Ford Dam

As most anglers know, owing to water temperature, rainfall, barometric pressure, and about 30,000 other factors, last week's hot spot can become this week's dead zone. That said, the waters immediately below the Ford Dam on the Mississippi River are remarkably consistent; sometimes you can even spot fish with the naked eye. At the peak of summer, big carp are attracted to the oxygen-rich shallows along the dam's concrete spillway. For those prejudiced against carp (a common, if misplaced, bias), there are plenty of other species to be found in the vicinity. In the deeper holes (10 to 18 feet) there are more traditional game fish, including smallmouth bass, walleyes, and channel catfish. Skipjack herring--a fish once thought to have vanished from this stretch of the upper Mississippi--have reappeared in recent years. Big schools of white and yellow bass roam the shallow flats at dusk, where they can be caught with small spinners and crank baits. Sheepshead, also known as drum, are scattered about the area in huge numbers, and easily hooked with worms. In fall and winter, fishing slows here as it does elsewhere, but anglers who work the slack water just south of the lock can still lay into a good number of walleyes and saugers.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >