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SteveD

St Croix Report - 7-23-08

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Beautiful night on the St Croix - I was surprised how little boat traffic there was with LumberJack Days going on in Stillwater, I expected the river to be nuts. I was pretty much by myself from 8:00pm on.

The river is in perfect condition, water is at normal pool elevation of 675.5' and the temp was 80 degrees. Water was flat as glass tonight but the bugs are bad - as soon as you hit a light on they swarm you - they aren't mosquitos but some kind of pain in the butt bug. I hate them.

I was playing around with a different channel cat presentation tonight and it worked pretty good. I was fishing the main channel in 8' to 12' of water pulling a modified 3-Way rig upriver into the current with a large hunk of cut sucker on a 5/0 circle hook. On the modified rig I run the main line through a snap swivel to use as a sinker drop line and then I tie a large 1/0 snap swivel to the end of the main line and hook my leader on to this snap swivel.

I was moving upstream at a very slow crawl about .5 to .75mph. I had to experiment with how much weight to use to keep the rig down but not get snagged - I started with a 1 oz bell sinker and that was way too heavy - and I tried a variety of weights and type of sinkers and ended up using a 1/4 oz Lindy sinker on about a 4" dropper of 10# test mono and that seemed to work best. It is surprising how little weight you actually need to get a large hunk of cut sucker down. That 1/4 oz sinker is ticking along the bottom and you can see your rod tip jumping as it ticks along. Every once in a while it gets hung and the rod buckles in the holder and you have to manhandle the line free while you continue trolling but with the 1/4 oz weight you don't have as much trouble as the other heavier weights.

I was running a 36" leader with a small float on the line about 4" to 6" in front of the hook to hold the bait up off the bottom. I was using cut sucker - I was out with the Grandkids today and caught another nice 15" sucker and he made great cut bait. I started fishing at 1930 and here is the catch info from my log:

2030 27" channel cat

2057 Solid hit and fish on - lost him after about 30 seconds

2135 30" channel, clobbered the bait - fish is really beat up and scarred

That 30" fish tangled up both my lines and I had a mess in the boat. I screwed around for 20 minutes trying to untangle lines and keep the boat under control and fight the bugs and just gave it up for the evening at 2200. I must have ate 5 lbs of bugs.

This presentation is hard to fish when you are alone. It would work better if one person concentrated on boat control and the other person worked the rods. With 2 rods allowed on the St Croix this would be a great way for 2 guys to cover some ground and catch some fish.

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Wow, great report, Steve! I wish we were fishing with you tonight. We went out and got a total of 4 runs, 1 fish to show for it that was maybe 4 lbs flathead. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

If it wasn't so dang far to drive, I'd love to come over and fish the croix sometime. Unfortunately (maybe fortunately?), I live 10 blocks from a boat ramp on the MN and it's hard to pry myself away to other waters.

Ok, off to bed.

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The trip is well worth it. I wish I could come out and help you out Steve, but it is too far of a drive on a weeknight.

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