Brand new to rough fishing

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IXOYE
Brand new to rough fishing

Hey everyone,

Found this site a few years back, but just registered now. I'm brand new to rough fishing, and pretty green at fishing in general. My 4 year old LOVES to fish and had a blast catching blue gills, pumpkin seens, small mouth, and rock bass at a friend's cabin a few weeks back. Looking for somewhere close by to do some shore fishing with him. Any good recommendations for St. Paul MN and the surrounding areas?

 

Thanks!!!

 

Matt

Corey
Corey's picture
Welcome!

Welcome aboard - when I was a young roughfisher, I spent a LOT of time at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. It's amazing what you can catch there. Closer to St. Paul are some other river parks: Hidden Falls , Lilydale, Crosby Farm, Point Douglas. You can catch a lot of fish right at the DNR access at 494 and Hardman, too. I'll think about it some more and see if I can think of some spots right in St. Paul.

IXOYE
Awesome! Thanks so much!

Awesome! Thanks so much!

asianangler
Misidentified?

Busse woods in schaumburg/elk grove village in IL is pretty good too if your willing to make the 200+ mile drive. Lots of Gizzard Shad and Paddlefish to snag there as well as carp.

I spent half my money on fishing, gambling, alcohol, women and billiards. The other half I wasted.

Graceclaw
Graceclaw's picture
Misidentified?

asianangler, I think you might have misidentified this website as one that's OK with/endorses snagging. 

Back to the OP; the only other 'easy' place I'd add to Corey's list would be Minnehaha Creek. You can catch lots of cool stuff right at the base of the falls or right at the mouth where it meets the Mississippi. This time of year, you will get predominantly Freshwater Drum, but those are fun for kids too!

IXOYE
Drum on Minnehaha would be

Drum on Minnehaha would be great. Can you fish right by the falls? I thought there were fences that you weren't supposed to go past, or did you not mean that close to the falls? If you fish further down, do you still park by the falls and hike down, or is there somewhere closer to park? What do you find works well for bait for drum?

 

I ended up fishing on Rice Creek yesterday and my 4 year old, 8 year old, and myself caught about 10 sunfish and 2 bullheads in about 2 hours. Not quite as much action ad they would have liked, but enough to keep them interested. We'll definitely check out Minnehaha along with everywhere else suggested.

TonyS
TonyS's picture
Lower Minnehaha creek

It changes a lot with levels on pool 2 and season/water temps.  You aren't suppose to go past the fences right up to the falls and it might not be a good place to take small children anyway.  However, you can park on either side of the creek, wherever there is available parking.  That can be a challenge on weekends especially.  With pool 2 at 6' and falling I'd hike the trail all the way down to the mouth at the Mississippi to start with, should be plenty of Drum there.  Any likely looking slacker areas upstream can be good as well. 

 

Other options would be any of the area lakes for panfish/pike/bass.  A fair bit of the downtown St. Paul river front is fishable for a range of species as well.  Or  Fort Snelling State Park, whenever that opens back up.  Last I heard it was still closed - I imagine the rough flooding this year did some damage down there

 

Graceclaw
Graceclaw's picture
Drum Bait

Drum bait: Literally anything. It's impossible not to catch them. Worms are best and have the chance to catch other fish, so I always recommend that.

It's been a while since I was up by the falls during the main-year, so I don't know if they've blocked it off now. If you can reach the pool at the bottom of the falls with a lure or bait, though, there are lots of fish there. 

There are a lot of closer parking locations to the mouth (if you don't mind paying $0.50/hr); Google Maps should make them pretty obvious (or PM me and I'll pin them). I would recommend the actual mouth around the bridge this time of year. Otherwise, Hidden Falls usually guarantees plenty of small/mid-sized drum and potential for carp and redhorse and is free to park at and easy to access.

Glad to hear you got out and caught some fish! Sunfish are abundant right now; I couldn't catch anything else when I fished a creek yesterday. 

Corey
Corey's picture
Minnehah Creek

BTW if folks want to get together at the creek mouth I'm up for it almost any time. There are some good fish to be caught there.

Tyler W
Rough Fishing with kids

I have about 6 years of experience roughfishing with kids. It has been great if not always easy! 

Same kid 6 years later! 

 

I have to say, the distance you walk between the car and the river is a KEY consideration. Also, you have to make sure you don't walk by any playgrounds... that can end a day fishing before it starts. Unlike regular roughfishing, you also need consider the safety and stability of the bank. Rip rap, mud, steep drop offs and dangerous currents are all right out. 

 

Generally, I would suggest anywhere on Mississippi river downstream from Lock and Dam #1. Although the stretch between L&D #1 and Grey Cloud Island is my favorite. The boat ramp area at Upper Hidden Falls park would be my first choice. It has parking close by and an infinte amount of drum (with some bonus fish) to be found right from the bank. It is a pretty popular spot, so don't be surprised if you have company. Also, the Harriet Island dock is known for good fishing, and has the added bonus of hand rails.

 

There are definitely places upstream of L&D #1 if you are willing to drive (Fridley, Coon Rapids Dam, Rum River Park in Anoka). I live and fish with my kids in the Fridley area. 

 

Minnesota River would be my last choice. Fort Snelling state park is closed for the foreseeable future. Although the Minnesota has plenty of fish, and plenty of access, the access points are generally not good for 4 year olds. The banks are all covered in a very intense mud right now. The banks also tend to be very steep and somewhat hazardous for children. 

 

Rice creek probably has some hidden summer fishing holes, but I haven't found them. Once the water hits 70F I skip Rice Creek and head for the rivers. Unless I need bullheads for bait.... 

 

Also, don't discount sunfish. I take my kids sunfish fishing A LOT. Usually these trips are really short, maybe 30 minutes. I just focus on getting some fish in front of them and when they get bored we quit. I made a rule for myself - I would never MAKE my kids go fishing. I figure that once I start doing that it turns into a prison sentence. Better to catch easy fish for 20 minutes and have them want to go fishing again, then MAKE them go fishing for something cool and have it be the last time. 

 

My last piece of advice is the most important. Invest in Okuma baitfeeder reels for every rod. My kids always run around, look for crayfish and splash in the water. Obviously you need to watch the KIDS not the poles. That is hard to do when a carp might steal a pole at any moment. But, with the baitfeeders you can watch the children and just listen for the clicking reel. I am not joking when I say baitfeeder reels saved my son's life. This spring my 2 year old son stepped off a steep bank into 50F water. But thanks to baitfeeder reels I was watching him (not the reels) when it happened. Still, he was completely submerged before I pulled him out. If I had been even 10 seconds later he would have been out of sight! I never would have found him. No joke - baitfeeder reels save lives! 

 

IXOYE, send me a PM if you want more details, etc. My kids and I might even be able to meet you for a family friendly roughfishing trip. 

Tyler W
Creek Mouth Get together

On an unrelated note, I saw a gar below Lock and Dam #1 on Monday. You never know what you will catch there. I'll show up if there is a Minnehaha Creek get together.