A typical night on the river means different things to different people. For some it is a chance to get out and spend some time with friends, for others it means enjoying the sights and sounds, and others a chance to do battle with a world class Flathead Catfish. For myself, its a combination of the three. A typical night of fishing for me consists of several steps, the first is securing plans on launch location and who I will be fishing with. Launch location depends a lot on the current water levels and the confidence I feel about particular spots. One of the biggest myths about river fishing is that one particular stretch is better than the other. While that may hold true during certain circumstances, you can take any 10 mile stretch from Mankato to Minneapolis, and find things about that stretch that make it better than any other spot. The fish are there, I guarantee it. Once a launch location is decided on, the next step is to take that stretch and pick a few key areas that should (based on prior experiences) hold some fish. If Im in a new area, the first 4 things Im looking for are: 1. Creek Inlets 2. Sharp Bends, or a series of sharp bends 3. Large old logjams or snags 4. Rocky or Rapids type area If I can only have one, I would pick number 3. Theres a good chance that snag is going to hold at least a couple of fish throughout the year, which cant be said for the others. However there are times when a Creek or Bend will outproduce a snag 2 to 1. After finding one of those four, I will look to see if there is deep water available in the general vicinity. If I find a creek inlet, but the water is only 3-5 ft deep in the area, I wont even bother with it. Does this mean there are no fish there? No way, but your odds are lowered significantly with the shallow water. I would much rather see anywhere from 8-15 ft and maybe even a deeper hole nearby. Once a few of these key areas are located, the next thing is to get a good boat position. This will obviously change from boat to boat, but generally you want the bow of the boat facing the current, with one anchor to hold you in place off the bow, and another off the side or back to keep you from swaying. Now that the boat is positioned, I will survey the area to see how current is reacting to the area we are fishing. I look for seams, eddys, or breaks that alter the normal flow of current. This will be the area that will collect the food that Mr. Whiskers is looking for. In my opinion, bait placement could be the most important factor in being a successful fisherman. Put the bait in the wrong place, and not only will you get fewer bites, you might not get bit at all. With a couple of areas picked out for bait placement, its only a matter of making sure you have a lively bait, sharp hook, strong line, and the all important.... patience. Speaking of patience, one question we are always asking ourselves is, how long do we stay and wait for a bite? Boy that is a tricky one that really has no right or wrong answer. It basically comes down to gut feeling and perhaps prior experiences in that spot. I find it much easier to sit for several hours in a spot that I know has produced a big fish in the past. Those areas that I dont give much time could very well hold several huge fish, but until I catch one of those I find myself reverting to old favorites. This doesnt mean I wont come back and try it again though. Some of the best spots Ive fished havent produced until sitting there 5 or 6 times. I cant stress it enough, KEEP TRYING NEW SPOTS. How many fish do I expect to catch on a typical night? Honestly, I dont. That tends to make things much easier. Low expectations means less disappointment. Do I get discouraged when I get skunked? Of course I do, but I also see it as a learning experience. Chalk it up and move on I say. I think if you are getting 1-5 Flatheads in a night, youve done well. Anything over 5 is great. Then you have one of those nights that cant be described, the fish just keep biting and keep getting bigger. When you have one of those nights, cherish it, because they are few and far between. Generally on a weeknight I will fish until about 11 or 12, and extend that by a couple of hours on the weekend. Nothing can help your success more than time on the water, plain and simple. Thats my typical night on the river and now throw in high/low water levels, logjams, sandbars and a few fireworks and you have a fun filled Catfish season. I truly wish for everyone to pose for a picture with their personal best they caught this year ..Good Luck! Now let's hear about your typical night.