A man waist deep in water holding a silver fish and his fishing rod

The refuge is an angler's paradise! Anglers fish year round for walleye, sauger, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bullhead, channel catfish, crappie and sunfish below the dams, in sloughs and channels between islands. In the winter months, the river becomes its own village as ice shanties and tents cover the frozen water. 

Fishing is allowed in accordance to state fishing regulations and federal Public Use regulations. All anglers must have paper copies of their state fishing licenses with them while fishing on the refuge. 

The refuge maintains more than 20 fee-free boat landings along its stretch and an additional 220+ non-Refuge owned boat landings offer public access to the Mississippi River. Fishing by boat offers the greatest flexibility for anglers but there are some shoreline fishing opportunities available in each refuge District. Contact the District closest to where you'd like to visit for recommendations on the best shoreline fishing locations. 

Laws, rules, and regulations