That's why they call it fishing in WisconsinThe weather forecast for last Thursday was just too good to pass up so I took the day off from work. Dennis Anderson of River Falls and his dog Storm came out at dawn and we hunted pheasants at our place. Several roosters and some hens got up and I bagged a nice rooster. Storm did a great retrieve in the thick cover.
By: Dan Wilcox, outdoor columnist, River Falls Journal
The weather forecast for last Thursday was just too good to pass up so I took the day off from work. Dennis Anderson of River Falls and his dog Storm came out at dawn and we hunted pheasants at our place. Several roosters and some hens got up and I bagged a nice rooster. Storm did a great retrieve in the thick cover.
After Dennis left I helped Carol take down grape vines and then got my boat out of the barn for some late-season fishing.
I look forward to fall fishing on the St. Croix. Usually, the forage fish abundance has declined by mid-October and when the water temperature falls into the mid 50 degree range the walleyes bite well.
Mike James of River Falls, Badger and I launched my boat at Hudson. There were quite a few anglers out on the St. Croix, mostly fishing near the I-94 bridge. The returning fishermen we met at the boat landing hadn’t met with much success.
We steamed south to the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River into a strong wind and chop. We trolled crankbaits of various kinds on the edges of the channel and outside the weed line on the north side of the delta. In previous years that has produced some nice walleyes.
Herring and ring-billed gulls were loafing on a sand bar at the mouth of the Kinni. They would fly up and feed on gizzard shad for a while and then come back to roost. I spotted plenty of schools of gizzard shad on the depth finder.
Gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) are native freshwater fish in the herring family that feed on plankton. They are common in the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. Many species of fish and birds prey on them. The abundance of shad may have explained why we got no hits on our trolled lures. The walleyes may have been full.
Changing tactics, we slowly fished Lindy rigs with live bait. Usually, nightcrawlers or minnows fished in the St. Croix don’t last long unmolested. We didn’t even catch one of the ubiquitous sheepshead.
Drifting with the wind, dragging live bait topped with a spinner blade along the bottom near the rocky Wisconsin shore north of the Kinnickinnic River delta is usually a sure-fire way to catch a variety of fish. We had only a few small bites — again no fish.
A fat water snake (Nerodia sipedon) swam out from the shore looking for fish. That snake must have warmed up on the rocks in the sun before venturing into the 53 degree water.
We let Badger out for a run on the Kinnickinnic delta and then boated back north to Hudson. We had a great fall day out on the water under a clear blue sky with temperature in the 60s on a beautiful river, but we caught no fish. I guess that’s why they call it fishing, not catching.
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