At last...a nice day. Time to start putting out the Rock River Information Posts for Spring 2013.
Fishing is picking up on the Rock River from Jefferson to the mouth. Although still early in the run, solid catches of walleyes and saugers are being reported. Most are pre-spawn males, but some of the early females are mixed in. A few white bass and catfish are starting to show up as well. If we get some warm rain this week as the weatherman is suggesting will happen, things will get busy and quick.
Water level is above average, as is flow, but not outrageous as it has been at points over the last couple of years. Plenty of post-winter debris around by most reports, so always good to be extra careful. Water is high enough for slow-no-wake from the Jefferson dam to Blackhawk Island.
Dark colors seem to be working for people this year...but as with all things, if more people are fishing darker colors...darker colors will catch more fish.
The system gets heavy pressure without a doubt, but it is the people who can control their presentations they have the most success year after year. Directly controlled drifting, or slow slipping is typically key to success. Unlike the Dells or Depere, the slack water on the Rock is not always your best option. I find that current breaks hold more fish that a traditional slack water area (I get there's not much distinction there) but slower moving water adjacent to fast water is where I always do the best, especially if I can find that type of movement/displacement on a turn in the channel. Those small spots, some of which maybe no larger than the size of a kitchen table, can be dynamite.
I tend to focus on three areas that I know better than most. The area just below the dam to the S turn. The rapids to the wingdam below the Kmart Launch and the hole from the 106 bridge to Fort. I like to fish the Blackhawk Island run, but it can be crazy busy with boats, so I try to stay up river if I can.
In those three areas, I actually like to anchor over turns in the channel or shelves along the dropoff into the main channel, and then fish with a three way rig. I use a short dropper to the weight (typically 4-6 inches) and a short leader (no more than 18 inches, but usually closer to six to eight inches). It's a very unconventional three way rig, but with a heavy weight can be fished like a jig straight up and down. When paired with a sensitive rod, you can quickly detect light strikes.
If fish are biting short, I'll replace my octopus hook with a tiny red treble, when I'm hitting a school, sometimes I'll switch from live bait to a small rapala or ghost minnow on a little bit longer treble. I only like run the hardbaits when I know I've got a school moving through as the large quantity of carp and buffalo on the Rock tend to snag themselves pretty frequently. (And yes, that's fun too.)
Looking forward to getting out this week. If you want to chat or are interested in checking out what the Rock has to offer...shoot me an email