I have been savoring the ‘ice out til snow melt arrival’ since last Monday, beating up a nice mixed bag of sauger/walleye pretty much every day. Some bigger ice sheets are coming downstream as the backwaters continue to shake off winter, with River rising quickly since yesterday.
Surface temp on the Pool 9 mainstem was a solid 40 degrees yesterday. Clarity is decreasing as we’ll be well into ‘action stage’ by this time next week. Temps in several backwaters yesterday were a solid 41–some places 42. In a couple sheltered, dark bottom areas that can be super at ice out it was 44!
Don’t look for temps to rise much with all the cold water coming down from northern pools–but fish are already beginning to stairstep shallower. A week ago walleyes were holding at 27-29 fow, sauger @ 29-31. Sunday before the River started coming up sharply walleyes were @ 21, sauger @ 25fow. They were a little tougher to find yesterday, as rising River level has to be factored in to the depth location.
Perch are starting to show up in good numbers by the dam–so i’ve been told–but i never come within a mile of there in the Spring. Don’t wanna play bumper boats. I plan on looking for river tigers in some of the more anonymous spots in a couple days.
Consistent success in the Spring on a sharply rising River requires being out there pretty much every day–trying to figure out where fish are headed and not where you found them just a few hours before. This can take awhile. you might run out of time some days before putting it all together. BUT once the rise slows and levels stabilize this process usually only takes a couple of hours.
The Miss isn’t like smaller inland Rivers where spawning time can be pinpointed in a 48 hr. window–like the Rock R. in south-central Wi. The spawn happens on the Rock on April 1-give or take 2 days. This pattern has held true with only a few exceptions for almost 30 yrs.
Walleyes USUALLY spawn here on pool 9 about 4/20–give or take 5 days. Last year they went on 4/3. In 2019 they went in fits and spurts…and the River stayed at flood stage pretty much until freeze up in late fall.
Water temp rise of almost 6 degrees in just 4 days over the past 10 days & finding water up to 44 in quiet areas of some running sloughs has me wonderin’ if this year will be like ’21–or not.
Pike spawn @ 45 degrees. Maybe I’ll look for toothers instead of perch later this week. First guide trip on the books is 4/1. In no big hurry to get back to work. Not real eager to work more than a couple days a week after that. Guiding is hard work most days. Harder once you’re “elderly” by definition. Sure, Lord willin’ I’ll still be on the water 5+ days each week. But many of these days I’ll be FISHIN’ not guiding.
With sales tax, income tax, refuge use tax, guide insurance, licenses & fees added to almost double prices on fuel, lures & gear–not even factoring in depreciation and ‘unexpected’ stuff failing or breaking, the cost/benefit analysis says the money doesn’t even come close to covering the price of this lifestyle.
But, I still feel driven to help folks become better anglers so plan on blogging and FUN FISHIN’ more regularly in 2022. Gotta go tie up some purple bucktail FLIES for pulling with plastics in 3-way rigs. killer presentation when looking for fish as they begin to stairstep shallower. tight lines