Bill Sherck's February update
Posted: February 14, 2011 1:18 p.m. CT
By BILL SHERCK
Due North Outdoors
Ah, Sun and no wind on the river...
Nothing like waking up before sunrise on the 13th of February and having to goo on a bunch of sunscreen. The weather lady had forecast 45 degrees and sun on Sunday. I knew our snow would be melting pretty quickly and I might only have a day or two to get out to a favorite "not so secret" fishing hole of mine on the Mississippi River. See, this time of year, I get the itch to fish open water and the river is the place. Two power plants upstream of Monticello, Minnesota use river water to cool plant turbines. The end result? The water stays open (and warm) 365 days a year.
That means wading for walleyes and bass all winter long. My favorite rig is a simple 1/16th oz. Northland Fireball jig under a weighted slip bobber.
Any good-sized minnow seems to work, but I'm a fan of bigger sucker minnows. Buddies Wayne Smith and Jay Hall came along on this morning adventure. We were first to wade into water just before 9 am. Jay threw a fly rod while Wayne and I slip-bobbered. Pretty soon, we found the fish piled up on a slight drop in the river. Bang! Bang! Bang! Wayne was first to hook up!
Once we found the pod of active fish, we got hit on just about every cast. How fun is that on a cold winter day? Biggest fish? We had two in that 18 inch range.
Nice fish Wayne!
The only downer of the day? Wayne reached into his bait bucket and realized we were down to our last minnow. Crap. Funny, but I couldn't get a single fish to bite on plastics. I talked to a couple of other guys fishing downstream who had trouble on plastics too. Oh well....That's why the call it fishing and not.......blah, blah, blah. I hate that cliche. I'm there to catch. Ha!
Another nice fish!
Anyway, I had also brought along a 5 weight fly rod to try and nab a couple of fish had they been feeding on the surface. I didn't see a lot of bug popping yesterday and the fish weren't up, so instead, I threw on a cool rabbit tail zonker-kinda-fly and threw a few casts. In a roughly half hour stretch, I was able to hook three fish and land one.
A Bassy Zonker...
With the current, the 5 weight was a bit too whippy to wrestle the fish too much. Kinda cool to get out, at least for a couple of hours in the dead of winter.
The best part? I went home to Katie and she didn't yip once about me getting sunburned while on the water. Thank goodness for SPF 30! Guys, learn from that...
All photos courtesy Bill Sherck