Any avid fisherman or woman will tell you that river fishing is a different kind of sport. Many anglers consider river fishing to be relaxing and something that doesn’t always require a lot of gear. You can fish right from the shoreline or riverbank just as easily as out on a boat. With that in mind, here are some river fishing tips for all the anglers out there:

Assess the Water:

The big difference between river fishing and other types is that you have to think strategically because there’s a current involved. Often, in swift flowing rivers, like the Mississippi, fish will seek refuge in the calmer backwaters. Fast flowing rivers can create eddies that occur in the space downstream from or behind large exposed rocks or debris. An eddy is a term that describes the swirling and reverse currents that form from an obstruction in the flow of water. Insects and other bait-like things can get caught in the eddies which is why you’ll often find these spots to be great for fishing.

Use Your Bait:

Try bouncing live bait off the bottom of the river to lure fish. Be sure to bounce the bait with the current as opposed to against it. Make sure you research the right lures for river fishing. Rivers can be murky, calm, rough, rocky, fast, or a combination of any of those things. That said, different areas may require different lures.

Know the Lay of the Land:

As previously mentioned, some patches of the river will be extra weedy, some will have islands you can fish from. Chances are, if you come across an overly weedy part of the river, you’ve probably stumbled into some prime fishing. With the current and flow of the water, many fish like to make the weeds their home. Some of the island areas of the river can have some great fishing as well. Just be careful if you wade out there—drop offs can come on suddenly! If you get a good feel of the lay of the land you can determine the depth, shape, and movement of the water. You’ll have an easier time finding where the fish are hiding!

If you’re looking for a seasonal community on the river, check out Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi.  They have one of the best fishing spots around!

One of the best things about spring is the return of the migratory birds. It’s probably one of the first tell-tale signs that the weather is warming—the sounds that begin to wake us up as spring arrives. The sounds of birds chirping are both a welcome sound and sometimes rather annoying. After all, what do birds have to be so excited about at 6am? Either way, one joy of living on the Mississippi River is birdwatching.

The Mississippi Flyway is the migration route followed by 40% of all waterfowl and shorebirds in North America. Vast wildlife refuges, state forests, federal forests and parks protect the habitat and food sources these birds depend on. Bald Eagles, Warblers, and Hawks are just a few of the birds you can expect to see on the Upper Mississippi. Seeing as Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” you can expect to see quite a few different bird habitats.

Not unlike the snowbirds we often discuss, actual migratory birds are common in Minnesota for many of the same reasons many of us head south for the winter. The crazy Minnesota temperature and weather swings tend to be just as irritating to the bird population as it is to the Minnesota residents. There are many different birdwatching hotspots throughout Minnesota and to find more information about that click here. That said, there are plenty of opportunities to birdwatch right from you windows as the snowbirds, feathered and otherwise, begin to return home.