13 Apr

Lower than normal levels for this time of year. Clarity is a little more than usual and water is slowly rising.

The last three weeks have been about as good day in and day out as you could ask. Conditions are surely different than most spring times on the river. Lower levels and more clarity have fish more spread out but able to find baits more easily. Lower light conditions have been better for shallow water fish in general while deeper stretches have been solid all day for numbers and bigger fish as well.

Many presentations have been productive and we have been using different ones at different times to maximize results.

Vertically jigging is at its best when targeting fish in deeper stretches (15-30'). Plastic or minnows both have their time and place so experiment. Slipping the current while vertical is a great way to cover water when fish are scattered and a little deeper. "Hutch Tackle Sauger Slayers" have accounted for gobs of our fish caught vertically. These are hands down my favorite bait when we have any kind of visibility at all. Hair Jigs/minnows have been our best bait vertically for bigger fish.

Pulling Dubuque Rigs work deep or shallow and allow you to work quickly or slowly depending on the situation. A steady pull upstream at .4-.8 mph is sometimes all it takes but a "Stop and Chop" "Stall and Crawl" approach is my absolute favorite. This allows you to hold baits in front of fish longer or slide it back and forth in front of them if your jig weight is paired just right to the current. Even sliding backwards on a tight line sometimes drops it right in their face, kind of like force feeding them. Lately it's been all plastic of some sort on both ends of this rig.

Miller Rigs are like a double drop shot but are used on the river as a more horizontal presentation or at least a 45 degree angle or less. These can be used in many situations but in my boat are used when the current and depth are a little too much for a Dubuque Rig. Mostly one eighth oz. jigs tipped with something make these things work. Some sort of paddle tail has been the most effective plastic in the past couple weeks.

Pitching Jigs with plastics or minnows is also a great river tactic. We've been using this to target specific seems or smaller areas that are generally in shallower water(<15'). Ringworms are still my favorite bait fished on a jig while pitching but blades are a tool I always keep close by and use frequently as well.

We have used every presentation above at some point to catch fish in the last three weeks. Below are a few we have caught over this stretch. 

* The email will not be published on the website.