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The Cannon River

September 9, 2013

Saturday August 31, 2013, was another hot summer day making it perfect for a float trip down the Cannon River. Flowing for 83.5 miles from Lake Tetonka to the Mississippi River, the Cannon River provides an abundance of fishing opportunities.  Noted for a healthy population of smallmouth bass, it also provides anglers with an chance to catch brown trout, walleye, catfish, sauger, white bass, and assorted rough fish, as it winds thru the east central communities of Faribault, Northfield, Cannon Falls, and Welch.  With such an abundance of water to fish I chose the stretch of water from Cannon Falls to the Miesville Park based on the ability to rent a kayak from Cannon Falls Canoe and Bike. Located just below the falls in Cannon Falls, Cannon Falls Canoe and Bike is a busy little place on the weekends so make sure to book ahead.  $25 gets you a no frills kayak and a shuttle back after an 8-mile float to the pick up point in Miesville.  Longer trips are possible, however eight miles was more than enough after the thirteen miles I lugged they day before.

Nowhere near as big as the Mississippi, the Cannon River was less daunting and I felt more at ease the moment my butt hit the kayak seat.  Unfortunately, that feeling would not last, as my butt soon grew tired of the kayaks hard plastic seat.  Fortunately, the fish were cooperative.  After paddling a little ways down stream and shooting a little rapids this feisty smallmouth bass nailed my jig and white twister in the fast water at the tail of a riffle.

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After a couple of fruitless casts with the jig and twister I made a couple of casts with a minnow patterned Rapala that was pounced on by this 10″ sauger – note the splotchy markings.

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These two fish provided the basic pattern of the day, smallmouth and sauger in the seams along the faster current.  Unlike yesterday, the smallmouth were not hitting a tiny torpedo along the rocky banks.  6 more smallmouth and the sauger pictured below were caught in the middle of the stream in the faster riffles.

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A bit further down stream I slipped the kayak into some calm water behind a small point that jutted into the river and received a solid thump on my jointed Rapala from this northern pike that towed me around a bit. I also managed one other northern pike that swam away with a crayfish patterned crankbait that it devoured from a similar stretch of water.

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All in all this was a pleasant trip.  The river was low and manageable with several frothy rapids that were easily navigated.  The fishing was good, although I again had to forgo many quality stretches of river as one could easily spend the day casting away.  I can see where this stream would be ideal for a fly rod…maybe next time.  The scenery, including a couple of eagles, was gorgeous.  Go early in the day though, as the river can become crowded with other kayaks/canoes and tubers floating down the river, especially on a hot, sunny day.

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– Hats

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