St. Croix River walleye
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  St. Croix River Fishing Good fishing... beautiful scenery... historic river towns. We’ll hook you up.
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Hudson, WI
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June, 2012
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St. Croix River Fishing Reports and Information
December 14, 2016 - It is unusual for the open water fishing season to extend into December, when only a few avid “river rats“ dare to brave the cold temperatures in search of hungry walleye.   When weather allows, Charles “Turk” Gierke of Croixsippi Fishing Guide Service takes advantage of these extra days on the water. He is well known for his ability to put clients on fish throughout the season.
Turk 28 inch walleye
December 4, 2016 - Charlie “Turk” Gierke was rewarded for his late-season angling efforts when he landed this beautiful 28-inch walleye.
St. Croix River Sturgeon
Sturgeon anglers also took to the open water in early December to continue catching 40, 50 and 60-inch brutes. Many of these same anglers will target these fish through the ice. Daren Troseth created a great You Tube Video of December sturgeon fishing on the St. Croix River.   Winter weather has now arrived, with heavy snowfall followed by bitter cold temperatures. Ice anglers are eager to return to the river in search of slab crappie and chunky walleye. Sturgeon anglers will be up late offering shad and night crawlers to the giant sturgeon. Bring on the ice!
November 7, 2016 - Mild temperatures continue to extend the open water angling season. Walleye action has slowed a bit, but many anglers report catching their six-fish limit during a half-day outing.   Water temperatures are in the low 50s. Jigs tipped with minnows are producing fish, as well as Lindy rigs with large fathead minnows. Crankbaits are still catching fish along the popular breaklines on the lower St. Croix River.
St. Croix RIver walleye limit
Jeff Hinchcliffe poses with a six-fish limit of eating size walleyes. These fish were all taken on #5 and #7 Shad Raps®.
Paul Earney St. Croix River crappies
Crappies are plentiful in the St. Croix River. These scrappy panfish are healthy and thick across their backs. Downsize your jigs and raise your baits a few feet off the bottom to catch these tasty fish.

October 17, 2016 - WOW! What a stretch of amazing weather. Mild temperatures and light winds greeted anglers this past weekend as they took to the water.

The sixth annual St. Croix River Sturgeon Classic reported 33 fish over 48" entered. Five were 54-60" and four were 60" or larger. Jake Robinson took the top prize with a 65 inch fish estimated to weigh 70 pounds. Very impressive!


The fall bite is in full swing, with some anglers reporting catches of six-fish limits in less than two hours. Walleye and sauger are biting aggressively on Shad Raps®, Jigging Raps®, and minnow rigs. White bass add to the fishing action, with 12-15 inch fish being the most common.

Trophy-class fish are also showing up, as evidenced by a recent tournament with the top three finishers weighing six-fish stringers exceeding 20 pounds.

Paul Earney St. Croix River walleye
Autumn offers the best chance to catch some of the largest walleye in the river. Paul Earney shows a healthy 26.5-inch fish caught on a crankbait.

October 10, 2016 - Mild autumn weather has kept the water temperature in the low 60s. The river level remains about five feet higher than we typically see this time of year.

Walleye action has been good, and the fish have still been biting on night crawlers as the calendar turned to October. You can expect walleye action to get even better as the water cools and the fish turn their attention to gizzard shad as their primary forage. This year's hatch seems to be running larger than normal as evidenced by 4-inch specimens discovered in the stomachs of many fish. Crankbaits have been producing fish along breaklines, and balls of shad are showing up.


walleye and shad

Walleye, sauger, and white bass gorge themselves on gizzard shad this time of year. Find the forage, and you'll find the fish.

Jeff Hinchcliffe with 25 inch walleye
Jeff Hinchcliffe shows off his 25-inch walleye caught in late September on a night crawler rig.

September 21, 2016 - The signs of autumn are undeniable. Trees are dropping leaves, and the water temperature has dropped below 70 degrees. As the water cools, and the daylight hours diminish, fish react with an instinctive desire to prepare for the cold winter months ahead. Experienced river anglers know the action will be excellent from now until ice up.

Many sportsmen have turned their attention to hunting, which leaves plenty of room for parking at the local launches. Most large river cruisers, jet skis, and noisy speed boats are pulled from the water and shrink wrapped. If you can tolerate the cold weather, this is the most peaceful and productive time to fish the river.


Slab crappies are bunching up and biting on small jigs tipped with minnows. Walleye, sauger, and white bass are beginning to chase schools of gizzard shad along breaklines. Trolling crankbaits is now an extremely effective technique. Night crawlers continue to catch fish, but the old reliable jig and minnow will soon be preferred as the water continues to cool.

Giant river predators are also on the chomp. Flathead catfish and sturgeon action has been excellent. Catfish are slamming crankbaits during the day. Sturgeon anglers anchor their boats and set out their rod arrays just before sundown. Many report catches of several fish every night. Remember to handle these fish carefully (never by the gill plates), and return them to the water quickly.

Kelly Bement catfish
Kelly Bement is pictured here holding a 38.7 pound flathead catfish caught during the 23rd Annul River Rat Tournament. Catfish and sturgeon anglers can expect to see consistent action September through November.
August 29, 2016 - This report was provided by Charles “Turk” Gierke of  Croixsippi FIshing Guide Service.

Since last week we had some very good walleye and sauger keeper totals. We had the following catch totals for keepers: 11, 12, and 15.  The mix is normally 75% walleye and 25% sauger, but the Saturday total was half sauger half walleye. Most of the walleye are in the 15 to 18″ range and the sauger are the 14 to 17″ fish (some are bigger). Walleyes and sauger currently found 14 to 28 feet deep. We also catch drum, sunfish, crappie, and white bass.

The photo below is a stringer from the 11 keeper trip (7 a.m. - noon). The St. Croix River water itself is very unique. This image captures it well.


The river has been high since mid July, six weeks of high water and the fish start to become accustom to the conditions.  This high water is likely one reason I have not seen many smallmouth bass. They must be ultra shallow. I do so many walleye trips as the customer prefer walleye. Bass fishing is less in demand. Normally I run into smallies by accident… even a dyed in the wool walleye customer enjoys a good smallmouth battle. As mentioned the aren’t in the depth I am fishing.

The weather has been great, cool mornings and warm days. The weather will get hot for about two weeks and then the fall part of September will arrive and the water will start to cool. Summer is winding down.

sparkling walleye stringer

“Here is a stringer from the 11 keeper trip mentioned above. This total was on a 7 a.m. - noon trip. The St. Croix River water itself is very unique. This image captures it well.

Charles “Turk” Gierke of  Croixsippi FIshing Guide Service


August 19, 2016 - The river level is on the rise again. The SLOW, NO WAKE rule is NOT in place, but we urge you to slow down as you pass near shorelines with docks.

This has been a strange summer in regard to fluctuating water levels. This results in constant changes in fish locations as they adjust to alterations in current and water clarity. Trolling is difficult in areas with accumulating debris, and many anglers are left scratching their heads.


Most anglers are in constant pursuit of walleye for the dinner table. This is a good time of the year to take a break from the golden fish to target any one of the many other gamefish in the St. Croix River.

Smallmouth bass, white bass, and panfish provide plenty of action this time of year. It's also a great time to grab your heavier gear and go after catfish and sturgeon. These big bottom feeders will continue to bite well throughout August, September and October. The St. Croix has produced record-size fish in recent years.

St. Croix River Fishing

August 2, 2016 - The river level dropped below 683.0 feet on July 25, which resulted in the SLOW, NO WAKE restriction being lifted. Anglers continue to enjoy good walleye and bass fishing action. Sand points and break lines are still producing fish in 10-20 feet of water. Crawlers, crankbaits and Jigging Raps are all producing quality fish.


If you pay attention to your electronics, you'll see a variety of marks appearing at various depths in sand point areas. Smallmouth bass, sheepshead, white bass, crappies and bluegills tend to suspend a few feet above the river bottom. Panfish action (crappies and bluegills) can be quite good in August. Don't overlook these hard-fighting, smaller gamefish.

bluegill in net Bluegills will often steal a night crawler intended for other gamefish. Try tying on a smaller hook (#8 or #10) or an ice jig and you may catch enough for dinner.

July 19, 2016 - The river level has risen quickly, cresting on July 17 at 686.12 feet as measured at Sillwater, MN. The SLOW, NO WAKE rule is in effect, and will continue until the river level drops to 683 feet. The NOAA website predicts this will not occur until Tuesday, July 26.

Walleye and bass fishing action is still very good. Fish have relocated to shallow areas with slower current. Look for slack water or eddies in narrowed stretches of the river.


Sand points are also holding fish in 5-15 feet of water. Walleye, sauger, sheepshead, smallmouth bass and white bass feed on baitfish in these areas. Cast or troll a crankbait or spinner rig, and you can expect action.

Many anglers catch fish using a simple split shot rig. Use just enough weight to keep your crawler on the bottom. Cast into shallow water and slowly drag the bait into deeper water. Keep tension on the line and watch your rod tip. Half crawlers work best to maximize hookups with short-biting walleyes.

split shot rig
July 12, 2016 - Heavy rains have caused the Upper St. Croix River to swell. As a result, the Lower St. Croix River is predicted to approach minor flood stage by Saturday, July 16. The SLOW, NO WAKE rule will be implemented when the river reaches 683 feet at Stillwater, MN (most likely on Friday, July 15).   Fishing during periods of high water is challenging. Gamefish are scattered as they adjust to changes in their environment. Fast-moving water causes fish to relocate to the shallows. Murky water and floating debris (grass, leaves, logs, etc.‚) make it difficult to keep lines in the water without fouling. Be patient. The river should drop and stablize after a week or two.
St. Croix RIver flooding
Paul Earney, St. Croix River Fishing
Walleye fishing action has been fairly consistent. This will change as the river levels rise to near flood stage. Fish will scatter and move shallow to avoid strong current. Floating debris and murky water can make fishing difficult.
July 1, 2016 - Walleye and bass fishing action is going strong on the Lower St. Croix River. The water temperature is 77 degrees, and the fish are active and willing to chase down baits they might have allowed to pass a few weeks ago. Most walleyes are being caught in 10-25 feet of water.   Night crawlers continue to be the preferred bait. This live bait is arguably the go-to standard for the majority of river anglers. Multi-species catches are common, with sauger, bluegill, perch, catfish and sheephead willing to chomp on a worm moving along the bottom. Spinner rigs and Lindy rigs are top producers.
St. Croix River Fishing


John Osterberg displays a nice stringer of eating-size walleyes.

John had the hot hand on this summer evening, catching six keepers back-to-back.

John caught these fish (16-19 inches) using night crawlers on live bait rigs.

worm blowerHelpful Tip:

Inject a puff of air into a night crawler to keep it hovering just off the bottom.


Paul Earney, St. Croix River smallmouth bass fishing
Our web developer grins as he raises two hefty smallmouth bass. These fish fight like crazy in warm summer temperatures using head shakes, strong runs and aerial jumps in an attempt to shake the hook loose.

June 20, 2016 - This report provided by Charlie “Turk” Gierke of Croixsippi FIshing Guide Service.

“This is the time of year when you can get smallmouth bass action when targeting them, and target walleyes and do well too — how great is that?  In roughly a month to three weeks the walleyes will slowly drop off in action. But right now you can do well on both smallmouth bass and walleye.


Smallmouth bass are hitting soft plastics. Last week we did best on wacky worms and jerk baits (tubes not so much, which is unusual).  Walleye are being caught in 12 to 24 feet of water on crawlers and leeches.  I have been doing best on the shallow range of this depth, but I know others are getting fish in the deep water.  Reports are mixed, with one day decent and slower the next. If you put in your time, you can still put together a nice box . Last Saturday we had ten legals before 1 p.m., including two that were too large for us to keep (over 20 inches, pictured below). ”

Croixsippi bass   Croixsippi bass
June 16, 2016 - Sturgeon fishing season opens today on the St. Croix River.   You can find sturgeon fishing tips in our article written by professional guide Brian Klawitter (a.k.a. “B.K.”).
St. Croix River Sturgeon
June 9, 2016 - Walleye fishing action has been very good on the Lower St. Croix River. Night crawlers are the preferred bait, but leeches and crankbaits continue to put fish in the box.   Bass, sauger and panfish are biting well. Sand points and breaklines are the most productive throughout the summer. Recreational boaters are out in force, so it's a good idea to be off the water by 11 a.m. on weekends.
St. Croix River Fishing
We encourage Catch-Photo-Release for walleye over 20 inches in length. These fish are usually female, and they contribute significantly to replenish the fishery when they spawn in spring.
May 31, 2016 - Bass fishing season opened on May 28, and anglers are finding good action. Water temperature is about 70 degrees in most locations on the lower St. Croix River. Most species are active and eager to bite. Night crawler rigs are the bait of choice for walleye, bass, bluegills, and (of course) sheephead.   Multi-species action adds to the excitement of a day on the river, with an occasional catfish or sturgeon taking bait intended for other species. The panfish bite has been good, with spawning bluegills found in shallow water on points with a sand/gravel bottom. Crappies are also biting along rocky shorelines with woody cover. It's a great time of the year for fishing on the river!
St. Croix River snmallmouth bass
May 16, 2016 - Walleye fishing action has been spotty. Many anglers are reporting an abundance of short fish (< 15 inches). Others are catching limits, but the action has not been consistent. Cool weather and winds have water temperatures fluctuating between 58-61 degrees Faherenheit. Stable, warmer weather should result in better action this week.   The most dependable action is found in the narrow-down areas of the river. Live bait rigs with night crawlers are prwoducing the most fish. Sheephead will keep you busy with rod bending and re-baiting between walleye. Crankbaits have also been productive, with #5 Shad Raps catching fish in 12-20 feet of water. River levels have been dropping for the past several days. Debris is minimal.
Hilla walleye stringer

Croixsippi Fishing Guide Service (Turk Gierke) continues to connect anglers with excellent walleye action.

These two happy customers caught their limits using night crawlers on May 12, 2016.

Get Together
April 26, 2016 - Walleye fishing opens this Saturday on the St. Croix River. Recent rains are causing the river to rise approximately five feet this week (see graph below). The river is predicted to crest on Sunday. Rising river levels tend to cause fish relocate to nearby structure, current seams and slack water. Be prepared to adjust your tactics to locate them.   Trolling crankbaits is an effective way to cover a lot of water in a limited amount of time. However, floating debris can complicate your efforts. Once you pick up a fish or two, it may be more productive to present a live bait offering in the same depth and location. Lindy rigs with night crawlers or fathead minnows are most effective this time of year. Good luck out there!
St. Croix River Level
April 2, 2016 - It's less than a month until the 2016 Walleye Opener on the St. Croix River. Regulations allow six walleyes to be kept (15-inch minimum size). Many anglers are getting their boats and gear out of storage and heading to Pool 4 on the Mississippi River to test their skills.   The winter melt-off has been controlled nand uneventful so far. According to Charlie “Turk” GIerke of Croixsippi FIshing Guide Service, “Unless we see a significant amount of rainfall during the next few weeks, we should anticipate typical spring water levels.” We invite you to visit with Turk at our Fishing Seminar on April 20 (see promo listed below).
St. Croix Valley Walleye League
The St. Croix Valley Walleye League is sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Walleye Club. Approximately 40 anglers participate in weekly fishing tournaments throughout the summer months. Anglers gather to share tips and techniques and to meet other anglers.   An informational meeting was held April 12, 2016 at the city launch in Hudson, WI.

Please visit our website for more information about this summer's league activities.


The league is a friendly walleye fishing league. The league operates on the CPR (Catch, Picture, Release) format. This format is the best for fishery because fish are kept out of the water for minimal amount of time which ensures the fish are returned to the fishery healthy. This ensures our local fisheries will continue to thrive in the years to come.  
Fishing Seminar
Popular Boat Launch Sites / Upper St. Croix River
Interactive Maps  for the Upper St. Croix River published by the National Park Service
Lions' Park  St. Croix Falls, WI
Minnesota Interstate State Park  Taylors Falls, WI
Popular Boat Launch Sites / Lower St. Croix River
Public Access - Lower St. Croix River - published by the Minnesota DNR
William O'Brien State Park  (Marine on St. Croix, MN) - A park sticker is required
Boom Site (just north of Stillwater) - DNR public access located two miles north of downtown Stillwater. This is no fee at this access, but parking is limited.
Beanie's at Maui's Landing (Lakeland, MN) - Wide launch, but limited room for maneuvering. Minnows, crawlers, and basic gear sold in store. Launch fee is $10 weekdays, $15 on weekends.
Windmill Marina (Afton, MN) - Wide launch with ample room for maneuvering. Minnows and crawlers sold at gas dock. Launch fee is $16 weekdays, $23 on weekends.
St. Croix River Bluffs Regional Park  (Afton, MN) - A park sticker is required.
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