The window for ideal fall fishing seemed to open and close more quickly than usual this year. High temperatures across much of the ice belt have been below freezing for about a week now. Some overnight lows have approached zero degrees. Skim ice has formed on ponds and the shallow bays of some lakes. This has some people champing at the bit to get out on hard water and drill their first holes of the year. Read more
The fall walleye bite is on! I’ve caught walleyes every time I’ve been out in the past couple of days and looking at the forecast for the rest of the week, it seems the bite should persist a little longer. I’ve had mostly small fish, but I heard that someone brought in a 10.5lb walleye to Fargo Bait and Tackle to be weight for the ND G&F whopper club.
Fish are hitting shallow, just a couple feet from the bank. The bite has been hot before sunrise through about the first hour of daylight. The evening bite seems to start around 5-5:30pm. Read more
Temperatures dropped fast Friday with the warmest part of the day being before the sun up as we got on the lake. We found a few smaller fish near the bottom in 30-35 FOW. Around noon we moved to a smaller lake and set up on the deepest part of the lake (around 20 FOW). The bite came in waves, but when the fish came on our flashers, they were very active. Perch and sunfish were hitting on small jigs tipped with wax worms. Pike and walleyes were hitting crappie minnows on plain hooks about 6-12″ off the bottom. Read more
Over 80 different species have been identified in surveys of the Red River of the North. I have caught 18 of them as of October 2017. While I don’t expect that I will ever catch all 86 species, I would like to add one or two to the list each season.
The water temperature almost reached 60℉ this weekend while the river level maintained a very low level around 14.5′. However, a cold front starting Sunday has dropped the water temperature about five degrees since writing this. Cooler weather this week and potential for rain this weekend should shake things up a bit.
This unusual spring with it’s low water and high water clarity has left many anglers stumped when it comes to finding fish. Position your bait upstream of the deepest holes you can find, and be ready to move if you don’t get any hits. There will be 3-5 fish in a spot, and then they’re gone.
There hasn’t been any impressive size to any of the catfish we’ve caught yet (mostly 1-3lbs), but plenty of them to make for a really good time bending rods.
It certainly won’t be long until the ice is off the river. Highs in the 50s and 60s for the past few days and forecasted for the rest of the week have me hopeful for an early open water season. Last year it was April before I had cast my first line of the year.
LAST UPDATE: 03-12-15
While there’s still a thick sheet of ice over all the bodies of water in the upper Midwest, spring is just around the corner! Next Sunday is the last day of walleye season in Minnesota which won’t reopen until May 9th. If you’re getting the open water itch I estimate that in seven or eight weeks (early April), the first fishable open water on the Red River will open up by the dams and warm water runoffs. Walleye fishing in the spring is as unpredictable as the river itself. Rising water levels with runoff from the snow melt mixed with weather that doesn’t seem to want to make up its mind can make catching ‘eyes a bit of a challenge.
I will warn you, you will lose a lot of jigs fishing by the dams and other places walleyes typically congregate. My suggestion is to buy the cheapest generic jigs available. I almost always start with 1/4oz and go down in size from there. Bigger jigs cast farther and let you cover more water if you’re fishing from shore. The advantage of downsizing to a 1/8oz jig however is that it naturally drifts with the current and will appear more natural to the fish. Read more
The Red River of the North is the boundary water between North Dakota and Minnesota. It contains some of the finest gamefish in the midwest, yet is often overlooked by anglers. During open water season, I spend roughly 80% of my fishing time on the Red River near Fargo. Living so close to such a diverse fishery has allowed me to try out a ton of different techniques to catch everything from walleye and pike in the spring and fall to huge carp, catfish, and freshwater drum during the summer. Variety is the spice of life, and it is very available in the Red River! Though you can catch almost any species of fish in the river on a simple slip bobber set up (and I have), having experience in a variety of techniques is a great way to challenge yourself and will help you excel as an angler on the Red. The great thing about this incredible fishery is that the equipment required is inexpensive and you have a legitimate chance at catching the fish of a lifetime.
Slip bobbers are really my bread and butter on the river. Much of the bottom of the river is covered in downed trees, boulders, and other debris that is easy to snag your line on. Using a bobber, I can keep my bait up off the bottom and above anything I might snag on. Using a slip bobber allows you to adjust the depth with the bobber stop which is very useful as the river level rises and falls significantly in response to rainy or dry weather. If you’re fishing from shore, look for slower moving water to cast your bobber into and try a variety of depths. Goldeye will hit baits on the bottom or just inches below the surface. You’ll be surprised at the variety of depths that you will find fish in the Red River. A good starting point is to start fishing right above the bottom and move up gradually until you fish, or vice versa. Read more