Not many people know but fishing in the Mississippi River is both fun and productive. With a river this big, most people who want to fish it don’t even know where to begin. To make your Mississippi River fishing trip enjoyable, here are some things that you should know:
The Types of Fish
The Mississippi River is home to more than 110 species of fish. However, most of those who are fishing only focus on a handful of species:
Bass: The river is packed with a healthy supply of smallmouth and largemouth bass. Many fishing charter companies and experts have claimed that trophies are fairly common.
Bluegill: The bluegill are known to be some of the easiest fish to catch in the river and often range around seven inches long.
Catfish: The flathead and channel catfish are two most common types in the river.
Northern Pike: The average size pike runs 25 to 40 inches long and the population is considered good. Known to grow extremely fast, you’d be amazed at some of the sizes.
Walleye: The walleye is one of the most sought after fish in the river. The average length ranges from 15 to 30 inches and can be caught during the entire year.
The Best Spots to Fish
With the river stretching hundreds of miles through many states, there are going to be a lot of places where you can either fish along the river or on a boat. Depending on the fish that you want to catch, your spot will vary.
Bass: Both the smallmouth and largemouth are the most common types of fish in the river. They tend to like a slower current and will hang out near debris. While some people swear by Tennessee border as being the best spot to fish, others have claimed that any place that breaks the current up will do just fine.
Bluegill: While bluegills tend to be easier to catch in a lake, it doesn’t mean you can’t catch them in the Mississippi. Bluegill hang around near dams where the food supply comes to them, and as long as you’re fishing downstream and the depth is at least five feet deep, you shouldn’t have a hard time snagging a few for the afternoon.
Catfish: They tend to hang around the sandy and rocky bottom of the river, and they also love a stronger current. If you’re going to fish from shore, you’re going to want to be by something that runs off into the Mississippi such as a grain elevator. Usually swimming upstream, you’ll do the best in warmer waters and at night when they are actively feeding.
Walleye: Most people who fish walleye will tell you that the best place to fish for them is in the upper parts of the river. When choosing a spot for walleye, try to be within one to two miles of a dam or lock. While walleye like a slower current, they tend to spawn near concrete barriers.
What Bait to Use
Just like the spots to fish, every fish will have its own preference when it comes to food. Now that you know where to look for the fish, here’s what most fish are going to bite at:
Bass and Walleye: Depending on the time of the year, bass and walleye will feed on 1/4 ounce jig heads with a pinch of grub attached. When it comes to the color of the jig, consider using black, blue or red. It’s your job to experience with the colors, size and brand to see what works best.
Bluegill: They tend to feed on worms and jigs, or a combination of both.
Catfish: Most people tend to use chicken liver and night crawlers. If you want to be creative, consider creating your own bait. The stinkier your bait is, the better your chances are at snagging one.
This should give you a very good overview on Mississippi River fishing. So what is our closing advice? Of course it would be “Now, get out there and get a line wet!” Have fun fishing this massive and historic river!