Ran aground last week back in a running slough. 1st time this has happened since 2006. Real hall-of-fame maneuver. River had dropped 3 inches from previous day. But no excuses!
According to USACE parameters now in place the FLOW is still greater than the last historic low level back in ’06, BUT siltation has been profound over past 16 years. Navigation on Pool 9 is similar now to back in ’88 when i guided mostly on pools 11-12. This was the summer of 100 degree temps and the lowest River levels in my lifetime. Siltation is profound and clearly working its way upstream…like a backup in a septic system. Essentially, the same ‘gallon jug’ of water is coming downstream like it always has…but now there is 3″ of sand in the bottom of the jug. Anyway, Contacted USACE hdqs. in St. Paul. They are in the process of reassessing flow paradigms all along the upper MIss.
Besides being at 21st century historic low level, the main channel is running ultra-clear…with the same amount of eelgrass coming down as in 2020 when pool 9 was at or above ‘action stage’ for the entire open water period.
I have had to go with a fluorocarbon leader in finesse presentations like topwater lures for SMB. Topwaters, Ned rigging and Mepps spinners have ben best for SMB under these conditions. Bass will be going nutso any day now as temps fall to the upper 50’s from the 62 degree +/- we have been holding at for the past week .
Walleyes have been willing on cranks–if you can get through the grass. But mostly have to swim a jig once active fish are located on the rocks.
Pike are relating to rocks & steep sandbar breaks–following the food–but due to extreme low water the slough bite has literally dried up.
Panfishing remains off the charts fantastic, but profoundly habitat and depth critical, driven to great extent by light penetration, structure and of course, most abundant forage.
I give a 10% discount for anybody bringing kids age 12-16. Kids of this age who have the “fever” have usually already developed a decent skill set. When guiding kids 8-12 I require an adult to help out with at least one of ’em.
But a trip last week with 10 yr. old Lian and his 8 yr. old sister, Aviana, were pure joy! Uncle Travis worked with Lian. I coached Aviana. She already had basic casting skills–a tribute to her Dad–and soon had pinpoint placement of a lip-hooked minnow behind a Hildebrandt spinner with a PRECISELY placed pencil float and PRECISE split shot weight down pat.
All i had to do was watch her expression . Aviana has those Tucker Carlson, peregrine focus eyes when a bite is going down. About 2 seconds after she got ‘the look” she would lean back on that 9’ #stcroixrod panfish stick and giggle “got another one!” We put the average size crappies back, keeping 20 crappie 12″+ Aviana was too demure to shout the Wisconsin state cheer ‘ I GOT MINE!!” But her little cheshire cat smirk spoke volumes.
Part of this is cuz she put on a clinic for her brother, intensely using a little trick I taught her with the Hildebrandt spinner to trigger bites.
THIS is the primary reason I still guide. After over 45 yrs, I am wearing down.
As of right now, Oct 13 is my 1st open date. Not overly eager to fill it, Except for clients who really wanna take their River fishin’ game to a higher level.
Know this: demonstrating use of a navy anchor and come-along for extraction from a sandbar will not be part of the instructional package! (Lord willin’)