Walleye in The Rock River

There is a local guy from rock falls that likes to tell the story how he found the walleye on the rock river near sterling, but it’s simply not true. Only I know the truth. Before I tell this story, I want to say that this was after they stocked it and otherwise fishing is terrible, it is a catfish river and most of the big catfish have been caught and are no longer around.

I was taking this guy walleye fishing to Belview Ia. for years. I would call at 3am and he was always ready to go. I would have to pick him up since he didn’t have a license. He was usually still drunk from the night before and talked like a drunken fool the whole way there. He never had money for gas or bait, and didn’t even have his own tackle. One good thing about taking him is he rarely caught any fish so I had them all to myself. The bad thing is he would lose 30 jigs a day sometimes and they were my hair jigs, hard to make. He also used to steal from me all the time.

Well back in 1995 I had been taking him and another catfisherman walleye fishing on pool 14 and taught them how to catch big walleye and flathead on wingdams. They I hurt my back again and was laid up for 2 weeks. These guys were going everyday to those spots. Then I was finally able to start going again. I was fishing my favorite wingdam and here they come to fish my favorite spot, but I was there so they didn’t know what to do. They sat out in the middle of the river talking, then idled over to me. They asked me where they could catch those fingerling walleye they stocked in that rock river pool by sterling in the spring. So I told them to go to the flathead holes and drop anchors in the first deep hole and cast around the ledges. I already checked out that area and knew it would hold walleye. So they loaded up their boat went there right away.

I didn’t hear anything from them, instead of calling me to tell me how they did they called the quad cities times and told them they were catching 400 walleye a day, which was a lie of course. Soon the river was flooded with boats. No one knew the water was only 12″ deep and rocky. Most didn’t make it far before they damaged their motors. The ones that did find where they were fishing found they were lying and the fish were only 6″ long.

I still like to fish that pool. Fishing is tough, sometimes a good day is catching 2 small fish, but it’s nice getting away from the crowds on the mississippi river these days and you never know when you might catch a big one.

They stocked the dixon pool a few years ago and fishing was great this Fall. It got hammered and all the fish caught were kept and now they are all gone. This has happened before. Guys just don’t realize how important it is to release fish, but who wants to throw fish back when there is boats everywhere catching them?


About Dave Tackett

Dave Tackett is from Sterling Illinois. An avid fisherman since childhood, he has fished all over the Midwest, mainly the Mississippi River pools 8-19. His home waters are pools 13 & 14. After fishing Bass tournaments for many years, he gave it up to fish for Walleye year round. He now guides and fishes for fun. He likes to take photos of the scenic places he visits on the river and likes to keep a video camera running to get footage for his Walleye DVDs. Photography is now where he most of his time working, using professional DSLR cameras and lens. These photos include landscape around the Mississippi River and the Rock River, river birds like eagles heron, egrets etc.
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