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Whats the plan man?

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I am curios as to what our winter ice anglers think about Red Lake and this winters fishing trips to the super sized pond. With the law book changing making it legal to eat walleye on the lake will more anglers travel up to the sleeper houses with cook stoves/ovens in them for baked walleye? Where as they wouldn't before?

I also see the March madness calming down each year, does the fact anglers can't keep a walleye in March keep them away from good crappie fishing? I never really understood that as I wait for March to get into some of the best ice fishing of the year yet the lake is empty other then a bunch of locals having the time of their life. Is it a meat thing or is rumors of no crappies keeping anglers away.

Just looking for some outside opinions on this.

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Jon, every year myself and an assorted group of low life dirtbags similar to me take our annual "Get away from the wife and drink a lot" ice fishing trip. We've gone to LOW a lot, Mille Lacs, Winnie, but this particular group has never done the sleeper house on Red. I've iced Red before, and love it, but just couldn't talk the guys into it. A few years ago when we couldn't keep a walleye on Red the fellers didn't want to go there. Last winter their excuse was they could only keep 2. No matter how much I told them about the great fishing, crappies, and Red Octobers they still wanted to go for more than just 2 walleyes.

This year it's different, for a couple of reasons. Reason #1 is that I'm the one who made the reservations so we'll see YOU the weekend of Jan 18-20!!!! grin.gif Reason #2 is that we can have a walleye dinner in the fish house and that's kind of tradition. So yeah, even though I don't consider myself a total meat guy, it's nice to be able to have a nice dinner on the ice. Bringing a couple fillets home to the Mrs so she knows we actually went fishing doesn't hurt, either.

In March I'm busy as a one legged guy in a butt kicking contest so my fishing is pretty much over. I realize that is the best time to be on the ice for slabs, but I just can't get off work. If I am able to get a day off work, URL is like 8 hours one way from my pad. That's a long haul for 1 day of fishing, ya know? So, if there is still ice around my place I'm pretty much stuck here. Who know, though. If I do get a few days off in March I'm definately calling you to see if yous guys have something open. I know last minute is a crap shoot but I know it's a shot worth taking. grin.gif

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Hey Jon being from cenral minnesota there is alot people that think the crappies are gone. Just becuz they may have slowed a little, but I guess if thats what they think since they were spoiled for the last couple of years. The way I look at it is that it just makes better fishing for us that still make the journey north.

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I can't wait to get up there again this year. We have a permanent on skids at Hudec's and we have 3 smaller fish houses that we fixed up and are all ready to go for the season. The only problem is we live about 5 hours away and its a long haul up there and back. We did manage to get up there 5 5 times last year and I hope to get up there at least that many times this year. We're also likely putting a permanent house on Mille Lacs this year so I can go a little more often without the long drive.

Can't wait to get up there and catch them monster slabs like last year and hopefully run into some walleyes in the process. grin.gif

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I like fishing Red early since the ice is usually pretty good early. I like Red late cause its fun to run n gun looking for crappies when nobody is fishing. I will admit though last year was tough for me looking for crappies. I found a couple and that was it. Also late is great for a combo weekend. Looking for Crappie on Red and spending a day on LOTW for some walleye since the season is later up there. I think that is also the reason the traffic slows on Red though cause more people will make the extra 45 minute drive and go there instead and just fish walleye.

The last few years I have been to Red at least three times a winter. This year may go down to 2 only because I switched jobs and no longer get a free week off between xmas and new years... But I am going to try for three.

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I hear from a lot of people that they didn't fare well on the crappies last year, but every time except 1 when we went up there we came home with a limit last year. And the time we didn't have our limit we still had 20 or so slabs between 3 guys.

I'm gettin the itch for more already

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Remind me to fish with you this year wink.gif

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I have been going to Red for a few years now, keeping my sleeper house there, but I don't think I'm gonna keep it there this year...the reason being the night bite has slowed, at least for me over the last couple of years. I spent a quite a few nights in my sleeper, with very little action after dark. (yes I did use my portable too) In about 15 trips I think one night was O.K., not good enough to get me too excited.

If it's mainly a day bite as it was for me last year, I might as well go to LOW. Fishing is usually just as good, sometimes better than Upper Red and I can keep more fish.

Who knows, if the fish decide to bite "good" after dark again this year, I might be back, but for now I don't know.

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I have been coming up to Red Lake 8-10 times since 1998. Before that time I fished the lake when I was younger in the mid to late 60's. I first came because the lake was close to home (Warren, Mn.) I came later when the crappie bite exploded. It is hard to explain to people who have never been there or those who did not experience the lake during the walleye and crappie heydays. I can remember fisherman lined up elbow to elbow on the Tamrack river on the walleye opener fishing from the bank in the early to late 60's. Almost all the fish were 13 - 17 ". I remember Gabby Leonhardt's store and the great dances at the Sunset Lodge. I fell back in love with the lake when the crappie bite took off and have been going back ever since. We started with portables and graduated to the mobile, v-front fishhouses. I remember buying minnows from your grandfather and maybe from your great grandfather Alfred from the basement in the house on the main road. The steps would be coated with ice from the water that sloshed out of the minnow buckets from men walking back to their vehicles. I have seen things like the selling of fish from the reservation, and more recently, the people who have created a cult like Kelly your dad, Buddy and Shorty Hillman,Pete Olson and Kelly, the Ibots and many more. I will continue to go up, not so much because you can cook walleyes on the lake or still catch some crappies from the class of 95 but because it is there. I can't put in into words but that is how I feel about the lake and the people of Washkish so look for me in early January and for the rest of the year until early April when the ice breaks up. I will be having a great time whether or not I am catching fish!!!

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actually didnt know that we can clean and eat them in the house this year but great to know. Booked a 6 man sleeper through kelly for 1/10. 1st time to upper red. Normally make one trip a winter and usually hit winnie since Perch are my favorite. (have a small permanent down in the cities that i use for the rest of the season) Got a group that wants to go in january and usually for me I don't do to well on the perch that time of year so figured be good to try some place different. Just hoping for a lot of fish to keep busy but seeing how my biggest crappie is 14 inches would be great to catch a slab.

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Quote:


I hear from a lot of people that they didn't fare well on the crappies last year, but every time except 1 when we went up there we came home with a limit last year. And the time we didn't have our limit we still had 20 or so slabs between 3 guys.

I'm gettin the itch for more already


Same experience last year as well. In fact we're trying to pick out a weekend to stay in one of Kelly's house.

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We have fished URL for years. When it is good, it is really good. When it's not...it is not. Over 20+ years of experience says that LOW will consistently produce more fish than URL over a long average. The walleyes are back on URL but the crappies are nowhere near what they were and are getting fewer every year.

One problem we have with URL is lack of facilities. Over an extended stay, we prefer to have options for a drink, meals, entertainment, etc. Westwinds is a fine facility but not the most family friendly atmosphere later in the day and has a limited menu. Most people don't go to Waskish for the fine dining but admittedly it is what it is. Anyone who has stayed in Nestor Falls in the winter will tell you URL has a wealth of opportunity by comparison but it can't compare with Wheeler's Point.

I believe the smaller limits are a factor also. The vast majority of people that would fish URL are coming from 100+ miles away. Given the 2 fish limit and limited options for accommodations in Waskish, who wouldn't drive the extra hour to be at LOW with 20+ resorts and a 400% bigger bag limit. It is nice to bring fish home to the family and friends that didn’t get to catch them.

I have always liked Red Lake and will continue to fish there. It is a beautiful place and the people are great. I have tied into a few slabs since the boom and will continue to try for one more.

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did better last year on the slabs and the walleyes are getting bigger every year.......I go at least 5 times a winter and have friends that go every weekend.....We caught alot of fish last year and when we didn't catch fish we moved and fished until we found them and did good.....can't wait to get up there again this year!!

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If the slabs kick in i may go up but its a waste to head up there for two walleyes. LOW is a much better option. For two walleys i cant see going that far. Great lake and all but just not worth it for a 2 fish limit when LOW offers all it has

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The plan is to fish Upper Red as much as I possibly can this winter. grin.gif

Once the "easy" crappie bite was over, its taken a few years to figure out a pattern, or strategy, to catch those critters and we've been having luck. I have high hopes to continue this this winter.

Last winter was phenomenal, maybe my best winter on Red ever. During the boom, crappies were in that 12-13" range. We were consistantly catching 13 1/2" to 14 3/4" inchers last year with only one 15" finding my bait.

When you aren't picking up crappies, those darn 18-22" walleyes are all over you, and you'll never know when you accidentally will set the hook into a 20lb submarine.

I love Lake of the Woods as well but there is something about URL thats special to me.

See you guys at Tall Tales this winter!

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Last season I made three trips to Red and hopefully I can make more this ice season. When, I have no idea but I will be up to see you Jonny. cool.gif

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Its funny to me how people will decide on a destination/sucess of an outing based on how many fish they can KEEP. I'm going to go wherever the good bite is. I don't need to clean a whole pail of fish at the end of the day to know I had a great time.

I made the drive from Brookings SD 3 times last winter and you can bet it will be more this year. We never kept a fish. It isn't that the fishing over here is bad, just a change of scenery is nice, and scenery is what you've got up there. I think fishing Red gives a sense of adventure, stuff we can't get on our 500 acre lakes over west.

Kudos to everyone around red responsible for the great information, upkeep of ice roads, and everything else that makes Red Lake the gem it is today.

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I always make it a point to make it up a few times a winter, usually twice in March. I quit going to LOW as the night fishing stinks (something I enjoy doing) any you catch a ton of cigars sized walleyes. I'd rather go to URL and search for crappies, and inadvertantly catch a ton of nice eyes even if I don't get to keep them. The meat is irrelevent to me, I just enjoy catching fish!!! laugh.gif

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Gotta have that good night fishing, nothing more boring than a bite that cuts off at dark...zzzzzzz... smile.gif

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I stopped into Roger's and pulled my house back to Crookston this afternoon. I've got electrical R & M to tend to, which will be much easier to take care of at home. Plus the grandsons will get fired up to see the house, and to help with the work.

No ice yet smirk.gif

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Last year was odd with the night crappie bight just stopping cold. We never did truly figure out what happened last year, as soon as the snow hit things got tough and didn't pick up until the snow melted back of again in March. Im sure it was something to do with light conditions, zooplanktons and or suspended baitfish. Of course last year we seen limits of fish hitting at noon, 10 am 3pm, a new trick for Upper Red. This winter we may be back to normal with the strong night bite or maybe we have a day bite again...never know with this big pond. Either way I don't want to be the guy to miss it.

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I plan on getting out there a few times this year. I have only been on the lake once last year in one of buddy's houses. It was unbelievably cold that weekend so we did not venture out onto the lake with our portables. This year I stepped up and bought a wheel house, so I plan on getting out there with the family. Eating fish on the lake is a plus, but would not be the reason I am there.

Funny thing last year with Kelly and Buddy. With the cold front moving in, the bite was seeming to slow down. We were having alot of luck with Chubby Darter's. When they came to check on us Monday morning they asked how we were doing. We told them slow, but not terrible. They asked what we were having the most luck on, so we showed them the chubby darters we were using. They both laughed and said no wonder the fishing is slow...... hehehehe.

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Jonny P-

The 2 man crew from Fargo will be meeting up with the 1 man crew from Brklyn Prk and we'll be up mid to late Feb, depending on the crappie bite. Looking to finally hook into one of those SUMO sharks. Whether we catch fish or not, you and your family always make sure we're well taken care of. Pray for hardwater! Mille lacs stunk last year. For me anyway, so back to Waskish I go!

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After watching the news friday night it sounds like mil lacs could really stink this winter crazy.gif

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