Flathead catfish most northernly range st.croix revisited

Discussion in 'MINNESOTA RIVERS TALK' started by Goldenshinner, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Goldenshinner

    Goldenshinner New Member

    amazing info i would like to share with the board. just confirmed by a local enthusiast flatheads have been again caught recently above taylors falls dam on the st.croix river. this would extend the range another few hundred miles upstream. unfortunatly they are extreamly rare in this streach for some reason. i have afew freinds that live and fish the uper croix hard for everything imaginable, and to our knoledge the flaties had dissapeared compleatly as a result of the dam. for those unfamilar with the upper croix, it is fairly clear water and most of it averages less than 1ft probably less than 6inches. deeper spots run 2-4ft and you can see the bottom just about everywere you would fish. best run in a canoe. this guy has caught afew accedentaly targeting channels with live suckers! none were over 5lbs. but definitely flatties. this would push the range well up into northern minnesota and north-western wisconsin.!!!! i imagine that they(flaties) dont do well in this streach as their young are eaten by the extreamly high population of smallmouth bass that dominate this clear water streach.
     
  2. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    State:
    Minnesota
    This guy you talk of must fish way north on the river for it to be that shallow.
    Water levels don't get to 6 inches untill you are north of the sunrise area way north. Yeah there are shallow flats that can pop up in spots though most of it south of Nevers dam and south is pretty deep, with holes near the dam (Taylors falls) near 50 feet. Yes it is canoe waters for most unless you own a River Pro.:big_smile:
    I have been fishing north of the Taylors falls dam for years and have yet to see or hear of a flat head being caught. I guess I will believe it when I see it.
    You are right about the small mouths polluting the waters up there though.
     

  3. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    State:
    Minnesota
    Stephen, I believe now.
    Funny thing, the wife and I decide to go out last night to one of my favorite channel spots. At the boat landing this old timer asks me if I ever caught any flat heads and I say no, though I told him I heard talk of them being in there. He tells me he caught about a 3 pounder the day before, not far from the landing. I'm amazed by his story.
    Well the wife and I proceed to our spot which is right in the middle of a long straight portion of the river. The wind was blowing straight up the channel causing some nice sized waves. Those conditions were making fishing difficult, though we got some nice hits there were no hook ups. So we decided to go to this other spot I keep on the gps that has been known to produce. We get there and the water is more calm though still moving the boat. We get our lines in and a few minutes later I boat a small channel about 2 pounds.
    Weeds flowing down stream were a problem clogging up our lines so I tell my wife she better check her line. She reels in her line and at first we think she has a big wad of weeds on the end I turn on my light to give her a hand and sure enough there was this flat head about 6 inches long on there. And that was the first and only flat head I have ever seen on that portion of the river.
    So I appologize for not believing your story. And yes there are flat heads on the upper St. Croix.
    In a few years if all goes well and the dam don't break. The upper St.Croix could turn into one heck of an all around trophy catfish river.:big_smile:
     
  4. hanson

    hanson New Member

    Messages:
    94
    State:
    Plymouth, MN
    Hmmm...

    Flathead shaped catfish about 6" long...

    Could have been a Stonecat or Madtom.

    I tell you what, these little buggers look exactly like baby flathead catfish, right down to the shape of the tail. They are pretty prolific as well. I would be more than willing to bet thats what you caught.
     
  5. Goldenshinner

    Goldenshinner New Member



    Great Great First hand Report. any chance you could post a pic??? Banjo mad toms are definitely in that portion of the river but they dont quite get that big to the best of my knowledge. plus the guy i know that lives up there was catching 5lb class flaties. as to there getting to be an established flathead fishery. i dont think it would happen. both the upper croix, and the upper missisippi lack some esential requirement that this species requires. in both streches they are extreamly rare since the dams were added. i am confident that if the dams were not in place they would naturaly swim and be present in fair numbers. my theory is that the young are not able to survive in the clear waters present in these streaches.
     
  6. Goldenshinner

    Goldenshinner New Member

    oh interestingly on some of the metro lakes mid sized flatties are occasionaly caught. madtoms were allowed as bait up to last year if memory is right. they are a fantastic bait for walleye and bass. they are instantly smashed. and a magical tournament grade bait if you can find someone to sell them. but because they are identical(nearly) to flatties some flatties get occasionaly sold mixed in. thus when the alleged madtom rips off the hook into lake minnetonka, we get a 10lb flattie being caught in an isolated inland lake that has no natural population or reproduction of flathead.
     
  7. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    State:
    Minnesota
    I can't post a picture as it had sliped my mind at the time, though I had looked it over real well. It was all green, no varigation in color what so ever. tail fin was perfectly flat, not rounded or forked. It's mouth was wide, very wide for a fish of that size. Eyes more on the top of head than sides. It Looked exactly like a minni flat head to me.
    As Far as the water being clear up there, well if you call 1-1and1/2 feet of clarity on a good sunny day clear than I guess it is.
    If I catch another I will definately take a pic, I always have my phone with me.
     
  8. Larry

    Larry New Member

    Messages:
    707
    State:
    Minnesota
    [QUOTEin. thus when the alleged madtom rips off the hook into lake minnetonka, we get a 10lb flattie being caught in an isolated inland lake that has no natural population or reproduction of flathead.[/QUOTE]

    I have a first hand picture of a confirmed catch of a 20+ Flat pulled out of lake Minnetonka. I was calling BS at first till I spoke with the guy who caught it. Tell me that wouldn't make you tourqed hooking into something that size on Minnetonka!!! :big_smile:
    Thanks
    Larry
     
  9. ePug

    ePug New Member

    Messages:
    4
    State:
    Minnesota
    I've been fooled by stonecats before. I thought they were baby flatheads too. I have never handled a flathead as small as these buggers, but I know stonecats have extremely sharp spines that hurt pretty bad when they poke you. I believe the have poison/toxins in their stinger. The stonecats I caught were pretty transucent too. The other thing I found odd about them is their skin seemed to dry pretty quick when I took the out of the water. They'd go from smooth and slippery to dry and easy to grip real quick.

    I'd have to see a flathead from above TFs to believe it. I don't doubt that they could be there in small numbers. And if small ones are getting caught, there must be some breeding going on. There is no lock on TF, correct?
     
  10. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    State:
    Minnesota
    ePug,

    Welcome to the BOC, good to see more Minnesotans join.
    Taylors Falls has no lock or fish ladder. So what is up there is up there.
     
  11. Ketch

    Ketch New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Minnesota
    I agree with Dave, its nice to see some new minnesotans here. Welcome aboard ePug
     
  12. Goldenshinner

    Goldenshinner New Member

    I have a first hand picture of a confirmed catch of a 20+ Flat pulled out of lake Minnetonka. I was calling BS at first till I spoke with the guy who caught it. Tell me that wouldn't make you tourqed hooking into something that size on Minnetonka!!! :big_smile:
    Thanks
    Larry[/quote]

    ive known of afew others from lake minnetonka. these are possibly lost by bassfishermen fishing with what they thought was madtoms. the babbies look similar, and that was one of the reasons argued by the DNR for temporarily banning madtom bait.

    lake phalen onthe east side has also had a few flaties in the 10+range and one that would have probably gone well over 30lbs