Hennepin Canal Report – May 31

I took a day off work last Friday to continue my quest to hit a double-digit Top 5 on each stretch of The Canal from Colona to Sheffield. The area I chose sat at a Top 5 Weight of 9-14, so all I needed was a catch to give me a two-ounce boost. While I did not get that bite, I did catch a fair amount of bass along with a first for a bonus species. Read on for the results.

10:59am – Top Bass at 1-5 (14″) on a Senko

Date: May 31
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 7:00am-11:30am
Totals: 10 bass, 1 bowfin
Weather: Sunny/breezy, 57-75F
Lures: 5” Yamamoto Senko (pumpkin black flake) – 6 bass, 3.75” Strike King Rage Tail Swimmer (pro blue/red pearl) with 3/8 oz. belly hook – 3 bass, Booyah Buzz Buzzbait (snow white shad) – 1 bass, 5” Yamamoto Senko (blue pearl/silver flake) – 1 bowfin,
Top Bass: 1-5 (Senko)
Top 4 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 4-1 (1-5,1-2,0-13,0-13)

Winning Lures

Notes and Nonsense

Senko Success – The Senko wacky rig is arguably my best presentation of all-time, but my use is limited on The Canal as I tend to rely on other lures. The shallow waters of The Canal let me get by with a collection of power presentations and the clarity of much of the water isn’t top notch for the wacky rig. However, it can still get the job done as it saved the day on this outing with half a dozen bass in the last hour and a half on the water.

7:33am- First ever bowfin at 3-13 (23″) on a Senko

Bonus Bowfin – As noted above, the Senko wacky rig was a winner. And not only on bass as it also landed my first ever bowfin. I have wanted to add this species to my list for many years but had come up empty on my two previous hookups. My first encounter was a dozen years ago at the Emiquon Preserve when one threw my spinnerbait at boatside. Just last year, I lost a second one within reach on The Canal when it broke my line after hooking up on a Senko. Luck was on my side on this outing and that’s what it boils down to as the catch was an “accident” while bass fishing.

Species List – The Canal is a wild waterway as there are stretches that harbor a crazy collection of species. On this outing, I landed only two different species (largemouth bass and bowfin) but had a third hooked (green sunfish). However, I also observed several other species over the course of the morning consisting of bluegill, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, common carp, shad, an additional bowfin, and a large freshwater drum. Earlier this week, I saw a social media post with an angler landing a white bass/striper, and two years ago, I landed a sauger. Farther to the east, I have also seen posts of paddlefish and buffalo. Of course, there are also crappie, flathead catfish, and I suspect a couple other panfish species along the way. Suffice to say, The Canal is a unique manmade fishing hole, and I am happy that I chose to start exploring back in 2021.


While I was seeking a 1-11 to knock out a 1-9 and get me to a double-digit Top 5 on this stretch, the best bass I could muster was a 1-5. No help to my quest but adding more bass to my yearly total and a bonus bowfin all made for a successful trip (and better than working, right?). So, at some point I will be back. June starts as a busy month on the family side of things so fishing will take its rightful place a ways down the priority list. But stay tuned as the Top 5 quest will continue along with a few other ideas over the summer. Talk to you later. Troy

2 thoughts on “Hennepin Canal Report – May 31

  1. That bowfin is unbelievable… what a cool fish! I saw a GAR in the canal last week, if you can believe it. Pretty good size, just sitting on the edge of an open area looking out into the main channel. Swam off when I got close. This place is very interesting indeed…

    1. Thanks. That bowfin was indeed pretty cool. I have seen posts of those caught during the spawn and the males have a brilliant green coloration on the fins on their underside and belly. Cool observation on the gar. I had one strike at a spinnerbait on the western section (Milan) last year and have seen them near Colona (Rock River termination) but that is a close as I have been to getting one in the boat. Yes, The Canal is quite an interesting place in terms of fish population and other characteristics.

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