Fishing the Mississippi River

Ron HustvedtAnybody who has dealt with Elk River traffic on a Thursday or Friday afternoon knows that there are plenty of boats around. They come through from the cities but a quick glance around most neighborhoods in the area reveals a lot of boats.

Some of them are pleasure boats but most are fishing boats. Fishing is a popular sport among the general population of Elk River yet head down to the Mississippi River and there’s hardly anybody down there fishing.

How many people out there know that the stretch of the Mississippi River from Elk River, north to Brainerd, is some of the finest trophy waters in the country?

Avid bass anglers come to this part of the country to fish that stretch of water for the opportunity to catch one of the many smallmouth bass measuring 20-inches or larger.

August into September is actually one of the best times to fish this stretch of water. The action on many area lakes has slowed down, but things are going crazy on the river. Water temperatures are at their highest of the year, a fish’s metabolism is high and they are hungry.

Do Elk River residents just not enjoy catching smallmouth bass? That stretch of river can be difficult to navigate with a larger boat, especially when the water is low. I’d buy that excuse but drive north to St. Cloud where the river is deeper and slower and the same situation exists.

Launch the boat at one of the landings in town and the odds are pretty good you won’t see another boat on the water all night.

Maybe it’s just that people don’t know about it. Well here’s the wake-up call. The stretch of the Mississippi River from Dayton all the way up to Brainerd is chock full of trophy smallmouth bass, not to mention big pike, muskie, largemouth bass and a cornucopia of other species.

I’ve fished a lot of this section of river and have always done very well with some epic fish battles. I’ve met a few people who fish that stretch of river but not very many.

What is your experience fishing the Mississippi River either here in town or further north? Why do you think people are reluctant to fish it?

Better yet, what tips and tricks have you learned about fishing this stretch of river that you are willing to share? After a few others comment I’ll give a few of my own tips that I’ve picked up over the years.

To see some of the fish I’ve caught along the river, take a look at my webpage This is the first blog of many to come so if you have any ideas or questions about outdoors issues in the Elk River area please let me know. You can send a message to [email protected]

I plan on covering everything from tips and techniques to issues and concerns. The sky is the limit.  For my next blog, I plan on writing about the early goose season and opportunities that exist in the area. Have any insights? Send me a message.