Anderson: Walleyes biting on Mississippi as Ol' Griz knows

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 8, 2013 - 11:07 PM

If you want to catch walleyes, there are few state spots better than the Mississippi River between the Ford Dam and Hastings.

hide

Dick “the Griz’’ Grzywinski caught a 5-pound walleye fishing with Dennis Anderson on the Mississippi River downriver from St. Paul.

Photo: DENNIS ANDERSON • Star Tribune,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Thursday morning, Griz and I were on the Mississippi, looking for walleyes but talking water moccasins. We found plenty of the former but none of the latter, though Ol’ Griz knows they’re there, the snakes, hitchhikers, he says, on barges coming upriver from New Orleans.

“I’ve seen ’em,’’ he said. “On hot days, they coil onto logs and sun themselves. People don’t believe me. But I’ll bring one to the dock sometime.’’

As Griz spoke, he impaled a fathead minnow onto an orange jig. The minnow could have been dead or alive. “It doesn’t matter,’’ he said. Nor does jig color, not much.

“What matters is how you present it,’’ he said.

This was about an hour into our trip and already we had caught and released a dozen good walleyes, a couple pushing 5 pounds. Also we couldn’t keep sheepshead off our lines and had picked up a sauger and a sunnie. This was beneath an unsettled gray sky patched with blue that hinted of the warming afternoon to come.

As a fishery, you can’t beat the Mississippi as it flows through the Twin Cities and into Pool 2, between the Ford Dam and Hastings, where Griz and I fished.

The wonder on Thursday, in fact, was that everyone in the metro wasn’t on this stretch of water, pretty as it is, and fruitful. In the far distance, the St. Paul skyline towered, while nearer to us, wilderness gathered on each riverbank, all of it well suited for viewing, and fishing, in a john boat like Griz’s, rigged with a tiller outboard, the entire rig painted camouflage.

A St. Paul-based guide for decades now, Griz — Dick Grzywinski — loves fishing. Hunting, too, except his shoulders’ rotator cuffs are giving him fits these days. So it’s harder and harder for him to shoulder a gun.

“Makes it hard to sleep at night, too,’’ he said. “I keep turning and turning like I’m on a rotisserie.’’

It’s possible that fishing along this piece of the Mississippi might be better than fishing in any Minnesota lake. Or maybe not. But certainly it’s in the top five state destinations for walleyes. Big ones — up to 14 pounds — are here, also small ones. These are pretty fish, also, their sides hued dark green and gold, their flanks bulging and tails thick.

But there are tricks to river fishing.

First is to know where wing dams are; underwater rock levees that project from shore like fingers. Their intent in part is to reduce siltation of channels that barges and tugs need to push upriver and down.

But a wing dam’s unintended consequence can be to shear off the lower unit of an angler’s outboard.

As Griz says, “On a river, just because there’s water, doesn’t mean you can run a boat there.’’

Yet wing dams aren’t all bad. Fish like to hang around them, and dropping a jig alongside one, sometimes in water just a few feet deep, can produce walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass or any of the weirder finned species: common carp, flathead cats, channel cats, gar and so forth.

“I’ll slide the boat into those logs,’’ Griz said. “Drop your jig alongside the submerged one. The other day, we picked up some good walleyes here.’’

Boat control is critical in fishing, and Griz managed his from the stern with one hand on an electric trolling motor.

Little by little, he maneuvered his john boat into a mess of long-dead tree trunks and limbs forced downriver by spring floods.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto 1 Top 6th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Washington 2 Top 7th Inning
Miami 0
NY Mets 5 Bottom 5th Inning
Atlanta 0
Boston 1 Top 5th Inning
Baltimore 0
Milwaukee 0 Top 6th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Chicago WSox 4 Top 5th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Cleveland 0 Top 3rd Inning
Minnesota 1
Detroit 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 1
Seattle 0 Top 3rd Inning
Houston 1
Los Angeles 2 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Texas - N. Tepesch 2:35 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 3:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong 3:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Arizona - W. Miley 3:10 PM
Colorado - C. Bergman
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 20 3rd Qtr 7:18
Buffalo 3
Dallas 17 3rd Qtr 7:37
St. Louis 21
Washington 20 3rd Qtr 12:03
Philadelphia 24
Houston 3 3rd Qtr 6:09
NY Giants 17
Minnesota 9 3rd Qtr 6:43
New Orleans 13
Tennessee 0 3rd Qtr 8:05
Cincinnati 19
Baltimore 10 3rd Qtr 5:59
Cleveland 14
Green Bay 7 3rd Qtr 7:50
Detroit 12
Indianapolis 30 3rd Qtr 10:00
Jacksonville 0
Oakland 6 3rd Qtr 5:00
New England 10
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 2nd Prd 5:01
Carolina 2
Buffalo 4:00 PM
Washington
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 2:00 PM
Toronto FC
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 9:21
Montreal 15
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do on Sunday in New Orleans?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close