River Rat Forecast 2018

A good year coming for any river rat

It’s no secret that I’m a true river rat at heart. I still enjoy fishing lakes, but rivers are my passion. I guess one of the reasons is that river fishing is so different from fishing on lakes. One must contend with so many more variables to be successful, that I find rivers challenging.

Here in the Midwest, I truly enjoy navigating rivers such as the Wisconsin, Wolf, Rock and my home river, the Mississippi. I find that even though each is similar in some ways, they are also vastly different in other ways. I love unlocking the secrets of catching the many species of fish in them. The past year, 2017, was an absolutely wonderful year on the rivers mentioned. With the exception of some high, dirty water periods, I could almost always find some fish willing bite. As we start the new year, lets look at what is ahead for fishing the favorite Midwest rivers mentioned.

Wowing in Wisconsin

For anglers who fish the Wisconsin River, 2018 promises to be a good year with good year classes of both walleyes and saugers. Also, excellent numbers of white bass should be available again this year, with many large fish. Also, muskies have been making a comeback in certain areas of the Wisconsin. Lastly, don’t be surprised if you’re jigging for walleyes and tie into one of the Wisconsin’s many big sturgeon.

You folks who spend time on the Wolf River should experience good year classes of walleyes, saugers and stripers. After a slowdown a few years back, the Wolf has rebounded. Find out where you can get on the water here.

Looking for new fishing holes? Check out our list of spring destinations.

Opportunities in Illinois

The forecast for the 2018 fishing season on the Rock River is hit or miss. Basically, it will depend on what sections of the Rock you fish. A lot of this is due to the high water floods in 2017 that changed the bottom makeup of the river in certain areas. Some hot spots are now void of the structure that held big concentrations of fish. One thing for sure, if you love big catfish, the Rock River has them. Walleyes are there, but success will vary depending on location.

Finally, my personal favorite, the Mississippi. As I spend many days on the Mississippi, fishing from Lake Pepin up north all the way down to past New Boston, Illinois, this glorious river continues to satisfy. Its many individual pools may all look the same on a map, but they are all different in their own subtle ways. One thing for sure, it is truly an angling paradise. From north to south, this majestic river offers many species.

Angling paradise

Look for a truly great year of angling on the Mississippi. The great part is that over the last four to six years, very successful spawns have occurred and there are good quantities of keeper fish available. From panfish, such as crappies and bluegills to big northern pike, they are all available. So are excellent quantities of walleyes and saugers. If you like to hunt out those tasty catfish, those also are there in good quantities. Lastly, I’d be remiss if I did not mention the truly excellent bass fishery. It rivals any bass water in the country, for both numbers and size. That’s why many major bass tournaments have chosen the Mississippi as a tournament location. Heck, it’s so good that, this past year, I caught big bass right off my dock.

If you would like more information on Midwest river fishing, feel free to contact me at my e-mail listed below. I’ll happily help you out. With a little patience and persistence on your part, you’ll soon be calling yourself a “river rat” also.

Email your outdoor questions to Mike Cyze at: lastcast13@yahoo.com. You can also listen to Mike on ESPN Radio.