Pool 4 Fishing Report – Backwater ‘eye bite!


It’s hard to believe that this is my first report in over a month… but its true. And its not that I’ve been out fishing and keeping quiet. Oh no! I’ve just not been on the water AT ALL. Until this week. I took the entire month of July off from guiding, went on a couple vacations and did some other stuff but there hadn’t been any time on the water for me to talk about.

My first trip back was with Jeff & Mary Harcey of Plainview, MN and our target was walleye which of course suited me just fine. The river is down, WAY down, from the last time I fished and much of the river is moving slowly. Water clarity is good I guess… and it should be given the lack of rain we’ve had lately. I saw no signs of any major bug hatches on the upper end of the river.

Given that the water was low I opted to hit a couple side channel spots looking to put some numbers in the boat quickly to get the ball rolling. Typically this time of the year if you look to these side channels and focus your time on the areas with the most current, and there won’t be many, you’ll find big numbers of active fish in no time. Well the plan worked like a charm. Within a couple hours Jeff, Mary and I had assembled a real nice limit of eaters from 15.5" – 19" and released a bunch of other fish, including the one Mary’s holding here that taped 24".

The hot set-up for us was just a plain split shot rig. A tiny shot and a #4 hook tipped with either a leech or a crawler. Crawlers were the better bait for us early in the AM but by mid-morning we noticed a complete shift in the fish’s preferences over to the leeches. The depths we focused on ranged from 2′ – 4′ deep… there’s deeper water real close near by but we NEVER caught a legal fish in water deeper than 4′. Most came for 2′ – 3′ of water. At one point the bite was going so good that we actually had 4 legal fish on at once… I had 2 on the rods I was fishing, Mary landed hers and Jeff’s popped off a the side of the boat waiting for the net! Quite the circus that was.

Early in the afternoon we decided it was time to leave our numbers spot and go search for another photo fish or two. We headed for the rip rip on the main channel of the river and started pulling jointed raps and deep little rippers in firetiger. These areas are usually pretty good for a better fish now and then… plus all the sheepers a guy can handle. And did we EVER catch the sheeps!~ I’m not sure what our ratio of sheepshead to walleye was for the afternoon but I do know we basically kept pretty busy with them… maybe 20 – 1? Our patience was rewarded though when Mary finally found the fish we were looking for after a couple hours of trying. This is by far her largest walleye to date and when you couple it with the 24" she released earlier, this fishergal had a pretty darn good day! This walleye was caught in 7′ of water right at the base of some rip rap, trolling a #5 jointed into the current at 2.5 mph.

I’d like to point out that since the water has dropped considerably, the WI channel needs to be navigated with extreme care. There’s some new sandbars in place now that weren’t an issue a month ago but they sure as heck are now. I’m VERY glad Dustin warned me about them and now I’m going to do the same for those that read this report. If you’re used to taking the short-cut from the north end of the river down through the WI channel to get to the lake, well, be careful. In fact, I’d advise that unless you’re comfortable running wide open in 1.5′ of water, just go the long route. It’s that bad in a couple spots.

Well I hope to see a bunch of you at this years Get-Together to be held at Everts Resort on the 16th of August. We’re holding our free & for fun tourney for three categories: walleye, bass and catfish. We have some cool prizes for the winners and of course there’s food and fun for everyone back at the resort after weighin at 3 PM. It’s going to be a hog roast this year, complete with all the fixins so do get that date on your calendar and bring the wife and kids as well as this is definitely a family event.

For more info on the 2003 Get-Together on Aug. 16th, click here:

Tournament Rules

If you need info on the rest of the event, try this link:

2003 Get-Together

And lastly, should you need directions to Everts Resort, this link will get you where you need to go:

Directions to Everts Resort

Hope to see everyone there!

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James Holst

James began his fishing career as a fulltime fishing guide, spending more than 250 days a year on the water, coaching clients how to catch walleyes on the Upper Mississippi River and Minnesota‚Äôs Lake Mille Lacs. In 2000, he launched Full Bio ›


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