It was anything but an outstanding start to my week on the river preparing for the Country on the River Tournament out of Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Even the best laid plans always seemed to have a little twist in them, and this day was no exception. I planned to start my day using a small ramp down the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi river, and when I pulled into the parking lot I saw lots of water between the dock and dry land. So, I launched the boat managing to stay dry, (from the knees up), parked the vehicle, and headed out to my intended area. After a short boat ride, I dropped the trolling motor and began casting to a weed point dropping gradually from 1' to 6'-7'. With no luck and a lot of weeds chocking up the spinner bait, I switched to a swim jig with the same result. As a creeped up on the point I picked up the tube and made several casts before claiming two 5 lb northern pike on back to back casts. Disheartened, I began heading down river to the next few spots.
The water clarity was a mix bag of semi clear water, clouds of dirty water, and flat out stained brown water that you'd loss visibility of the swim jig just below the surface. I decided to try and find some cleaner water and headed back up river a few miles to a couple back water lakes that might be what I was looking for. This was not the case. The water was just high enough on pool 10 to be going over most of the islands and I was saddled with the same mix of dirty water I'd been fishing all morning. With nothing to show for my morning efforts, and the sun and humidity beating down on me, I decided to head back toward the ramp and check out one weed chocked inlet I saw leaving the ramp earlier. I pulled the frog rod out and began chucking and winding. A few blows up almost immediately and my adrenalin began pumping. The next cast was swallowed by a large dogfish, which of course managed to inhaled the frog forcing me to perform surgery in the boat, and creating the usual mess they manage when caught. A few cast later, my Spro frog was swiped at by a good size bass that i saw come out of the water, but no hook up. Seconds later however, a very large northern manage to eat what the bass failed to eat. A few casts later, and I was done with my morning session. Covered in sweat, and sunscreen, I packed up the boat and headed out for lunch and some cool air before the afternoon/evening session.
I decided to fish a little closure to Prairie based on the possibility of rain, so I launched in town and headed to a couple of current spots close together that always seem to hold fish. When i arrived I noticed cleaner water and some sparsely flooded bright green vegetation just north of the pocket I intended to fish. After several casts with a black with red flake 4" tube, and only a dink to show for it, I made my way around the point and starting pulling the Spro frog through the pads and weeds which had surprisingly clean water around them. A few casts in and only a few yards from the boat, my bait was slammed by a 12" largemouth I quickly swung into the boat. Proof of life!!!!! I released the fish and continued to work the weed section getting a few more blow ups, and one hook up that came unbuttoned after only a few seconds of action. Needless to say I focused the rest of my evenings efforts trying to find water that duplicated this scenario. With a blow up hear and there, and no hook ups, I decided to fish a few more rock ledges on my way back to the ramp. My first cast was greeted with the familiar tic of the line and I reared back and drew air. This happened to me a few more time before finally managing to get the little #@%&*#*% to eat the bait enough so I could set the hook on him. Having had enough for the day, and at least finishing the day with a bass, I called an end to day one.
Tomorrow is calling for rain, and if the fishing doesn't pick up, it could be fairly miserable out on the water. But hey, its better than being at work.