Hanging fish baskets by Mother’s Day?

Hanging fish baskets by Mother’s Day?

Pool 9 has started dropping from near historic flood level. If the USACE forecast holds true, the River should be hovering right around “Action Stage” by Mother’s day. If it holds true, we’ll see Action Stage a week from now.

Action stage is the level where the boat launch at the end of Army Road, east of New Albin is no longer accessible. The parking lot here might give up a pike or two this time next week, with 5-6 fow covering the gravel–if the USACE projections are accurate

Bottom line: with all the technology available today the US Weather Service forecast is only marginally accurate about 72 hours out. The Mississippi River is MUCH tougher to call. Projections for 48 hours beyond any given day are usually in the ballpark. But it is a GREAT BIG ball park,

Back in the year of perpetual flood–2019–we faced essentially the same scenario mid-April. But ground saturation up North and excessive rain kept Pool 9 at some level of flood stage until mid-August.

If local weather conditions are favorable fish can usually be found up to a level of about 632′ @ Genoa–which is what the projection calls for a week from now.

The key is edges. As of this morning, pretty much the only edges are railroad tracks on both sides of the River. At 632′ there are more spots popping up which fish can’t negotiate around so they are easier to find and catch.

My favorite high water weapons between 632′ and Action Stage are chatterbaits, swim jigs, Rat-l-Traps and spinnerbaits.

With water between these parameters a black or white tandem spinnerbait is usually more effective than an obnoxious orange/chartruese one with an oversize Colorado blade. Why? Visibility! Edges appear first in quiet waters. Water clarity can be a major key. Find 2′ + visibility and you’ll likely find fish. These shallow areas which clear up first are almost always over dark bottom, which warms up quicker than a sandy or rocky bottom.

None of this information will do you any good until at least this time next week. Maybe. Between now and then inland lakes and smaller inland river are more productive options.

This past week I’ve boated 80+ sauger, walleye and baffled 19″ brown trout fishng inland rivers. Fish ere holding over gravel bottom in 3-5 fow. Most effective presentation was anchoring up and casting a Bill Lewis lures MR6 crankbait in RAYBURN RED pattern downstream and retrieving at a slow, steady pace. The MR6 dives to about 6′. This retrieve allows the bait to wiggle seductively occasionally ticking bottom. The biggest sauger last week was a respectable 19 incher. It appeared to be spawned out, so I kept it to make a sammich. When the fish was cleaned it revealed the same gender as Dylan Mulvaney. Whoa. Don’t know if this sauger was woke or not…but it was delicious.

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