Spring Fishing at Clements Fishing Barge
Author: gary.engberg | Date: 4.3.2017
If you’re looking for a fishing spot this spring where you don’t have to worry about bringing a boat or trying to find fish in an unfamiliar location, then the Clement Fishing Barge on the Mississippi River is the place for you, your family, and friends. I also highly recommend fishing Clements if you’re a senior citizen, a family with children or someone who just wants to fish because it’s simple, convenient, and provides very good spring and fall fishing for many different river species of fish. There are 134 aquatic species that are all within the 240,000 acre Upper Mississippi River Refuge where the fishing barge is located.
For those who are not familiar with Clements, I’ll give you a little background information. The “Barge” has been in operation since the fall of 1936 on the Mississippi River. They are located just below Lock and Dam # 8 on the Mississippi River near Genoa, Wisconsin. This is the largest fishing float on the river and is situated in a prime fishing spot for all river fish.
Spring walleye and sauger fishing is usually very good and sometimes exceptional. The variety of fish species is hard to match anywhere in the Midwest. Walleye, sauger, northern pike, white bass, small and largemouth bass, panfish, sturgeon, and catfish are all caught regularly from the float in good numbers and size. Now, the water is stable and the walleye, sauger, and perch are biting and as things warm up fishing should continue to improve. Clements rents rods and reels for those who don’t have any or are unable to bring their own equipment
The perch fishing has been fantastic and will continue to provide jumbo perch for a couple more weeks and then the walleye and sauger fishing picks up through April and May. The northern pike bite has been very good too with over 100 pike caught most days. The northern are in the Barge area because of the large number of perch in the river.
Clements will pick you up on the Wisconsin side of the river, just below the Lock, in a Coast Guard inspected boat that holds 20 anglers. After crossing over to the Minnesota side of the river, you have your choice of fishing off 12 separate floating piers. There are fishing guides on hand to help you with your fishing and any other problems that may arise. There are benches, chairs, restrooms, landing nets, shelters, and a lunch room with food and any tackle that you may need. The daily fee for fishing is $18.00 for adults and for children ages 12 to 6 years the fee is only $5.00 with kids under 6 free. There also is a three day pass for $50.00, a seven day punch card for $115.00, a year pass for $393.00, and $550.00 for a couple.
There is a flag pole on shore where you raise the flag to get picked up to take you to the Barge which is on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River. Pickups are on the half hour in the morning and on the hour in the afternoon. You may use either a Wisconsin or Minnesota fishing license. Anglers are allowed to use two rods for fishing.
The barge has been closed all winter and reopened in March. Pick up your live bait at Captain Hook’s Bait and Tackle in Genoa because bait is the only thing that isn’t available on the barge. Clements also has an online tackle store that carries all the jigs and fishing tackle that you may need if you want to buy some items before you go fishing. They have excellent jigs that are made locally and work well in the river’s flowing waters. See what the locals are using and buy accordingly because certain jig types work better and the guides at Clements will gladly show you the best tackle to use on the Mississippi River.
Most of the spring fishing off the floats is live bait fishing using jigs, rigs, and blade baits (Zips and Sonars). The kind of jigs to use are varied, hair jigs are very popular as are “cutter jigs” that are flatter and cut the water’s current better allowing you to use a lighter jig to reach bottom. Colors can change regularly, but have an assortment of different colors and sizes. I try to have jigs ranging from ¼ ounce to 5/16 ounce for normal water and current flow.
Walleyes and saugers are the most commonly caught fish in the spring and the most sought after. But, there also is good northern pike, sturgeon, catfish, and panfish bite as the water warms later in the spring. A good medium or medium action light rod and reel spooled with 8 to 10 pound Berkley Trilene is good for most fish that you’ll catch. But, if you’re after pike, sturgeon, or catfish you might want to beef up your gear.
The Barge opens at 7:00 A.M. and closes at 6:00 P.M. from Tuesday thru Saturday and from 7:00 A.M. till 5:00 P.M. Sunday and Monday. The fall season lasts until Sunday, November 12th weather permitting. Early in the season or for any information and fishing reports check the webpage (www.clementsfishing.com and Clements@mwt.net ) or call (608)-689-2800. It’s wise to call for weather reports, river flow, and what’s been biting. Their websites can answer most questions that you may have about this Mississippi River institution. Fresh fishing reports can be found regularly on their Facebook page.
Clements Fishing Barge is centrally located and the town of Genoa and the surrounding communities have anything that the angler and his family could possibly need or want. Here is the mileage from some Midwestern cities to Clements and the Mississippi River.
- Chicago, Illinois 270 miles, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 174 miles, Minneapolis, Mn. 160 miles, and Des Moines, Iowa 250 miles.
This is a great place for your spring fishing with the opportunity to catch some quality fish. The fishing is good for many species, there are guides to help you, and everything that you want is centrally located. It’s an excellent place to take the family or get together with your fishing buddies for a day or two on the great Mississippi River. They even have some cabins to rent which fill up fast; they are even remodeled and even have new T.V. sets. Give Clements a try this spring and you’ll be satisfied! Besides the quality fishing there is plenty to do in the immediate area for the whole family. I highly recommend Clements Fishing Barge for a wonderful spring outing for the entire family and friends or a group of guys that want to fish without the hassles and catch fish!
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