As per usual I tried to grab a picture of a good fish or two from each month starting in March. One thing that sticks out to me while looking at the pictures is the color of the fish and how it changes due to water clarity through-out the year. Greg Lambrecht is shown in the first picture with a walleye from March when the water was pretty dirty. Very pale and washed out looking. In the next to last picture John Utter has a fish from November when the water was very clear. Much more color and detailed markings. It seems that it is due to how much light these fish are living in and happens with most fresh water species.
2023 was another great year as a whole. We were able to fish through the highest water I've seen since I started fishing the system in 2003. We crested at 16.55 on April 25th and was the 7th highest crest in history. This forced the closing of all ramps in the Red Wing area and chased us to other areas that still had river access for about 3 weeks.
We tipped to the other end of the spectrum by late summer. Our levels dropped to 2.0 off and on in July, August and September. Our all time low was 1.8 in October of 2003.
Even with the extremes we face in our system, the fishing never ceases to amaze. We are very lucky to have such a place that stays so consistent. Fish change locations largely due to water height and volume of flow and over the years we have learned how to adjust with them. Sometimes we know where they are at and still have a hard time coaxing them to bite but usually this is due to very extreme conditions stacking up against us.
Below I have listed the number of legal fish per full day trip by month we caught in my boat in 2023. I have done this for the last three years and use it to show trends more than anything. We can never predict definitely what will happen each month but we know generally what and where the fish will be.
Variables such as water level, height, clarity and temperature are the things we can't predict and make it little bit of a different puzzle each year.
Going forward it looks like our fishery is in great shape and we should be in for another great year ahead. Thanks to all the folks that return to fish with me every year and I look forward to meeting some new to the river folks as well.