Many river anglers often have questions about what the fishing or access will be like on particular stretches of river. We thought we would compile some of our available information in these documents as a resource for anglers, canoeists and other river users alike. Below you will find information on the Mississippi River from Dayton to St. Cloud.
The most sought after species is the smallmouth bass. Walleye and northern pike are also commonly taken by anglers. Muskellunge are present in very low numbers.
Channel catfish have become abundant in the Mississippi from the Coon Rapids Dam to St. Cloud. The population has grown from stocked fish first introduced in the 1970's.
No stocking of any species is being done by the DNR in the Mississippi River. All of the species currently present are maintained by natural reproduction.
Reproduction and survival of smallmouth bass is especially good during years of low spring flows on the river. Good reproduction can be expected in 3-4 years out of 10. This is mostly due to the diversity of habitat available in this stretch of the river, and variability of flows.
Smallmouth bass in the Mississippi River grow to 7-10 inches by age four and to 16 inches by age 7, however, fish as old as 15 have been sampled. Smallmouth bass are protected by a special fishing regulation from the St. Cloud Dam to the confluence of the Crow River in Dayton. The smallmouth bass regulation consists of a possession limit of three with one bass over 20 inches allowed in possession. All smallmouth bass caught between 12 inches and 20 inches inclusive must be immediately released.
Fishing pressure estimates made from creel surveys (most recently 2007) showed that anglers fished about 25 hours per acre. This is compared to small area lakes which sustain fishing pressure in the range of 30-50 hours per acre.
The Mississippi River provides an excellent opportunity for bank angling as well as a float trip. Fishing for smallmouth bass often improves during the summer period at the same time that angling in lakes is less productive. It is not uncommon for anglers to catch 20-30 or more smallmouth in a single fishing trip.
Here are some pages which might help the first time canoeist/angler. The information has been distilled from various fisheries surveys and reports on the Mississippi River. A map and photo of each access give the viewer some idea how to reach the site and what to expect on arrival. Fishing and canoeing tips will further enhance the enjoyment. Ten pages have been created, one for each access site that we are familiar with: Anoka, Dayton, Elk River, Kadler Avenue, Ellison Park (Monticello), Montissippi Park (Monticello), Snuffys Landing (Becker), Clearwater, River Bluff Park (St. Cloud) and St. Cloud. Each page highlights different aspects of the fishery so that a reader will have a complete picture after looking at the entire series.