I am not a big ice fisherman so i frequent the Mississippi River near Monticello, MN all winter long. The smallmouth fishing can be fantastic, as well as walleye, pike, and catfish. For those who don't know the Nuclear Power Plant ejects hot water back into the river so for some miles down river it will not freeze. Unfortunitly the power plant had to force close due to some techinical issues, which stopped the water discharge. Needless to say the river froze up in hours over that cold snap we had earlier in the month. DNR reports that over 3,000 fish were killed due to extreme water temp change. After about 3 weeks the plant is now up and running and the ice has melted. I went up to see for myself and I have to say I was not ready for something like that. For a guy who is pretty much always catch and release I saw more dead fish (some lunkers) than I have seen in a lifetime. It was truely hard to swallow. The fishing though is still great and a body of water like the Mississippi will reflourish in no time. As much as I would want to blame the power plant I can not. We need power. And they have to follow there guilines and not put people at risk. I did read that they voluntereed to pay the DNR for the damage to the fish. Maybe they will use it to restock.
Also for bird lovers the same area hosts one of the largest trumpeter swan flocks in the US.
Just thought I would spread the info to anyone who was wondering.
Yeah that was just a bad deal really, fortunately that stretch of river is in great shape as far as the Smallmouth population goes. And yes Power Plant did step up and offer to pay the restitution for the loss as the Law would require for any fish loss of this type. I know mainlly it was the younger fish affected when the Temp dropped near the spill way from 65 to 30 degrees in a half hours time.
Yea the quality fish that the Mississippi offers is amazing on it's own. That segment of the river is still very healthy with fish and wildlife. I do have to say the vast majority of the fish were carp, suckers, and catfish. Small smallmouths (some big), but lots of carp. Which actually kind of surprised me a little. I always figured they would be the heartiest in extreme situations.
Even eminent chartered accountants are known, in their capacity as fishermen, blissfully to ignore differences between seven and ten inches, half a pound and two pounds, three fish and a dozen fish. ~ William Sherwood Fox, Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, 1954