The Miss was a mess back in the 50's and early 60's. Laws regarding sewage discharge and requiring treatment plants to install scubbers to remove phosphates and nitogen from treated water before it gets put back in the system have done wonders but as always more needs to be done. Siltation is a major attack on the river and on pool 5 its a non-stop battle to keep the channel navigatable. The fishing though has done everything positive. We've never seen as many large walleyes or the number of walleyes as what we see today. Sauger numbers have shot upward too. Both have enjoyed stellar spring spawning conditions year after year, but the c/r and selective harvest philosophies have also played a huge part in up-swing in these fish.
With the river and backwaters being an ever-changing entity, the panfish and crappies have evolved into some unreal fish. Smaller members of these parties find life in those backwaters just dandy, but as they get larger they become more current oriented. Wingdams, rock closing dams and channel edge wood offer some mind boggling fishing. Both of the pools mentioned sport crappies up to 16 and 17 inches and catching those brutes is becoming more and more common. A person can fill a pail with 11 to 13 inch fish fairly easy. Even in the dead of winter a person can track down these big guys while on the ice or in a boat by focussing on current seams and deep water breaks. The pockets of quiet water found on the down-stream, shore end of wing dams can be packed with crappies. During the heat of summer huge sunfish find idling away their time on the tops of and in the up-stream swell of water found at wingdams. In spite of the increase seen in recent years in panfish and crappies on the big river, they are not even remotely over fished as long as anglers respect the resource. Honestly, way too many anglers are hung up on backwaters and moan when the best times of the season hand them only small fish. The big pannies call for more aggressive water and a much larger thinking cap be worn when searching for them. Another irony is that small fish seem to be stuck on real food while the big boys and girls certainly have no hang-ups about chewing on plastics and some of the more notable scented products, like the 1"-3" Gulp and Power Bait minnows.
Backwaters are in a constant state of change and offer some of the most unruly bass ever bred. Ask Andrew, he fishes bass....I get them accidently. Along with the bass, or should I say hand-in-hand with the bass, come the northerns. Since the pike enjoy both the backewaters and the current, they tend to be well-exercised, well-fed denizens who can have some respectable pounds per inch of length stats found anywhere. A 32" backwater pike might require a back-hoe and steel cable to land.
Andrew sits right on the river further downstream on pool 5a and pool 6. Nonetheless, I am envious of his location. I have to drive 45 miles to see the river [38 miles if I head to Lake City on Lake Pepin on pool 4], but the drive is worth it. And if the fish don't want to come out and play, I always have the hundreds of eagles to enjoy watching. Can't beat the Big River, I don't care where you are.