Msg 1 Posted: 07:47 AM 08/11/06 (CST)
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 08th, 2006 02:02:58 PM
It's no secret in the fishing world that hot summer days with extreme temperatures make inland lake fishing a tough gig. The water temperatures are around 80 degrees on our smaller central Minnesota lakes, and I always make the switch to the plethora of river systems in the central part of the state.
River systems are much more reliable when it comes to both sauger and walleyes, and they are quite catchable even in midday. Here are some river choices you really will like.
ST. CROIX RIVER. This is probably my favorite river choice because of the vast numbers of sauger. Sauger are basically dumb walleyes and are willing biters, no matter what the weather or water conditions. I love dumb fish, because they make me look good. Saugers inhabit depths of 15- to 22-feet on the St. Croix, and are readily identifiable by the nice, thick marks on your electronics. They almost always are huddled on the bottom and show some of the same characteristics as their walleye cousins.
I like to drag a Jig-N-Minnow combination or a jig impaled with a piece of crawler. Just enough scent is needed for the fish to find the bait.
The secret when making contact with a sauger is to stay at that depth for the entire morning. Sauger are very precise about their depth, and once you learn the depth clue, be sure to stick with it.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER. This is more of a smallmouth fishery, although smaller walleyes can be caught. I like to fish the stretch of the river that flows through St. Cloud to Anoka. This is tricky water, especially with a larger boat. Look for hidden rock piles, and sudden inside and outside turns along the shore. The best way to find active fish on the Mississippi is to long-line troll thin, angular crankbaits. "Long-lining means letting out a ton of line and keeping the bait as far away from the boat as practical. If you cover enough water, sooner or later, you will make contact. Yes, it might be a sheepshead, sauger, walleye or smallmouth bass. it is the anticipation of the strike that keeps us coming back to the river systems.
RED LAKE RIVER. This little "sleeper" river is connected to that amazing walleye factory at Red Lake. My favorite stretch is just east of Thief River Falls. This river is a real secret, and the locals are very hush-hush about it. Where do you think the zillions of Red Lake walleyes go during the spring and fall? You guessed it, Red Lake River. Leeches work extremely well here, especially when adorned with a gold spinner. The best river access is in the town of Thief River Falls itself. Don't tell anyone ...