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FLOAT TUBE FISHING FORUM » Float Tubes, Pontoons and Related Equipment Discussions » Fishing Related Discussions » Report from Great Alma Fishing Float on the Mississippi River

Report from Great Alma Fishing Float on the Mississippi River

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Watertooner

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Bobber
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Experienced a new kind of fishing this weekend on a trip to the Mississippi River. There are a number of "lock and dam" structures to help tugs push barges of grain and coal up and down the river. We went to Lock and Dam #4 at Alma, WI to fish from the Great Alma Fishing Float. The float is a series of linked rafts anchored just below the Lock and Dam. Here is a photo looking west from the bluffs above Alma looking down on the river. The fishing float is on the west side below the first gates on the far side of the river.

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To get to the float, we took a five-minute shuttle ride from Alma on the Wisconsin side to the Minnesota side.

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We caught eight species in two days of fishing: bass, northern, bluegill, sauger, perch, rockbass, sheephead, and dogfish. We also saw other people catch catfish and gar. Here's a nice sheephead. Fun to catch, but not to eat.

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Other wildlife included bald eagles and osprey as well as this softshell turtle about as big as a dinner plate.

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Here are two more views of the Lock and Dam. We have plans to go next year in May. The current is probably too fast to take my 'toon safely. If I had trolling motor, I'd seriously think about it - not directly below the dam, but more towards a backwater eddy near the fishing float.

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fishslayer

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Junior
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cool!
reminds of me of the old fishing barge days off the coast of SoCal...

flyfishingfool

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Admin
Excellent report and pics. Thanks for sharing. Interesting to see watersheds from other states/countries and the fish they hold.

How's the carp situation on the ole miss?


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Watertooner

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Bobber
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Thanks for the comments. As for carp news - commercial fishing outfits have netted bighead carp and silver Asian carp as far north on the Mississippi as Winona, MN which is just over 100 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul - near the headwaters. We were fishing about 20 miles north of Winona and didn't catch any carp, not even a common carp. It's not a matter of if, but when, as far as the migration of bighead and silver Asian carp into our northern states. The buggers will jump high out of the water and whack boaters in the heads. Need to wear helmets! We're really hoping to keep them out of the Great Lakes. If they do make it past the electrified fish barrier at Chicago and into Lake Michigan, we can only hope the cold lake waters will prevent them from successfully spawning. They need water temps over 68 degrees as I recall.

Watertooner

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Bobber
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Reports from 2013 and 2014: We didn't catch anything worth reporting. Water was high and the dam gates were wide open - keeping fish downstream of the fishing barge.

Report from 2015: Had a great time catching 8 species in 2 days including personal bests of a northern (28") and a fat, sassy bluegill. This annual trip is always fun, but even better when the fish are plentiful and biting at everything we throw at them. Lots of bald eagles in the area too.

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Fishingdachronarch201E7

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Awesome report and insight on the river, good stuff sir, thanks for sharing, keep them coming Smile

Tony G


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Jerdon

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Thanks for sharing and that is a big Bluegill no matter where your from!
A thread that runs for a few years is very cool.


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Pacifico

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Bobber
Bobber
Nice report and pix...bet that northern peeled some drag!
Thanks for taking the time to send and share.

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awesome i always wanted to catch a northern Thumbs Up , that is a nice gill i have been getting them like that down here in southern california . looks like a fun trip . the last river i fished was the red river and all i caught was cats and gar lol Good times

Watertooner

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Bobber
Bobber
Yep, the Mississippi River is great for various runs of fantastic fishing. One week it will be walleyes, another week it will be perch. Last weekend, it was northern bonanza time. Our group of seven guys caught 35 feet of northerns if measured nose to tail over 2 days. They bit on chubs soaking on a hook or on spoons that were cast towards the shoreline. They fight with a lot of runs and thrashing. Makes the drag sing! Best two days of fishing I've ever had.

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Watertooner

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Bobber
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Welp, this is my 5th annual report of our fishing trip to the Great Alma Fish Float on the mighty Mississippi River. This year we had 7 guys in the group and we caught 10 species of fish in two days (northern, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, sheephead, sauger, perch, bluegill, striped bass, rock bass, and crappie). The fishing was steady for both days, but the cold wind was brutal on the second day. We stay on the float from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, but it was 35º at 6 a.m. with a stiff breeze all day. I wore multi-layers and some of my ice-fishing accessories (Ice Armor hat, wool gloves, insulated hiking boots with wool socks), but the two teen boys in our group didn't read the weather reports and had clothing suitable for 50º. Brrr...but they didn't complain, just kept on fishin' and going to the snack shack to warm up on a regular basis. The best fish story of our outing: I had a 7' medium rod with the butt end resting on a table top and the rod tip resting on an outside railing so that the rod was horizontal while soaking a minnow on the river bottom. I was sitting right next to the rod and was fiddling with my phone when all of a sudden a fish hit the minnow hard. It caused the rod to flex and "sproing!" - the rod and reel flipped over the railing into the strong current. I looked at my buddy with an expression like "did that just happen?". Couldn't even get mad even though it was $120 over the railing in a fast moment. I told my story to the fish float owner so he brought out his snagging rod and lure setup. He dragged the river bottom about 30 feet downstream from where it jumped into the river and wouldn't you know it, he snagged the line. He brought up the rod, reel and the sheephead that started this misadventure. A fish like that deserved to be released.

Jerdon

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Moderator
Thanks for sharing!
This is a great thread year after year.
How about a pic of this nasty sheephead?


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Watertooner

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Here ya go. Not much to look at, but this badly behaved sheephead sure had talent! The line was all snarled after hauling it up on the float.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]" />

Watertooner

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Bobber
Bobber
It's almost time for my annual fishing trip to the Mississippi River at Alma, WI. I'll post pics and stories after this weekend. Can't wait! Finally a few days of sunshine, no rain, and spring temps coming our way. The new wrinkle I'm trying out on this trip is a Japanese keiryu rod (like a tenkara rod - only beefier) that is rated for large fish. If the rod works out well, I'm hoping to use it on some river float trips this summer with my Classic Accessories pontoon.

SP Dan

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Old Timer
Old Timer
I'll definitely be looking forward to your next follow up report!
That was a very nice cornucopia of species landed! WTG!

SP Dan <"))><

Watertooner

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Bobber
Bobber
Today I'm posting the 6th annual report of the fishing trip to the Great Alma Fishing Float. Each year's trip brings something new and this year was no different. The weather was perfect with clear sunny skies, temps in the mid-60s to low 70s, and light winds. Walleye and sauger were hitting everything we threw at them (minnows, nightcrawlers, bare jigs, and willow cats - their favorite). We also caught a couple each of 11 other species of fish (sturgeon, smallmouth bass, warmouth, northern, bluegill, sheephead, perch, shiner, striped bass, redhorse, and catfish). The walleyes will make for a great fish fry and fish tacos for Mother's Day. This was the first year that we caught keeper-sized walleye in large numbers. This was also the first year that someone in our group caught a sturgeon. He had a 5'6" pole with 8 lb test line, but was patient during the 30-minute fight. She measured out at 50" and weighed about 30-35 lbs and was about 20 years old. Wow! This was my first outing with a keiryu rod (17'7" telescopic rod from Japan with no reel or rod guides - just a fixed line on the rod tip). I didn't catch anything large to write home about, but I did catch my first fish with it - a shiner.

Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom story: A recently hatched plump of 4 Canada goslings were swept over the dam by the high water. They managed to stay together until the bald eagles started hunting them and then they scattered for the shoreline. The gander and his mate spent the rest of the day searching for them - flying and honking all around us. Don't know how the story ended though.

Feel good story: A 10-year old boy snagged a rope with his worm hook. At the end of the rope was an abandoned fish basket. In the basket, was a live bass! The kid was pretty tickled by the whole thing. The dad was happy because until then they didn't have a basket and they were catching quite a few fish.

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GT

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Old Timer
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Another great report...........Watertooner. Your stick would make for great fishing off the rocky beaches of So Cal............GT

jeffcpr

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Admin
That is one hell of a big pole LOL thanks again for sharing looks like a good time.


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Jerdon

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Thanks for sharing Watertooner.
I like this ongoing report theme.


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Ornery Bob

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Great report, thanks! I'm fascinated by the whole Seiryu-Tenkara-Keiryu deal. Fishing in Japan is a whole 'nother thing with many forms that don't really exist much in the US. Very cool.

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Watertooner

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Bobber
Bobber
As I get more experience (a.k.a. older), I find myself trying to keep things simple, yet fulfilling. Fishing from a river bank is simple, but not as fulfilling as fishing a river from a toon. Fishing from a bass boat is fulfilling, but not as simple as from a toon. I had been reading about tenkara-keiryu style fishing for a couple years before I decided that I had to give this simple method a tryout. The rod was easy to use, but it was also fulfilling to land that shiner. The tips of these light keiryu rods (3-6 ozs) are so thin, you can snap them like a toothpick, but they are so incredibly well designed, they can fight large fish. Once the local rivers start to drop a bit, I hope to get out in my toon and use the keiryu rod again - to seek more fulfillment. I've recently taken up hammock camping which is simpler than tent or RV camping. So combining all three interests, my idea of a fun outing is floating a river with a couple keiryu rods and taking a siesta break or staying overnight in a hammock. All the gear would fit in my Civic (simple car) to get me to a spot and would float with me on the toon for a day or two. Simply fulfilling.

kobra


Junior
Junior
Love your yearly adventure reports. Thanks for shareing and looking forward to many more.

david886720


Junior
Junior
Love your yearly report and I think your next "simple" fishing adventure sounds like a good idea

Pavo21

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Junior
Junior
great stuff, looks like a super fun time!

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