Hot Fishing Action
Fishing Below Ford Dam
I often follow familiar paths in this city thinking that there are no more interesting places to discover. I proved myself wrong this morning and busted a hole in the myth that one must go far and spend much to experience the outdoors.
Rick Lorenzen and I put his canoe in at Hidden Falls in St. Paul at about 6:30 am and paddled upstream until we were directly under the Ford Dam (We found the gate to Hidden Falls locked so we had to carry the canoe and equipment all the way down the bluff and to the water. The gate opens at 8:00 ). Rick is a canoe racing enthusiast, so I always get tips on my stroke when canoing with him.
I always begin fishing half-heartedly. "Am I using the right lure? Am I casting to the right place? Why would a fish bite this? And then BAM!
Hello big fish on the line!
Hello adrenaline rush!
That feeling will keep me coming back. Big fish were hitting the artificial lures we were throwing in. Mostly bass, but Rick caught a freshwater drum. I had two big, fighting bass on the line at different times, but I can only claim actually catching a smaller one. Rick caught a smallmouth that would have made a great lunch, except we aren't allowed to keep any gamefish from there.
It was a perfect time to go there. The cool air energizes the fish and the drought took care of the strong current. You could probably walk to where we were right now because the waterline is below the fence and trees that usually make access by foot impossible. We easily maintained position right off the spillway where the fish wait for tasty treats to come through the turbines. We got all our bites right by casting into the in the swirling edys just off the spillway. Birds wait too. Everyone gets their breakfast there.
Like I said, the artificial lures worked well. No more corn bait for me. Something was eating the corn, but whatever it was had too big of a brain to just swallow it and instead ate it off the hook.
The Mississippi River is a big grab bag. Pool 2 runs from the Ford Dam down to Hastings and habitats and food sources abound. From corn and beans that fall off of the barges to worms that flow in from 100 streams after a good rain. That means you can catch lots of different species. The freshwater drum was most exciting to me because they supposedly taste great, fight hard and they aren't labled as a gamefish around here, so there are no regulations on them.