Ford Dam

First, a disclaimer: This is not a legal place to boat, nor is it an especially safe place to boat. If you fall overboard when the river is running hard, you might drown. Even in calm conditions, there are risks. On summer weekends, the place is lousy with lawmen, so should you venture into this forbidden zone, you might want to keep an eye peeled for the water patrol and stick to 3.2 beer. Despite all these impediments, the rewards of fishing the Ford Dam are hard to resist. A remarkable number of indigenous and exotic freshwater fish frequent these waters, including walleye, channel catfish, smallmouth, mooneye, quillbacks, white bass, drum, and--during June spawning movements--that most underappreciated of predators, the mighty flathead cat. Under certain conditions, astounding concentrations of carp stack up in the shallows by the spillway. You can see them in a mass, as they writhe with half their bodies sticking out of the water. Because the dam attracts so many fish, the angling action can be absurdly fast. When the fish are in a frenzy--often in the minutes leading up to a storm--catches in the double digits are not rare. Alas, neither are citations.


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