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Mississippi River


Pool 2 is that portion of the Mississippi River above the dam at Hastings and extends upstream to the Ford Dam. Backwaters lakes included are Baldwin Lake, River Lake, Spring Lake, Mooers Lake, and Grey Cloud Slough. Pig’s Eye Lake has a separate DNR identification number, but is also considered part of Pool 2 for fish management purposes.

Species Present:

Walleye: above normal abundance, above average size including some trophy fish.
Sauger: above normal abundance, above average size including some trophy fish.
Smallmouth Bass: average abundance, a variety of sizes.
Largemouth Bass: below average abundance, average size.
White Bass: average abundance, average size.
Bluegill: lower than average abundance, average size.
Crappie: lower than average abundance, average size with some larger individuals present.
Northern Pike: lower than average abundance, average size but larger fish present in some areas.
Catfish: above average abundance, all sizes present including some real whoppers.

Boat Access:

  • Hidden Falls Park (North) A city owned site accessed from East River Road south of Ford Parkway.
  • Watergate Marina: This is a city owned facility operated by a contracted vendor. There is a fee to launch at this site.
  • Fort Snelling State Park: This facility is actually on the Minnesota River just upstream of the confluence with the Mississippi. Entrance to the park is off Post Road off Highway 5.
  • Lilydale Regional Park: This access is on the south shore of the river between I-35E and Harriet Island Park. Turn off Olson Memorial Highway onto Lilydale Road just east of I-35. You may also reach this site by traveling west of Harriet Island Park on Water Street.
  • Harriet Island Park: This facility is currently being re-developed. No access is available at this time.
  • South St. Paul access: This ramp is located just south of the I-494 bridge on the west shore of the river. Exit I-494 at Concord Street and follow the signs to Hardman Ave. Turn east off Hardman onto the first road north of I-494 (Villaume Ave). Follow Villaume Ave. under the I-494 bridge to the access.
  • Twin City Marina; River Heights Marina: These are private facilities adjacent to each other in Inver Grove Heights. Both have ramps and charge a fee for launching. These facilities can be reached by turning north off 66th Street east of Concord Blvd.
  • Lions Park (St. Paul Park): Exit off Highway 61 at the St. Paul Park exit. Turn right on Park Road, then right again on Broadway. Follow Broadway to 3rd Street and turn left. Travel two blocks to 7th Ave. and go to the end of the road.
  • Willies Hidden Harbor: A private facility just south of Lions Park. Continue south on 3rd Street to 9th Ave., turn right and go to the end of the road. There is a fee to use this facility.
  • River Lake Marina: This is a private facility which charges a fee to launch. Turn east off Inver Grove Trail on 102nd Street (marked Private Road). The facility is located at the end of the road.
  • Spring Lake Access: This is DNR facility which is not suitable for larger boats. Turn north off County Road 42 on Hillary Path (a road not maintained for public use). Follow Hillary Path to the access.

Shore Fishing:

  • Minnehaha Park A city of Minneapolis facility just south of the Ford Dam. Good fishing at the mouth of Minnehaha Creek. It takes a considerable walk to reach the creek mouth. Anglers may park at the pay lot across from the Waban Picnic Area, then walk down the path to the river. The creek mouth can also be reached from the Lower Glen area off Minnehaha Ave north of 54th Street. Anglers must walk down several flights of steps to reach the creek, then follow the creek downstream to reach the river.
  • Hidden Falls Park (North): There is considerable shoreline available for shore anglers. Ambitious anglers may walk upstream to nearly the Ford Dam. There is considerable current at some locations.
  • Hidden Falls Park (South): Access to this area is off East River Road just north of Fort Road. Anglers often fish under and on both sides of the Fort Road bridge. This area is directly across the river from Fort Snelling.
  • Fort Snelling State Park:Another popular spot is directly below the historic fort. Anglers park in the lot for the historic site, then walk down the bike path to reach the river. Anglers may also enter the park (off Post Road and Highway 5). Park at the visitor center lot and walk the trail to the river.
  • Watergate Marina: Anglers park in the lot adjacent to the marina store (no fee), and walk down the bike path to a backwater area just upstream of the marina complex. Anglers also fish in the river adjacent to the marina complex. You can reach the marina by turning off Shepard Road just west of Davern Ave.
  • Crosby Farm Park Continue past Watergate Marina to the parking area at the end of the road. Anglers must hike some distance down trails to reach the river. There is another entrance to this area just south of the intersection of Shepard Road and Elway St.
  • Lilydale Park There is considerable shoreline in this park, but fishing from shore is limited by available parking, overhanging trees, and debris in the river. This park is located along Lilydale Road between I-35E and the Harriet Island park on the west side of St. Paul.
  • Harriet Island Park This park is located across the Wabasha Bridge from downtown St. Paul. It contains a city pier and additional public shoreline.
  • Lower Landing This area is located along Warner Road between downtown St. Paul and Child?’s Road. Park in the lower landing parking area at Warner Road and Sibley Street and walk the paved path. Fishing in this area is limited by barges parked along the shore in many areas.
  • South St. Paul Access There is an area adjacent to the boat ramp for anglers to fish from shore. See the boat access section for directions to this site.
  • Lions Park (St. Paul Park) There is a footbridge from the boat launching lot to an island with picnic tables and public shoreline where anglers may fish from shore.
  • River Road (Inver Grove) There is city owned shoreline with limited development along River Road south of 77th street where angler may fish. This can be a good area as the main channel comes close to shore at this site.
  • Grey Cloud Island This is a very popular site with several areas to fish. Anglers fish on both sides of Grey Cloud Island Drive at the outlet to Mooers Lake. The downstream side of the road is quite deep. Anglers also fish on both sides of the Grey Cloud Trail bridge over Grey Cloud Slough.
  • Spring Lake AccessFishing is limited at this site by shoreline debris and shallow water.

Special Regulation:

Pool 2 is open to year around fishing. Fishing for walleye, sauger, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass is restricted to catch and release only. All walleye, sauger, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass must be returned to the water immediately.

Management Plans:

  1. Collect samples to test for the presence or absence of V.H.S. virus.
  2. Conduct special assessments if staff are available.
  3. Continue to monitor tagged catfish

Exotic Species Alert:

Pool 2 contains Eurasian water milfoil and zebra mussels. Remove all visible plant material from your boat, boat trailer, and other boating gear before leaving the river. In addition, drain water from the motor, livewell, bilge and transom wells at the ramp or access before leaving the river.


The Mississippi River is an incredible resource. Pool 2 contains the best population of quality walleye and sauger in the area. The most popular time to fish walleye and sauger is in the fall and winter, when fish are concentrated in the area between the St. Paul airport and the I-694 bridge.
Catfish are abundant (both flathead catfish and channel catfish), with trophy specimens of both species present.
Smallmouth bass are present in good numbers, but are lightly fished. Largemouth bass are limited to backwater areas like Mooers Lake, the Grey Cloud Channel and Grey Cloud Slough.
Fishing Pool 2 can be limited by high levels of recreational boating and by barge traffic in some places at certain times of the year. Boaters should be alert. Many areas outside the marked channel are shallow and contain many obstacles.

Note: All data collected from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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