Mississippi River – Pool 4 Walleye and Bass Report


This past week the high temps, high pressure and high bluebird skies made for lower catch rates for many anglers. With the water level at a very low level and no forecast for rain in sight, it would not surprise me if the bite remained a bit tough for most. But fish can and will get themselves caught if you put together a solid and patient presentation. Here’s what worked for me this past week..

I had the pleasure of fishing with a pair of great guys, Jesse Preston and his partner Mike. Our target was walleye as these guys were pre-fishing for an up-coming tourney in the hopes of finding a few productives spots and to learn a new technique or two.

We focused our attentions off the main channel in side channel cuts with the most flow we could find. Depths fished ranged from 2′ – 8′. If we got any deeper than that all we would catch was small-ish sheepshead and inch fiddler cats. The walleyes were definitely relating to high current areas regardless of how shallow those areas might have been.

Most productive times to be on the water fishing walleyes? Right in the middle of the day… basically 10:30 AM and on through the middle of the day.

In this first photo Jesse and Mark are shown with a super nice pair of walleyes that fell to a light split shot rig n’ leech drifted in shallow water along the rim of a deeper hole. There was deeper water nearby… down to about 12′ with lots of timber in the deeper water but the walleyes just weren’t feeding any deeper than 8′, with the vast majority of the fish being caught in 3′ – 4′ of water. Both crawlers and leeches caught fish with the leeches taking all fish caught over 20 inches. Keys to getting bit and hooking up were to fish as slowly as possible and once a bite was detected, line was fed to the fish for 5 – 10 seconds before setting the hook. On this particular day, we had these two piggies along with a nice 2-man limit of 15.5 inch – 18 inch fish for the pan.

Notice the fish on the left had a couple bites taken out of it’s tail! We figured that little trim job cost that fish at least 3/4 inch in length… it taped out at 26.6 inches and was released in good health.

I also did some bass fishing this week and found the bite to be a bit slower than expected although we did scrape up a fair number fish on the day in question. Right away in the AM the bite was VERY good with numbers of 16" – 18" bass coming to the boat but once the sun made it above the trees, well, the bite really took a down turn. Early on black ringworms with a white tail were the BOMB and Ed Wendt, shown here in this photo, caught 3 bass like the one in this photo in about 4 casts to a rock shelf located behind a wingdam on the river near Wabasha, MN. With the sun high in the sky we fished slop, backwater sloughs with current and wood as well as main channel rip rap with current. The only pattern giving up any fish of any significance was main channel rip rap and the fish being caught weren’t the smallies a guy would expect holding in the current, it was largemouth like the one I’m holding in this last photo. These main channel fish were all over 4" Chunky Butt tubes in Pumpkinseed and Black Neon fished on a 1/8th ounce 60′ jighead. The fish weren’t up shallow on the rip rap, instead they were down 6′ – 8′ feet laying just inside of the current seam created by small points coming off the rocks. These Chunky Butt tubes have an impressive number of long tentacles and as a result they sink VERY slowly on a light jighead and it really resulted in some startling hits on a day when other baits were just getting picked at. I did try to go to heavier jigs for better control in the deeper, swirling waters but the sink rate was too fast, the action of these tubes was too diminshed and our catch rate dropped noticeably.

Well I hope to see everyone at the 4th Annual "fishtheriver" Get-Together being held at Everts Resort this Saturday Aug. 16th. We’re having a hog roast following our fishing tourney. If you can make it, grab the kids and come on down!

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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 ›


  1. Great report and pics James! Looks like you guys had some fun. Have a few questions for you.

    How long of snell between split shot and hook?Were you using a single hook for your crawlers or 2 hooks?Also did you miss some fish after you fed them line and set the hook?Thanks James and good luck.

    Ryan Hale

  2. Hey Ryan

    The length of the leader from shot to hook depends alot on where I’m fishing. If it’s really snaggy, I shorten it right up to less than a foot. If I’m in deeper water or over a clean bottom, maybe 18″ – 24″. No need to go too long though. And I’m running a single hook… a #4 red livebait hook. I do miss fish but I can tell by the bites that most of these “misses” are just smaller fish including sheepers, cats and gills. The bigger walleye really woof these rigs when you’re patient with that hookset.

  3. James brings up a very good point. You seem to get constant bites, mostly from those little catfish. When you get an actual walleye bite you will know it. They were really pounding it, but you still had to give them some line.

    I was watching a few boats on the river and the guys were setting the hook on every bite. If you do this you are going to go through a lot of crawlers. I was just pulling it away slowly from those light biters and it helped keep my line in the water, which= more fish in the boat.

  4. You get to where you know a walleye bite from the “others” and you just steadily pull the crawler away from the fish you’re reasonably certain are not ‘eyes. When a walleye hits lately it’s just a “whuump” followed by the sensation of a little extra weight or stead pull. All those little fiddlers and sheepers just rapid-tap the bait and try to run with the crawler at break-neck speed.

    Get good at telling the bites apart and you’ll save yourself a ton of money AND catch more fish ‘cuz you can’t catch ’em when your re-baiting your hook every few minutes.

    Good point Scott.

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