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b1gf1sh1

river tip #49

8 posts in this topic

islands in rivers depending on the shape can form eddies along it's shore. these eddies are great resting spots for pods of shad and other smaller fish, all are great muskie and pike forage. one island can have multiple eddies along it's shores or just two, one upstream and one downstream. all have potential for great fishing.

islands are also a great area for falldowns (trees fallen in the water) being trapped in and around these eddy areas. these hold fish also.

when two islands are side by side or one is near a main shoreline and still has current these cause what's called a funneling area. the speed of the river picks up in these areas and much like a boats prop-wash baitfish lose some control and become confused. either they swim against or with this current. either way they are easy prey for an ambush above and below this funnel. so fishing both ends is always a good idea. and don't pass up fishing directly in the current. unlike most predators, muskie and pike are not against holding right inside a strong current to feed.

trolling around islands with current on both sides produce better than trolling ones on the edge of a bay area. sweeping the actual bay along with the island is normally a better idea.

hope this get's one for you. smile

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have you actually written another 48 of these? I'm sure a quick search could answer that for me, if so though, thanks for the information.

In the last two years my river strategy has been to fish any and all water, and just keep track of where and when I see fish. This could help me key in on some spots I've ignored for a while.

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have you actually written another 48 of these? I'm

at least that,yes. but not all titled with a number. not all the threads were started by me and not all are in this forum, so not all are for muskie/pike. i went through some of my posts and came up with a number a few tip numbers back and decided to just start there. not really sure what should be #50. any ideas?

BTW, your strategy is sound,IMO. do yourself a favor and never lose that search and destroy attitude. some of my best spots came from just casting any old where. sometimes things just can't be seen, but are there none the less.

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I think my strategy is much better suited for the area I fish rather than the wider portions of any river system. It's fairly easy to cover a lot of water in one day's time where I'm at.

Tip #50 could look more at the safety aspect of fishing a river and how it's a bad idea to just put your boat into a river and explore it like you would explore a lake that you know nothing about. I've only seen it happen a couple of times(once on an 18 foot ranger go figure), but there are two nice rock humps just south of the State Park landing that I'm sure have claimed a couple of props and maybe more than that.

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I'd like a post relating to river turns, especially sharp turns, and what that can do for fish. I suppose that could tie into slack water as well. Seems like I have seen and caught many fish on big turns of the rivers.

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Tip #50 could look more at the safety aspect of fishing a river

Quote:
I'd like a post relating to river turns, especially sharp turns

ok 50 is safety, 51 is turns. 50 will get long, probly really long so maybe later for 51. this may get boring but i'll try and keep it interesting.

there's so many hazzards on a river and so much to understand i couldn't possibly cover it all, some are obscure. so if anyone has more input i welcome it.

boat launch time, huh? if it's your first time on a river or your not very good at it avoid a launch that has current. so far at the hidden falls ramp on the mississippi i've saved 6 boats for unsuspecting individuals. some because they were walking in the water to hold it and the current wrenched it from them and some because they didn't tie her up on shore and just beached it, one because it was let go of the rope or die. if you've ever launched on a lake in 30 mph winds you might get a percentage of the problem. it's worse in a strong current. add a good wind and it's horrendous. hidden falls aint bad in lower water but when it's high the current whips through there pretty good. either stay in your boat to launch or use a tether line that is also tied to the trailer or something. WEAR A LIFE PRESERVER.

ok, you didn't listen to ole biggy grin and you launched in a strong current. all i can say is good luck getting it back on the trailer. laugh ...call me i'll bring the popcorn!!!

great, you launched and everything is working good and it's time to motor out. rivers are a little skinny sometimes and boats can go by doing 70 mph so make sure there nothing coming before you get into the navigation lanes. when you travel a river it's a little different than a lake. the nearest shore should be on your right whenever possible. this helps you see any hazards faster and easier, like trees floating or rocks and such. on big water like the lake st croix section of the st croix river this is less important. do not go inside a eddy fast. (search if your clueless what this is). they are most times pretty shallow and most form bars from the swirling, tree's floating get sucked into them also from the swirling water. use caution in them and go no wake speed. you'll be happy you did when your motor is bounceing at slower speeds than hitting hard and bounceing only once. always have on board an extra prop and the tools to change it. here's why.

i went through here yesterdayso i know it's ok....

WHACK!!! what the? that tree wasn't there yesterday.... or... wow how'd i miss that rock bar yesterday... or that rock (the river level went down... or the dam was open yesterday).

long story short... unless you know how to navigate that specific river... use caution. and don't follow ''that guy'' just because he must know what he's doing. maybe he is hoping you'll pass him up and he can follow you?

there really is alot to write so i'll write this next little story (tragedy) and continue with more safety later.

several years ago the army corp. of engineers, of all people to do this... heck they practicly rule the rivers, had an outing on the croix. just a get together on a nice holliday. there were several boats in their party and a couple were good sized cruisers. (i was fishing just north of this). they went through the lift brige in stillwater and were powering up just south of the paddle boats. well one of the cruisers, like a 35 or 40 footer, was behind (directly behind... bad move in any size boat) an 18 footer that had a few of their party in it. he was too close and could not even see the littler boat. nobody knows why but the captain of the 18 footer stopped dead. because the captain in the cruiser was still not planed out there was no way he could see this happen. he drove right over the top of the boat injuring everyone inside and decapitating the captain. one person lost an arm in this ordeal.

the captain of the cruiser was a veteran river man. versed in navigation of rivers and even coastal waters. so was the captain of the other boat. this could happen on a lake too but because of the bridge (not likely on lake) it was congested with boats going through both ways. these are the times when due dilegence are paramount. same with lock and dams. always make sure the way is clear then make sure again then go slow at first to make sure your right then go faster, slowly, in a congested area. it could save a life.

to be continued... next up, navigating river bouys and markers.

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buoys marking safe passage are red and green. when navigating upstream the green buoys are on your left, red on the right. obviously it's the opposite going downstream. it's not north or south because rivers change course sometimes... see cannon river... just up or downstream. they have different shapes if you look close. from a distance green looks more like a rectangle o ''can''. the red has a pointed tip. the difference is for bad visibiliy situations like fog, twilight etc for easy recognition. these buoys mark the channel (a channel is the original rivers course from ''birth'' before it eroded and cut it's present size. there are landmarkers sometimes on shore or in the water usually on trees or on man made structures like walls or bridges and posts. these are red in a triangle and green in a rectangle shape. if a boat stays in between these buoys and markers it's considered safe and navigable. at the bottom of these buoys is a heavy chain about 4 feet minimum to hold the tether below draft (hull/prop) depth. pretty much any boat can get by one but it's still a good idea to stay a good six feet inside to allow for drift.

wing dam fields are covered with them. just stay on the correct side going from one buoy/marker to the next and everything will be fine. go even a foot inside and it could be trouble. if you enter a mouth of a river from a bay,lake or whatever it's red buoy/marker on the right when you enter it at all times. obvious, but it doesn't hurt say it. these buoys mean hazzard plain and simple, if you go on the inside of them. obey them and there won't be an issue outside of debris like trees and such. at night read the color of blinking lights (blinking means it's not a boat). on navigation maps they have a blinking guide to identify specific buoys, they blink in a specific pattern unique to each. (pretty cool huh) blinking red or green are markers, blinking bright white is no wake and yellow is a special situation buoy/markerlight. like when the bridge went down (not limited to this) it was used to signal which side of the river could be used at a given time, sort of an emergency detour.. green and red together is an intersection. learning and understanding these is important in emergencies and safe travel. hope this helps. smile

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safely starting on rivers.

when i was 17 a boat went over the ford dam. i didn't know for sure untill i got home and watched the news, but i saw a bunch of things floating in the water like coolers and other things. a bunch of sirens were going past across the river, then it started raining and i left. i got home and it was a major down pour. on the news was a helicopter and a rescue mission happening... even at that young age i wondered how in the heck they missed all the warnings of a dam ahead. i mean i figured, and still do, it should be a no brainer. then not too long ago somebody else did the same thing. both times even the guys in the tower were tooting and screaming over the mic. i just shake my head thinking about that. niether boat captain knew anything about rivers from reading about them, but chose to just wing it and go any old where.

i guess i would implore anyone to fish an area that is pretty easy to navigate and not that many boats untill they get a feel for them, they aint like a lake. if they don't know? don't go. ask questions, read up or scout first. avoid rivers if it looks like rain, at least at first. rivers can pick up speed real quick and swamp a boat right where it passed safely an hour before. small rivers are a nice place to start.

i personally have had a more than a few close calls on the rivers. the stupidest one on my part was when i anchored my boat just outside a street drain, maybe 40 feet away, falling into the mississippi river from about 4 feet above. it started raining pretty good but i could see blue skies in the distance so i figured i'd wait it out under my canopy. well that drain became a waterfall about 40 feet wide and shooting water out about 20 feet in about 2 minutes. the force of the water going in was so strong it was creating an undertow that was bringing my boat right to it.

keep in mind i had a good 20 feet of rope out and was pointed bow first toward the drain. the drain was maybe fourty feet away. the rope has a fourty foot swing. an 18 foot boat too. thats almost 80 feet of swing. the water is shooting out 20 feet and my boat was being sucked right toward it... fast. i was anchored in shallow so i could cast the current, ( below the waterfall was 12 feet deep from years of draining) my motor was almost all the way up to stay off the bottom. i was scrambling to get my motor trimmed back down and had to start it while it was still out a little and stick it in reverse. just as the prop hit the surface of the water the waterfall was coming in my boat. i was calm but in a panic all at the same time because i knew if i got sucked in there it was bye bye Donnie. so in my calm panic i gave it some juice and my prop was chunk chunk chunking through the bottom of sand, rocks and gravel. i made it out and then noticed that my stern was really low in the water. i turned the bilge on and it drained for at least 20 minutes or more. i only remember that water coming in for MAYBE a second. one more second i bet i was swamped and dead. i got out of it with a 75 dollar fix on the prop and that was it. but because i thought i was smart and knew what i was doing because i'd fished rivers and seen it all, i almost lost my life. since then if i'm near anything i don't know exactly what to expect... i find out before i go near it. (well except that time i got trapped against a wall by a dam for two hours blush till i figured it out...but that's another stupid move for another time.) i recomend that strategy to anyone. i knew more water was going to come out of it, i just didn't figure that much so soon because i was never there before in rain. stupid move, idiotic even.

so in closing... read, ask, learn. the DNR has a lot of good info, and people willing to help us with safety. then go fishing.

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