Not ready to ice fish yet!
Well I know some of you already have fired up the augers and hit the ice putting the open water season to an end, not me however. With the warm temps lately and having the option to hit some open water out of my boat I chose that this weekend. Guiding season over I still jones to fish myself so we loaded the boat and headed to pool 4 of the Mississippi River!
The conditions were so so this weekend the Mississippi River, low flow with the water getting clearer can make for a tough bite at times. Big things I learned out there yesterday was keep away from the crowds and move slow and meticulous. Seemed like whenever you were in a group of boats ya could mark these fish however they were very tight lipped. Get out an away from them and find the schools and ya should catch a decent amount of fish.
Now to what worked for me. If you have ever fished pool 4 of the Mississippi you probably have heard of a Dubuque rig. And let me tell you these things rock! For those who don’t know what is is a 3 way swivel, on one end I run about a 18” liter to a plain hook and the other end run about the same length but put a jig on it so it almost acts as a bottom bouncer. What I like to do with these is run a plastic on one the hooks and minnow on the other to try to pattern what they want. If I’m getting 90% the bites on a plastic ill switch the other one to that. Now this weekend out there it was about 75% the time they were eating the fathead minnow. Now as the day got later the saugers really started to munch that plastic rather than the minnow. As far as depths of water we ran anywhere from 17’-22’ depending on where the schools were marked. There really wasn’t any consistency that I found where they were setting up. The trick was keep moving away from the crowds and find schools to yourself. Also move very slowly while fishing these rigs, id be going anywhere from .2mph to .5mph. Any faster and I felt you lost a lot with feeling the bottom contact and getting a good hook set in. We fished a total of 5 hours and ended with 17 saugers. No walleyes mixed in this time however defiantly some quality saugers!
Overall not an epic fishing day however a decent one! Felt good to still be in the boat and on open water. For those interested in this bite, it should run thru the spring being this part of the Mississippi does not freeze often. Check out everts resort for a good launch and fresh bait in the tanks for you plus its the closest to the dam! Thanks to all who read and share my reports I know guiding season is complete for me but I’ll still be posting reports while I can between working my winter gig. Thanks everyone and tight lines!