By Denver McKinnon
Years of guiding experience: 11.
Favorite river: Mississippi.
There’s a lot of ice in Upper Mississippi River system, giving folks the rare opportunithy to drive trucks on some areas, such as North Lake.
But river ice, and river system ice, should always be approached with more caution than not, especially when crossing channels. It’s the backwater connections to the main river that have drawn a lot of anglers this winter, a situation made much safer if one has access to an air boat. There just isn’t enough water in some of the backwater areas because the ice is so thick this year. Don’t leave behind your spud bar if venturing out on ice you are unsure of. Use caution and tap into the local knowledge about access. Don’t take any unnecessary chances crossing main channel ice.
I’m looking for four feet or more of water in the backwaters. One tip is not to move your bait too fast back here. The fish are sluggish. You can speed things up a little bit in the late afternoon, that last hour before dark. But working your bait slowly, with some pauses, is wise during the day. With all of the extreme cold fronts that have come in this winter, any three-day period of steady weather should lead to a better bite.
McKinnon is a fishing guide on Pools 2-4 of the Mississippi River and the Lower St. Croix River. Reach him at www.riverwalleyeslayer.com or call (952) 210-0543.