About Fishing the Mississippi River 2010

Something is biting the tails of fish, I don’t know what is doing it but I would guess bluegill. I know I have been bitten many times while wading, they try to eat the hairs off your legs.

I have never seen so much eel grass floating down river as I have this year. I think it is from a combination of high water, which helped the grass grow and then low water with lots of current to follow, and with any wave action at all the grass breaks off and floats in large clumps so thick it can be impossible to fish. This makes Catfishing and Walleye trolling frustrating. There is so much grass I think it could be harvested to feed to cattle.

This has been one of my worst years for fishing with all the high water and high temperature. I have had some really good days but most days were a waste of gas. I did enjoy trolling through flooded timbers taking photos of birds in places I shouldn’t have been able to get to in a normal year. I spent a lot of time bird watching and taking photos, so much so that I will be editing and adding more photos to my website all winter long.

Well the shad are back, I haven’t seen shad in the places I fish for years, but now they are back. Bass fishing was good this year, I think they were feeding on those shad. Unfortunately ten million other fisherman were fishing the same backwater lakes and it was a rough year if you were a Bass.

The high water left about 4 inches of mud everywhere below Maqauketa River. I do wish they would the government would have a little oversight on the farmers or land owners that are responsible for this. This layer of mud keeps the river muddy for months after the water starts to drop as barges and waves made by wind and boats washes the banks and river bottom as it drops. There was a sharp drop at one time and the mud is visible on the banks. Rain and more high water will eventually wash this too, causing more siltation to work its way down river to silt in backwater lakes.

This year when I found fish I really found fish. Then the next day they were gone. I don’t know how fish can stay together in schools in the muddy water with almost no visibility. They must be able to communicate some how. I know it is a different world under water, sounds vibrate for a long distance. I once dove under my boat to hear how loud my electric trolling motor was and I couldn’t hear anything except the loud roar of a boat engine that was a half mile down river. They can hear trains, highways, bridges, factories, dams and probably different sloughs and currents put off sounds, but besides that they must be able to communicate to be able to all stay together without sight.

I have been seeing it on the river what I have been seeing at Lake Erie this year and last year, some days it seems almost all the fish are hooked in the same part of the mouth. Last year there was a day that every fish I caught at lake Erie was hooked in the soft part of the side of their mouth where it is almost impossible to get the hook out without having to cut it out. This was every fish no matter what species. How can this be? Its not that they are communicating telling each how to bite on a bait, it has to be their mood that makes them all bite a certain way.

I feel like I got robbed this year with all the high water and bad weather. What a difference from last year with all the cold weather. I hope next year is better.

Edit: While working on images I found what is eating the tails and fins of fish, it is some sort of worm parasite:


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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