General Mississippi River

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Graceclaw's picture
General Mississippi River
<p>So, I have the basic bottom-with-worm rig down. I understand that it&#39;s enough to catch a lot of different kinds of fish and is a good all-around bait/setup, but I need other stuff too, in case I get bored or want to mix things up. It&#39;s likely that I&#39;ll just be fishing Coons Rapids Dam park and Hidden Falls park from the shore. Should I buy canned corn for carp? Doughbaits? Won&#39;t corn fall off the hook easily? What is the best time (besides early morning) to fish it? Will 8-10 PM work fine for an increased chance at most fish (namely, catfish), or do you need to wait til like midnight for them? Would I be wasting my time throwing and retrieving a spoon? (I understand that it&#39;s probably less effective than still-fishing, but if I want to mix it up, is there a decent chance at ANYTHING?) Does a worm blower help for rivers? For hooking the worm, I&#39;m just poking the hook through the head and out, then repeating the poke-through process all the way down the worm, resulting in around 7 punctures through the worm. Is that the best way to hook them, or am I losing more bait/bites than I should be? How often do wardens and the like come and shoo you out of regional parks after hours?</p> <p>Forgive me for asking so many questions, but I&#39;m just starting out, and I want to jumpstart my learning of the new area and style of fishing. I appreciate any and all advice/information I get :)</p> <p>Thanks.</p> <p>-Kyle</p>
andy's picture
Corn works great for carp,

Corn works great for carp, all day long.  Stays on the hook just fine.  Thread the kernels on a #2 or 4 hook, and toss a few handfuls of corn in the area you are fishing.  Especially in the calm water areas where you should be fishing at the Coon Rapids Dam.  You will get some action for sure, just sit back and give it some time.  Make sure not to let your rod get dragged into the river!

I'd suggest pinching your crawlers in half before using them, and threading them on the hook.  Just get the hook started in it and work it up inside so that it hangs straight on the line.  This helps with light biters, but your method will work just fine most of the time too.  Get your worm out near a current seam and then tighten your line up and prop it in a forked stick to detect bites.  Inflating worms is pretty much pointless in my opinion, unless you are fishing for trout...


Another great thing to have in your arsenal is some bobbers.  Just a couple very small ones.  Use a smaller hook, like a size 8, and a smaller chunk of worm.  Fish it around logs or boulders near shore, and you should catch some panfish and who knows what.  Good way to mix it up if you get bored with bottom fishing.  As far as fishing spoons, it may get you a pike or bass but you are better off with a mepps spinner in a size 2 or 3 or better yet a small 3" rapala.  


8-10 pm is a great time to fish cats.  I would suggest chicken liver as a good bait, as well as chunks of sucker minnows.  Crawlers will work, but you will be bothered by a lot of drum.  As far as the Coon Dam, you will get kicked out of there after sunset if you are parked in the lot.  However, you can park outside the park on the road there and walk the trail in - then you don't have to pay and you can fish all night if you want to.

Tyler W
Tyler W's picture

I fish both those places, but spend more time at Hidden falls. I know at HF they lock the gate at 10:00, I wouldn't recomend having your car inside the park when they do that.

As far as other stuff goes...

Bobbers! The 1" thill slip float is my favorite but you can not have to many different kinds. Weight your bobbers right and put a worm on them - you can't go wrong. The 1" Thill float pairs perfectly with a 1/4 oz weight or jig.

Rapalas... #10 husky jerk, #5 rattlin rap, and #5 popper. Those three lures should cover your needs for bass, pike, and bottom feeding walleyes. Smaller spinners are usually necessary for mooneye.

Corn: I have used corn to great effect, especially when chumming with creamed corn. But, on the river carp will eat worms as fast as anything. And, redhorse don't really eat corn. I only use corn or mixed baits when I am fishing on carp "only" waters like metro area lakes.

Worms: Use #8 hooks and no more than half a crawler at a time. If you get nipped off, go down to just enough worm to cover a #8 hook. Fish eat tiny bugs all day, a 1" piece of worm is a seven course dinner. A whole nightcrawler is a buffet for a fish and his friends.

Timing: Any time you can go fishing is a good time to go! Only the fish know when they want to bite.

What Andy said about current seams bears repeating: puting your bait/ lure near "structure" is the key. Find a current break, then fish the upstream side and the down stream side making sure to fish the fast and slow water at each end. Try different techniques in the same spot and see if you can catch different species. 


TheHugbot's picture
my advise...

do what these guys say! yes

Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
Andy and Tyler have pretty

Andy and Tyler have pretty much summed it up.  The only tip I could add is, if the bite is slow or the water is fast, try setting bait close to shore, where the current is weak.  Esp. at night, carp and suckers will come in a few feet from shore to feed.  You can even use a bobber close to shore with corn or worms and catch carp at night. 

I'd also recommend considering garden worms, which are basically half the size of a nightcrawler.  You don't have to cut them in half and their smaller size sometimes makes it easier with the hookset.  You also will trigger strikes from smaller fish with garden worms, however.  You can harvest them on your own or buy them at stores.  They are often sold as "trout worms."

Graceclaw's picture

Today I was at Hidden Falls and I caught two redhorse. I think they're both just shorthead redhorse, but I wanted to make sure. It's not worth a whole new thread, but I didn't want to be corrected if I posted one as a shorthead lifelist but it was actually a smallmouth......

The one that I think for sure is a shorthead:


And the smaller one with slightly different body shape/fin placement/coloration. I looked up the range of the smallmouth, and they don't live here in MN, but it looks significantly different to my untrained eye.....:

And forgive me for saying this, but neither of them fought me very hard! It was like pulling in a SLIGHTLY feistier bullhead.....Is that because of their size? I'm using a medium action rod with a very loose drag......I didn't even know the second one was on until I reeled in.

Thanks to anyone who helps me! I will definitely be posting the first one as my "lifer" picture for shorthead.

Gunnar's picture
Redhorse cheatsheet

You might want to have the redhorse ID cheatsheet in your tackle box. The 6 redhorse on it are the only ones you're likely to catch in MN. Not that catching a black redhorse is "likely" anywhere on most days.

Click the link in my signature. Download whichever cheatsheet(s) you want, print, go fishing. It's that simple!

Also: if you're not sure which redhorse (or other sucker) you've caught, make sure to get a good, close shot of the mouth from below (like the ones in the circles on the cheatsheet).

Have fun!


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers:

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5