Adventure on the mighty Mississippi

This week I spent all but 10 minutes of a 31-hour adventure living in my boat on pool No. 9 on the Mississippi River near Genoa.

I had not fished near this dam on open water before and spent the majority of my experience fishing for perch and walleye very close to Clement’s Fishing Float.

Tuesday, March 28

High 47, Low 33

I had planned on doing this adventure by myself but yesterday my 23-year-old stepson, Joey Dushek, asked me if I would like to spend a day fishing on the Mississippi River near Genoa, so Joey and I drove separate and met near Tomah at 5:00 this morning and that is how our adventure began.

So we launch my 18.6 War Eagle and we are headed to what we hope is perch paradise. Let me tell you, by all the folks waiting on the beach to fish the float and with the busy boat landing, we are not the only ones with high hopes.

Joey had a buddy that fished here two days before, so we had some inside information. Here is the reality of fishing here in late March. It looked like there were probably 150 people on the float and for maybe 10 acres of water there were probably 70 boats.

Let me tell you, you see saw some really good fishermen, some really good boat handlers and some quite poor and rude boat handlers.

The fishing is off the bottom with sliding sinkers or threeway harnesses tipped with a red worm, crawler or a minnow, and the walleye fishermen use jigs. The action on the float was pretty steady with 8-11-inch (some are much larger) perch and lots of red horse.

For those of us in boats it seemed to be red horse and very few perch. It was very few perch until Joe and I made a move closer to the float and set up shop for the next 10 hours.

We could see most fishermen on the float and they could see us and what a world that is with so many people catching perch and trying to have a good time, I was really impressed.

So Joey and I had limited success landing/keeping 15 perch in the 9-11-inch range and a great many red horse. Close to dark I took Joey to shore and on the ride back had some pretty bad luck when I hit something that did some fairly serious damage to my prop and hopefully not my lower unit on my 90-horsepower ETEC!

I try not to get caught up in things that I can’t do anything about and the next phase of this 31-hour adventure would have me walleye fishing and spending the night sleeping on the floor of my boat.

I had some good luck when I caught a 15.25-inch walleye about one minute after starting to fish again and I was really excited for my evening. As luck would have it, I caught six more walleyes but that was my only legal fish.

Later in the evening I put a sleeping pad on the floor of my boat, unrolled my sleeping bag and slept like a baby until an hour before daylight.

Wednesday, March 29

High 46, Low 35

I knew exactly where I wanted to position the War Eagle for having my best chance at some top-notch perch fishing and as I was making my move in the dark, I literally beat a boat coming in from the landing by 10 seconds.

So it’s dark, I have my Coleman lantern running and I am killing time. At daybreak, a steady bite of perch began and by steady I mean you might get one chance every five minutes and only half of the perch were keepers. “I like them to be at least 9 inches.”

There were a lot of fishermen near me and everyone kind of talks to each other and you can see who knows how to fish and does not, and the same with boat handling. You can also see a lot about people’s character and as much as I hate to admit it, not everyone on the water is considerate of their neighbors.

I seemed to have a hot pole today and loved my perch-fishing experience and even riled my neighbors a bit by cooking venison back strap in front of them.

I had to head home one way or another at 1 p.m. and had 24 perch in the livewell at the time. I decided to work a little overtime and caught number 25 at 1:20 p.m.

I really have to say I enjoyed this section of river and watching the folks both on the float and in their boats enjoying life on the mighty Mississippi River.


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