Rum River Runnin'

Fishing Stories Banner

Rum River Runnin'

Rum River Runnin' as told by MuskyBandit

This Story was written by Andrew Muntz and submitted here with permission by MuskyBandit.

Minnesota is home to plenty of rivers which are great for canoe floats. Small navigable rivers are some of the least pressured fishing waters out there. This article's featured trip is to the Rum River, which spans 145 miles from the south end of Lake Mille Lacs down to Anoka and empties into the Mississippi River.

Access points are located at highway bridges, public boat landings, and parks. A full day of canoeing is about 10 miles. If you would like to spend more time fishing, a shorter float will allow for less paddling. We chose a 4.5 mile stretch within an hour of the Twin Cities metro area. I will also note we waited for the high spring waters to retreat before even considering this excursion. High waters make for dangerous exits from the river to portage around rapids. Also, numerous river fisherman have confirmed their lack of fishing success during high water times. Today was July 30 and the river has dropped to median levels. The forecast is hazy sun and 92 degrees.

Our target species is smallmouth bass. In addition, the river is home to northern pike, walleye, and other nongame river species. My co-captain Mike, and I opted to bring 3 spinning combos each with line strengths of 8-10 lb. test monofilament Berkley Trilene and Fireline.

We were launched and packed in, but sunscreen was a need for me before taking off. Mike hooked into decent sized pike under the bridge before we even began our float. Onward we went, anchoring near good looking spots for casting shorlines, large rocks, and deep shady water areas.

The first smallmouth bite was on my line with a Shallow Shad Rapala is a walleye color pattern. After a couple runs, I had landed this nice 17" bronzeback, my second biggest ever.

Mike answered with 3 fast strikes landing a small pike and 2 bass. This one runs 14" and ate a black/silver wide-style crankbait.

We arrived at a shallower area of the river with some whitewater ahead. We dropped anchor and got out to wade and fish this spot. This tactic has proved for us in the past, but wasn't today's pattern. After a water break, we decided to change our plan for the rest of the day.

We were slightly under halfway through our trip according to my partners G.P.S. system. He mapped the river points the day prior to our trip. This is a very handy tool to have on a wilderness river float. Anyway, we hadn't found fish in the fast water and we had gone a hour without a fish. We dug through our tackle to match the new structure we would concentrate on. Mike used a white spinnerbait and I went with a shiny gold Bomber Long-A Minnow 3.5 inch model.

We floated near deep shady water where it met the sun. Our lures attracted fish with shine and paid off well. First cast with my lure got me a strike. I knew this fish was nice when I hooked it. My stout drag came out on the hookset and the fish ran out from the nearest downed tree. My partner knew I had a trophy on the line with a shout. The fish did not jump, but surfaced six times splashing water at me each time. I then lipped the 19.25" pig into the canoe. Good pictures satisfied me enough to release this fine creature back in deep.

It didn't stop there! In my next 3 casts, I boated my first rum river walleye and another bass on the same lure. Amazing!

All the while, Mike is uneasy with his spinnerbait still tied up to his line. Persistence pays off with a nice 16" fish and a couple more tallies on his bass numbers.

We came through the final rocky mile of river and felt good about our catch as we arrived to our destination vehicle. The sun baked us all day and we were ready for some rest. A local watering hole filled the hole. We looked at each other at dusk and decided we weren't done fishing yet. We shorefished below the Anoka dam enough for Mike to land 4 more smallies to my none. Nice job Mike.

All in all, we boated plenty of fish with a mixed bag and some great sized fish.

~~~~ Andrew Muntz ~~~~