the issue is most fish are short of the legal 15″ mark. Things are improving though and that is the good news. White bass are biting well and keeping the poles bent. Smallmouth bass are also coming to the net while we are fishing for walleye. Note smallmouth are closed.
Trolling Rapala Shad Raps and drifting nightcralwers and fathead minnows in 15 to 19 feet have been my most productive methods. The bite is still way off from normal years, once we get a stable weather system where it stops yo yoing from 80 to 40 degrees the bite should be back to normal. River water is clean and mostly debris free.
River level is 680.2 feet above sea level and dropping.
15 years Pro guiding experience on St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers.
4x Beanie River Rat walleye tournament winner
3x St.Croix Classic Paul Koval walleye tournament winner (formerly Beach Bar)
2001 World Walleye Association Championship winner
2009 Full Throttle Big Water Series Team of the year
USCG licensed OUPV Captain
Previous reports below
05/07/13 St. Croix River walleye season is open. The bite for walleye and sauger is tough, we are still in the hangover period from multiple cold fronts dropping the water temperature very low. I wish I could say we are in the honey moon period after the spawn, but nope. The sun is slowly bring the temp back up and good things should come…
Trolling has been not the most productive, but as the water temp rises they could really crush cranks any day. This “any day” thought of any day they will get biting where they normally do has been my mantra. So I have caught walleyes and saugers jigging minnows, dragging jigs and three ways, plus trolling cranks none so far is “the ticket”. Any day now…
04/27/13 The Mississippi River has been a very tough bite with environmental conditions of rising and muddy water combined with cold water. However the water temperature in the river is on the rise. The river will also level off with in a week, so the bite should improve.
Roughly half of the walleyes have spawned now. The walleyes are three weeks behind on their spawning calendar.
We have had limited success dragging jig upstream. Most years thisdragging jigs presentation puts limits of fish in the boat but with the cold we had the last month it was slower than normal.
FLOOD 7 AM 7 AM 24 HR 7 AM 24 HR FLOW LOCATION STAGE POOL TAIL CHANGE STAGE CHANGE CFS ---------------------------------------------------------------- MISSISSIPPI RIVER DAM 3 REDWING MN 674.63 674.39 0.16 40800
04/15/13 The bite is picking up on the river for walleyes. Still a very slow approach will jigging is needed, though slow or fast, I am just happy to say the bite is picking up. Best depths are from 12 to 18 while jigging (dragging or vertical). Pitching jigs and plastics have not been as productive. The fish are getting used to the water temps again and becoming more aggressive as the temps actually increases!
FLOOD 7 AM 7 AM 24 HR 7 AM 24 HR FLOW LOCATION STAGE POOL TAIL CHANGE STAGE CHANGE CFS ------------------------------------------------------------------- MISSISSIPPI RIVER DAM 3 REDWING MN 674.06 673.41 -0.14 35700
As it is boating needs time of year, I want to say that the good folks at Warner’s Dock have always been very good to me with great service. If you are looking for a new or used boat or motor give them a shout at 1-888-222-3625 or look them up at www.warnersdock.com. They also have a very good selection in the ships store of boating accessories. Also I believe they are still running a boat motor oil sale.
04/13/13 Plain an simple folks the bite has been off this spring with the cold temperatures that have accompanied the snow, sleet, and freezing rain. The exact issue is the water temperature drop. Last weekend the river hit a high temperature mark of 41 degrees (the bite was good last weekend too). Yesterday I found the main channel to be 36 degrees.
On the good news note the fish that are being caught are nice sized fish. Hard to say when these fish will spawn, but this is the week historically that they do spawn. I believe once the water warms the bite will be very good. Stay warm and THINK SPRING!
04/03/13 The Mississippi River has rose three feet rather quickly since last Saturday. The water is cloudy and thanks to Sunday and Mondays weather has become cold. The rising river water has leveled off as a result of the cold weather chilling the snow melt.
Good things in terms of exciting catches are just around the corner as the weather warms and the river level stops rising.
We are having some success vertical jigging, dragging jigs, and now with the increased flow pitching jigs from an anchored position. I will be flapping my gums about BIG walleyes some enough!
river specs right now:
FLOOD 7 AM 7 AM 24 HR 7 AM 24 HR FLOW
LOCATION STAGE POOL TAIL CHANGE STAGE CHANGE CFS -------------------------------------------------------------------- MISSISSIPPI RIVER DAM 3 REDWING MN 674.45 671.36 -0.26 26400
03/06/13 Ultra clear water and low flow conditions on the Mississippi River right now. Good walleye and sauger bite continues for fish in the 14 to 20 inch range. Jig and plastic or jig and minnow is the ticket for these fish. Its early March and the bite only gets better.
John and I limited out today each taking home a combo mix six total walleye and sauger (6 fish max of eyes or saug dogs is the one man limit – saugers count on your walleye limit), jig and minnows really fooled the fish. They did hit on plastics some but it was a minnow day.
02/19/13 Happy to report the winter bite on the Mississippi River of Pool Four is doing well. Anglers are catching good numbers of walleye, saugers, and saugeye (a hybrid between the two). Yesterday I meet my friend Mike Walerac down at Everts Resort, where I had the treat of sitting back in the easy chair and fishing in his boat!
We started the day presenting our jigs going upstream in two different locations, the first was a large current seam where it is common to find fish in the slower and faster water intersection in the low 20 foot depth ranges. The next spot was shallower where the fish relate to the rip rap shore line. I had one bump on the first spot, but we both had no fish on either spot, we stayed on both locations for around a half an hour, no big deal – part of the fish finding game. We moved on.
On the next spot we ran into our buddy, fishing guide, and Limit Creek Rod Co. Pro Staffer Denver McKinnon, where he told us he had just got a keeper on a down stream drift. Denver also tossed us some light jigs he said where working well. Within minutes of using these jigs and drifting down stream we boxed a nice sauger. Then minutes later I caught the fish below.
Mike and I drifted the third spot and with in 3 hours we had our two man limit. Most of the fish were saugers and saugeye, plus a nice larger walleye that Mike released. These saugers and saugeyes are great table fair from the cold 37 degree water.
Soon after 1pm the winds really picked up and made the day outdoors not so pleasant. In addition the temperature was dropping from the low 30′s ( and I ran out of my hot coffee ) so we decided to hit the road. As I write this the temperature is now 3 degrees, so when the weather will allow for another open water boat trip who knows… but I will tell you absence definitely makes the fisherman’s heart grow fonder.
01/02/12 Happy New year! I hope 2013 will be the year you get to fish as much as you would like and land the lunker of your dreams!
Mississippi River Pool 4 is seeing a very typical winter pattern become established – which is a great bite for numbers of fish mostly saugers with walleyes in the mix, both species are being caught on vertical jig presentations. It is not uncommon to catch large saugers over 20″s this time of year, and many of these saugers are 2 pounders. Really any jigging lure will work from a leaded jig head teamed with a plastic body or a minnow to jigs (like jigging Rap) used for ice fishing. Most of this vertical bite happens in 16 to 26 feet of water so extreme heavy sizes are not needed, and ¼ to 3/8 is perfect for the low winter level Sippi water flows. Walleyes are being caught shallower than the saugers, and casting or dragging is the best presentation to target larger walleye. Dress warm and have fun!
The St. Croix River has froze and anglers are walking on and 4 wheeling to access their favorite crappie holes. Crappies are roaming the basins. Most of the river has 8″ of ice.
Crappies are coming from 32 to 39 feet of water and taken on a crappie minnow. These fish can be suspended up to 12 feet off the bottom and can be hard to decipher at times from the abundant shad baitfish.
Crappie anglers catch fish with the standard and effective bobber and minnow set up. Most anglers set the minnow just of the bottom to start. Usually as winter progresses the crappie bite will be better when you fish from four to ten feet off of the bottom.
At the time of this report, ice is forming well and is 8” on the St. Croix in many places. NOTE- there are multiple areas of openwater on the St. Croix only fish where safe.
12 16 12 Not much to report on my end, but with boat repairs behind me I look forward to getting down to walleye and sauger business very soon in the Red Wing area. I have fished this fishery in the cold water period for many years, and I am looking forward to reliving some fish catching memories. Plus I have not been getting my weekly walleye dinner in as of late…a man has to keep the extra reserve poundage on to stay warm in the winter!
11 27 12 I brought my boat into the great guys at Warners Dock in New Richmond,WI for some maintenance. As Warners Dock is a family run business, one of the best features is the people there are same year after year and they deliver reliable service from their excellent marine mechanics to the front of the house folks.
Looking forward to cold water fishing down on the Mississippi River near Red Wing, MN when I get my boat back. Here walleye and sauger locate down stream of lock and Dam #3 and are often best caught vertical jigging jigs from 1/4 to 3/8 ounce tipped with a minnow or soft plastics. I also employ a jig dragging presentation that is very successful year after year. After a two week off spell mainly because of my hunting interests, I am very eager to float the boat again. For those of you that do not know the season is open year round in this area for catch and keep.
11 12 12 We are almost exclusively using jigs and minnows or jigs and plastics to catch fish right now or a combo of both. The cold water period allows for slow finesse presentations using light line that makes catching very enjoyable right now. Look at the home page for Gary Glubkas lunker walleye he caught using a hair jig with minnow combo. I thought he had a trophy smallmouth but when those big glass eyes showed up about a foot under the water we knew it was a real nice walleye.
This is cold water fishing time and with the scheduled moderate winds forecasted, highs in the mid 40s for temperature this is garden variety November walleye fishing, dress for the conditions man and the fishing is fun.
11 4 12 Last Thursday my boat brought in a total of eight keeper walleye and saugers. The keeper walleyes and saugers were all nice fish with half of the keepers from 18 to 19.5 inches. We are using jigs and minnows to land most of our fish.
We have landed more white bass than I could possibly remember while walleye fishing, and they are BIG white bass. I deep fried up a couple fish before the Vikings football game today for the kids and one a walleye and the other a white bass, both species coming out of the cold water were flat out delicious.
Water temperature 49 degrees. water level 675.5.
10 26 12 We started the morning and found a very strong bite catching 6 keepers in little over an hour and a half. We ended the day with 11 keepers total. Most fish were caught on jig and minnow or minnow and plain hook. Trolling was not as productive.
We also caught lots of white bass, a trophy smallmouth bass, and drum. Later in the day the short sub 15″ walleyes and saugers seemed to be much more active.
10 24 12 The bite has slowed since last report… though we are getting some nice walleyes and sauger. Last trip boated seven keeper walleye and sauger total which is not bad, but my trick knee is aching and that means very soon we will get back up to keepers in the 9 to 15 number count (I would guess by friday or saturday). Presentations for bringing walleyes to the net are same as most recent report (below).
A bonus on the St. Croix River has been the very large crappies that we bump into during guide trips, crappies on the Croix are true slabs. They love to hit fathead minnows and are readily caught during walleye angling.
10 13 12 The walleye and sauger bite has really turned on. As of last Monday the keeper walleye and saugers (15 to 19 inch range) have found their way into my landing net once again! It is all due to the solid snap of cold we have experienced and the susequent cooling of the water.
The last weeks guide trips have resulted in 7 to 14 keepers in the box. All these fish are very healthy fat walleye or sauger. We are seeing still some 13 inch walleyes that appeared to be everywhere during the tough past two months, lots of sumo white bass, not many big over 20″ eyes though.
Trolling Rapala Shad Raps (mostly firetiger color) with Limit Creek trolling rods (LCT50MHF and LCTE86MHF), and Lindy rigging minnows has been working best for my boat.
Best depths where from 20 to 30 feet deep. St. Croix River is 675.2 feet above sea level in Stillwater,MN. The water temp is 55 degrees. Water is mostly clear, slightly more stained than normal, but very minimal debris.
10 06 12 I would like to say we are crushing the walleyes right now, but that is not happening. I would be amazed though by next Monday that the catching does not start to happen. Now we are getting some legal keeper walleyes, but rarely more than one per location.
Top presentations are rigging minnows and trolling crank baits. I am fishing deep in 20 to 30 feet. I have worked spinners, blade baits, and vertical jigging into the program to see if the fish prefer these presentations. I do this mainly to just plain “mix it up”, but after 15 years of guiding I know what works best, and this is a period of taking your lumps before they really go.
We are having the poles bent though with big slob white bass and a huge smallie are turned up the other day. Seeing northern pike still. The walleye overall size is getting better too and this is another measure that tells me good catches are soon to come.
10 03 12 With no wind and a clear blue sky the autumn color seemed especially bright on the St. Croix River. The light wind allowed us to fish minnows all day with a Lindy rig presentation in 20 to 30 feet of water. We boated 3 nice keepers, plus a keeper sauger. Along with the walleyes we ran into 4 nice smallmouth in the 16 to 17 inch range, and 2 pike. One of the pike was 6 pounds the other was 15. 6 pounds! A real gator. We released the bass and the big pike. The rest of the mentioned catch was destined for the fillet table and a subsequent hot grease release.
09 22 12 Frost on the ground, the maples leaves are turning red, and a sweet coolness is in the air. Walleye trips have been fun with one man limits of fish coming to the nets. Most eyes are eating size and I am happy to see good saugers now as well. Not a consistent bite, with keepers coming from many different sites on the last trip. great time to be on the river. Still seeing lots of small walleyes to go with the keepers. It only gets better from here.
09 05 12 The last two trips we have done well fishing for smallmouth bass on the St. Croix River.
Smallies have been caught on the surface all the way down to 25 feet of water.
We are seeing some bonus fish while smallies fishing, such as largemouth bass. The largemouth will hit all the small baits no questions asked.
I am hearing better walleye reports as well, there is no doubt the walleye bite improves as Fall approaches. River still very low, with a slight greenish tint. Water temperature 75.
08 28 12 Late last week on a half day and full day trip we boated five keeper walleye and sauger and then seven keeper walleye and sauger. The catches were 3 eyes and 2 saugers and 5 eyes and 2 saugers. Half of the walleyes were in the 19 to 20 inch range and a very pleasant surprise. For late August/early September these are good totals on the St. Croix. These totals would be fair to poor when the autumn bite arrives.
Today on a half day trip the bite was tough. Very hard to find even groups of white bass or drum. Sure you can catch walleyes but they are last years hatch and in the eight to ten inch range! Lol. The bite is very much up and down right now. I am really not seeing many fishermen out right now, except for fisherman looking for sunfish or muskie.
Walleyes have been caught on livebait rigs, jigs, and crankbaits. I have been targeting 20 to 26 feet deep. Bait was best though.
Best bites have been during the wind and days with cold mornings.
Water temperature is 76 and water level is 675.2. The Corps of Engineers do not let the river get much lower than this folks. Slight green tint in the water near neck down areas and marinas in the main lake the water is clear.
August 20 12 The weather pattern has changed greatly since the last report. Gone is the heat instead cool nights and mild days have arrived in mid August, as a result the water temperature has fallen six degrees. The cooling water has grouped baitfish up and made fishing easier.
The most notable fish of quality I am seeing are smallmouth bass and they are big. I am finding bass relating to the baitfish more than the depth of the water. Jigs with plastics have been the number one bass catcher. We have had a blast with the fish.
I have left the cats alone as the water has cooled. We are also starting to catch nice white bass (on the bottom though), and some keeper sized sauger now. Walleye size is not there suddenly as the saugers are biting better. This is the time of year walleyes get hard to catch.
Water temperature 76. Water level is 675.5 feet above sea level in Stillwater, MN
August 8th, 2012 The weather has been playing a large factor in the location and overall bite activity of the fish. Walleye, smallmouth, and muskie have been much more willing to bite on the windy overcast days as opposed to the hot clear and calm days. So determining what specie to angler for either the walleye, skis, bass or cats is really weather dependent.
Bass have been much shallower based on the overcast, and wind, plus bait pods are also moving them shallow. Once found we have done well for bass lately on soft plastics. On the clear days the bass have been found deep rigging for walleyes and caught on bait.
Walleyes and sauger still tricky to catch have been best caught on livebait and surprisingly trolling has not been as effective as a normal early August would be. The main issue I am running into is I have had a hard time finding keeper saugers. Everywhere my keeper saugers normally come from are over run with 11 and 12” walleyes. We are getting nice keeper walleyes, not a lot, but a normal amount for August, but no saugers.
Catfish are still dependable and a treat to fish for. It seems that the cats bite best on the hot, clam, and clear days when the rest of the fish are slow. I am using cutbait for these cats. Mostly channel cast for a week now, but the size is 10 pounds on average.
Muskies. I have still had guys looking to “try” muskie fishing for a couple hours on some trips lately. We had one hook up a few trips back on a big rubber bait, but did not land the fish. Tip – When fishing for muskie on the cast, you need to set the hook hard to the point where you are trying to “break the rod”.
The St. Croix River is 675.3 feet above sea level, and is as low as I can remember. The water is a tad cloudier than normal, even though we have had little rain lately. The weather has been so nice lately, just gorgeous summer days.
August 1, 2012. My guests have been fishing for walleye, bass, cats, and a small amount of muskie too these last few trips. Targeting different specie really keeps the day moving and everyone’s interest peaked for the whole trip because spending whole day walleye or smallie fishing during the “dog days” can be tough catchin’.
The walleye and sauger is not a good bite but you can still troll up and live bait rig some keeper walleye and saugers to the landing net. The “dog days” of summer is living up to its stereotype as a tough walleye bite for my boat.
Catfish are saving the day and they are biting well. I move around and fish very similar to how I walleye livebait fish, meaning this is pole in hand fishing where you feel the fish bite and you need to react correctly to land these tough tough fish. I have been getting mostly channel cats now and I am averaging ten-pound fish.
Smallmouth bass. We caught 15 bass yesterday from 8am to 10:30am in the 13 to 16 inch range from 6 to 13 feet of water. Top bass baits are tubes, jerk plastics, swim baits, worms, and spinners (Mepps kind especially when around minnows). Many of these fish came up for the lure and not caught on the bottom. White was our best color.
Muskie. Still hearing good reports from guys targeting 100% muskie. For big time pole bending, right now I am targeting”as sure as catching” gets specie – catfish.
St. Croix River water level is 675.8 feet in Stillwater MN. Surface water temperature is 80 degrees.
07 27 12 It is a typical late July early August bite where the walleyes are slowing down and the smallmouth are also harder to find. The species that are on the upswing are catfish, muskies, and crappies. Sunfish and freshwater drum are biting steady.
Walleyes can be caught in 18 to 27 feet of water on livebait and crankbaits however you will definitely work for all the keepers you get. The main issue is saugers are not running at keeper sizes, so working certain spots for fish can be long in between bites. Normally this time of year good-sized saugers bite, I am not seeing these fish right now.
Catfish are biting well on cut bait I use suckers, drum, mooneye, and sunfish. I use large bait and am averaging 10-pound cats coming top the net. 10 pounds is small by catfish standards though they fight incredibly well. There are plenty of very large cats in the Croix. We are also getting smaller 4 to 5 pounders while livebait fishing.
I am hearing good crappie and muskie reports; I have not fished for either much lately. I have been cat and walleye fishing. I saw the first flocks of sea gulls diving into the river today. The gulls are diving for shad as the white bass push them up to the top of the water. The gull flock was small (maybe 15 to 20 birds) and they were unfortunately scattered and working a small group of baitfish. I have seen hundred of gulls in the past work bait and it is a sight to behold.
St. Croix River is 675.6 feet above sea level in Stillwater, MN. There is a thermocline south of Hudson WI in about 23 feet. Water temperature is 80 on the surface.
07-18-12 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.
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!
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.
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.
07-15-12 Both channel and flathead catfish love the heat…Saturday afternoon 10 year old Brad and I landed one channel and five flatheads in the 10 to 18 pound range. These fish strike the bait like a big northern pike hits a Dardelve spoon, and give me such a thrill upon the bait “pick up” and the battle… so you can imagine the adrenilin rush the young guy felt, especially after one of the bigger ones nearly ripped the rod out of his hands!
07-14-12 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.
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!).
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.
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.
07/10/12 - I have had a string of very good catching days lately for keeper walleye and saugers over 14″s. Today the fish kicked my tail and we ended up with only a 16″; walleye and 16″; sauger. I marked fish in places that when I mark them we hammer the fish, but it just did not happen. I am not sure if the walleye bite will slow from here on out or it this was a fluke, traditionally walleyes do not slow until late August.
On the bright side this is an opportunity to fish for the rivers hardest fighting fish the: channel cat, and the rivers top predator: the mighty muskie.
07/05/12 - Caught a combination total of 12 legal walleye (16 to 19″) and keeper saugers ( 14″ to 17″) today. Hot weather summertime fishing on the St. Croix with great guests!
07/04/12 - Happy Independence Day! I have been doing mostly half-day trips in this sweltering heat wave we have had in the St. Croix River valley. In these trips we are getting on average four to five legal walleyes and now the saugers are showing up as well and adding to the bag. I normally get a keeper sauger per keeper walleye, and thanks to this summer time fish they add greatly to the cooler.
The sauger size is not great and I have only seen one sauger over 18” and most saug dogs are from 13” to 16”, though the fillets of the saugers add up for a family fish fry. Please note saugers can be any size but walleye must be 15”. I only keep 14” or bigger saugs anything under is too small. Sunfish, crappies, drum, white bass, and cats are also biting.
The water is very warm and 80 degrees on the surface, I have had to swim to stay cool and even ten feet down the water is not far from the surface temperature. The river is 680.00 and leveling off and looks to stay this high (5 feet high) for at least a week.
I have been Lindy rig fishing and trolling Rapalas. Depth range has been from 12 to 23’. The bite is beyond light and the walleye are stealing bait left and right. I also got a giant walleye a few days ago, we got it on video, it measured 29.5 inches a true St. Croix River trophy walleye!
June 25th 2012 St. Croix River walleye are being caught on livebait and trolled Rapalas in 10 to 20 feet of water. Yesterday I had a tough trip where we caught 20 walleye and only 2 were legal keepers. On the bright side large sunfish and crappies started showing up and picked up the slack for the meat department. Smallmouth bass also added to the pole bending with a half dozen 16 to 19inch fish coming to the net. The river is 683.9 feet above sea level and is 8 feet higher than normal pool level. The river just leveled today and this week I expect far better results than yesterdays trip.
There was a bug hatch event earlier this week, without a doubt moves the larger walleye making them follow the baitfish eating the hatch. Tomorrows trip should be good for more keeper walleye. Water temperature is 74 degrees. Beautiful day out there today, baby blue skies and cool 70 degrees…
St. Croix River pics from the week before…