The Mississippi River makes up the largest river system in North America, and is the 4th longest, and 10th largest in the world. Contained completely within the U.S., it begins in northern Minnesota, at Lake Itasca, and travels slowly south over 2500 miles to where it dumps into the Gulf of Mexico near Pilottown, La. It flows through 10 states, and with it's tributaries, drains 31 states. It has been, and still is, a vital water-route used by commercial shipping, barges and boats.
The Mississippi is divided into 3 sections: The Upper, Middle and Lower Sections. The Upper Mississippi runs from the origin in Minnesota south to the conflux of the Missouri River, near St. Louis, Mo. The Middle Mississippi runs from the Missouri split to the conflux of the Ohio River, near Cairo, Il. The lower Mississippi runs from there to the Gulf of Mexico at Pilottown, La.
The Mississippi River covers many ecosystems along its route, so it is little wonder that it contains over 119 species of fish, but the most important species to anglers are catfish, bass, walleye, saugers, and panfish. You can catch all the fish you want by using a few Mississippi River fishing tips:
- Walleyes are mostly in the Upper Mississippi, with the best areas between St. Paul, Mn. and St. Louis, Mo. Try to stay within a mile or so of the numerous locks and dams. Walleyes like current, but prefer it a slower, rather than strong, and they like to spawn near the concrete structures and locks.
- The Mississippi is famous for it's catfish. There are two main species in the river, the Channel and Blue. They are similar in appearance with the main different being size. The Blue catfish can get considerably larger, exceeding 100 pounds. A third species is less prevalent, the Flathead, or yellow catfish. They can also top 100 pounds. The best methods for monster catfish is to fish with cut-bait below the numerous tail-races. Catfish are numerous along the entire course of the river.
- Bass are prevalent all along the river. The best places to find them are areas out of the current, with still backwaters being the best. One of the best lures for them is a Texas-Rigged purple-colored plastic worm.
- Saugers are close relatives of walleyes, with similar habits. They also inhabit the Upper Mississippi, but tend to stay in deeper water. The same tactics that work for walleyes also catch saugers.
There are a few other species of interest, such as paddlefish, gar, carp, and even Bull sharks have been spotted as far up river as Illinois. Whatever you decide to fish for, you'll do better if you keep these Mississippi River fishing tips in mind.
Mississippi River Fishing Tips