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What do the fish do when it floods?


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I'm curious what the fish do when the water gets this high. Do they tend to stay in the river bed or do they wander? Do any get trapped when the water goes down? I see a lot of deer and turkey's out in the fields and I wonder if there is any kind of fish displacement as well. Will this flood be bad for fishing in the summer?

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Hi Eric. The Red floods all the time, so even though this years event(s) are bigger than usual, it's nothing new. With the incredible current that was pouring through the channel, you can bet your buns that the fish had to get out of there and find some quieter water to hang out in. Lots of fish will get trapped in all kinds of places this year, but I'd bet that the fishing will be just fine this Summer. In fact, I can't wait for the water to get outta here so I can pitch a line out and catch me some eyes and cats!

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You said it!!! I can't wait to find the first dry piece of shore, start a fire and sit there until I can't stay awake. How do you fish walleye in the summer? Can you do it from shore?

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The fish are feeding up right now, but extremely difficult to locate and fish due to very poor water clarity. They also have 1000's of acres of new cover to explore and they will surely do that.

Fishing becomes much easier to pattern once they river gets back inside its banks for the majority of the Red and it's tributaries. Some backwaters and drainage ditches will clear up first and attract fish that are more eager to feed, so that is a prime location to seek out.

A strategy I would recommend you pursue is look for the warmest and cleanest water off the main current that gets the most sun during the day. This offers a few key elements to spring fish, warming waters, less stress from current, food availability, security.

Pike will be the first fish to feed but they do not sight feed well in dirty water, smelt or hearing on a float will work well on these fish near shore, next will be walleye and jigs and plastics are proven spring producers tipped with a Fathead Minnow, and catfish and suckers will feed anytime now. Suckers love Nightcrawlers, most everything does in the spring.

They mix up and you can and will catch many of these species in the same locations for the same reasons I mentioned prior.

Suckers will run about the same time as the walleye so this offers a angler the opportunity to stock up on some fresh suckers for cutbait for them hungry spring Kitty's. Sucker fresh cut or slightly soured is the chow a hungry spring kitty craves.

You mentioned waders and shore fishing...not a good plan. If you do not intimately know the structure/shoreline this could be a disastrous plan. Drop offs and cut banks submerged yet are a certainty and if you walk off one your in deed Do-Do for sure. I would not push your luck with waders...stick to knee boots and most of the catch able fish right now will be very close to shore anyway.

Spring is a time of rapid change and great opportunity for anglers, be flexible, fish for catch able species and adapt to the rivers moods. Harvest only what you wish to utilize, do not toss non-game species on the river banks as this is elegal and disrespectfull to other anglers as well as to the species.

And most importantly.....be safe.... and have fun!

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All great advice. I'm looking forward to getting my boat out there. I don't think I mentioned waders but I did ask about "wandering" fish. Boy, are you right about the waders, though. I know someone whose waders are still stuck in the mud somewhere down near the convent road boat launch. Thanksfully, he's not still in them. eek

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Sorry I dont think I was clear. I meant in the summer can you catch walleye and where do they hang out. Ive caught the occasional walleye in the mouth of a tributary while cat fishing but I was wondering if there is a better approach to shore fishing walleye on the river.

I would never test the red in waders. I've been in that mud in my shoes and could barely pull up my foot let alone my shoes. Where I would be fishing the water is still very high and I couldn't get near any banks for at least a month anyways

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The red has plenty of walleyes. Finding them can be easy in the spring and fall, but in the middle of the summer they hide. Doesnt mean you cant find them though!! For me I like to find deeper holes and start from there. Try the areas that look "fishy" around these deep holes. Bends, trees, eddys, rivers, creeks, and even sewer drains hold fish. Low light periods are the best times to catch them (that does mean after dark.)

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Any advice on what I should use? Where I sometimes fish is a pennisula surrounded by the red in front and a smaller tributary on the side and back. I don't suppose a slip bobber rig would work well on the rivers or possibly rapalas?

Anything helps

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There are no really easy answers to finding walleyes on the Red in the Summer. Their patterns are very transient- here today, gone tomorrow. If you find a patternt that is working, take advantage of it. If you can't consistently able to find good summer patterns for eyes, then you're like 99+% of the rest of us. I've found some good patterns for a few days here or there during the Summer, but never for longer. Like Brian said- Spring and Fall are prime time-- in between is really tough.

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Slip bobbers work if there isn't much current. I would have 1 rod casted out with a nightcrawler or leech close to the bottom. Then have another rod for casting. Casting rod I would use something loud or flashy(golds my favorite.)

I used to fish a spot just like your talking and I would throw a slip bobber in the creek and it would slowly drift towards the red. Once it hit the main break on the red something always ate it!!! Worked good at night with lighted bobbers too!! Good Luck and let us know how you did.

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thanks a lot. I will definitly let you know. I'll try both, maybe not at the same time because I want one rod for catfish.

Thank you for your help

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Some of the biggest eyes Ive caught on the Red have been with big suckers or cutbait fishing for catfish. After dark!!FYI

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You see this seasonal phenomenon in the post spawn period for river walleye, then it will be a rare occurrence.

Post spawn walleye get lazy and take a week or so to recover from spawning stress, (not all walleye spawn at the same time so this period may stretch out over a month) this is the most common time to find a walleye opportunistically feeding on stray dead baits...because it's easy chow...and they are not very ambitious to hunt.

Occasionally you see larger walleye pick up cutbait in late fall. From my experience it is primarily a post spawn stressed walleye deal.

Pike are notorious for this on rivers as well, again in post spawn, and especially in turbid water conditions on rivers.

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my bait of choice has always been cut frogs. Don't know why but I have always caught with them. Last year a friend cast out his line close to the mouth of the river and caught a five pound walleye. I have yet to catch or hear of someone catching pike catfishing.

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Frogs are a great choice later in the summer. Caught a lot of different fish on frogs. Goldeneyes, Walleye, Catfish, Carp, Sucker, Pike, Bass, and dogfish. All on the Red. Havent found a great set up to keep them on a hook though. Ed will know??? Right Ed???

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Ya man them frogs get those Walters late summer and fall. I see alot of good Walleye around Drayton and northward that fall victim to a variety of cutbaits on the Catfish sets during the fall also. Walleyes on the Roseau river sure seem to like frogs and cuts thru the season too.

The only problem I have with keeping frogs on the hook is they are so readily gobbled up by the fishes!

High water {within reason} is a good thing in my book on the Red and her tribs, allows fish to move up river and around obstacles which don't allow for alot of fish movement when the water is low thru summer. High water especially when it's a bit warmer, ie. later in spring seems the best as the fishes are really wanting to wander. Best years I remember on the Roseau river are after highish water springs, seems we see fish {Walleye} in good numbers till water drops a summer or 2 later and they all wander back downstream. Low water spings always find less walleye, back to back low water springs and Walleye can be darn scarce on this trib.

High water a bit later than that, say mid/late May and June is way good for Catfish movements on the Red and the tribs.

fiskyknut

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well my way is to cut below above the waist. With the waist I put the hook through the head and again through the back. I also cut the lower half in half so you have two separate legs and use each leg on a hook.

I do have to agree that they don't stay on the best but I don't think any cut bait ever does.

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I've had great success with frogs for many years. However, most of my good frog fishing has been post spawn fishing (catfish, that is). Prespawn, I've typically done better with cut sucker or goldeye.

I agree with fisky- higher water leads to fish movement and seems to rejuvinate the supply of fish to some area.

Brian- you have problems keeping frogs on the hook? I haven't had much of a problem with that. You're not using a barbless rig, are you? Regardless, two tricks that'll help you are: 1) use a hook with a weed guard that you can slip over the end of the hook- that'll keep kermit in place, or 2) after you put the frog on the hook, put 1/4" of a piece of rubber on the hook, just below the barb. I've found two things that work well for this- a small cut section of a rubber band or just bite off a small piece of plastic from a Mister Twister or equivilent.

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Thanks for the tips Scoot!!! Can you tell me a good salamander quick strike rig for muskies now???lol I can get some lizards over 12 inches!!! Dont know if its legal yet though!!

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Tiger Salamanders are legal in our region, some rare species may be protected especially of Mud Puppy's (Mud Puppies have only 4 toes on there rear feet, Water Dogs have 5). As long as you not using an exotic species or one not indigenous to our region your good.

FinesseWGWeedless_grid.gif

Larger water dogs can be rigged with a few different options. A 5 or 6 O/T Gamakatsu “Finesse Wide Gap Weedless” hook works well for the nose and a stinger hook can be rigged to fit the baits as needed. The same weed guard hook works for the stinger or a treble. This hook is a great rig for Creek Chubs, frog, and active sucker minnows. They are now available in new sizes: 3/0, 4/0, 5/0, 6/0, and in the NS Black finish.

The problem is the trebles tend to foul from weeds if you fishing in them. You can cap the hook points with a small chunk of GULP to lessen this. Once a large game fish, like a Muskie or Pike woofs up a large Water dog, there in not much problem setting the hook through the GULP and sticking them.

An over sized wide gap hook like the Gamakatsu Big River hook should do it well too, add a retainer band like Scoot recommended to keep the rear hook in play.

big_rivr.jpg

Predators tend to hit large baits like that head on as much as they can to stop them dead. So I would try a Big River hook rigged with a GULP crawler from the top of the shank near the eye and then pinned to the point after hooking up the Dog, that should render it weedless and pop free when a strike occurs. I would give that a shot on them big sumo dogs.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Rick G
      St Cloud has a good access at Wilson park,  Sartell has a nice access off NE River Rd,  another access above Blanchard dam on East side off Hilton Rd  and at Lindbergh state park...Little Falls  has a access right above the dam.   Water is pretty high and dirty.  Crayfish colors have been good again this week.  Smallies have been using anything available that breaks the current so finding them most days has been pretty easy
    • Brianf.
      Interesting...   You're doing better than most.  The biggest bass weighed-in during the recent MN Bass Federation tourney was only 4.33lbs.   The winning bag was less then 20lbs.  To have several over 5lbs during your trip is pretty special.   Congrats!  
    • Jetsky
      Question.  I have guests coming who may want to fish for muskies.  I've cast for them in August along shorelines and at rock piles.   Do I fish for them that way in June?   Should I troll shorelines or drop offs for them?  Thanks.
    • partyonpine
      Yeah was up for a week.   As other alluded to the weather was brutal.  Did catch some larger walleyes on slip bobbers on windy points in under 5 feet of water.  As for minnows they were at Lucky seven in Virginia and Grubens has some nice minnows as well.  Smallmouth fishing was terrific given the circumstances.  
    • partyonpine
      Brian   That is funny and shows how things are anecdotal.  Just got back from a week we caught as many fish as we wanted, however our average size was 16.5-17 inches.  While no 6 pounders we did score several 5 pounders.  We did not catch any or very few fish under 14  inches all week.  I was just commenting that the average size has increased substantially.  We were throwing larger artificial and live bait but again did not really catch any small smallmouth.  Fished smallies for 5-6 hours each day and walleyes at night.  Overall was slow but the weather was horrendous.  Did go home with enough walleye to satisfy me.  
    • Brianf.
      I haven't been up to fish smallmouth  in a couple weeks.  My partner and I caught about 300 over the  course of those two days.  That sounds great - and it is if you like numbers. However, few of those fish were over 3 pounds and even fewer were over 4 pounds.  Most of our catch comprised fish between one and a half to 2 1/2 pounds.   I've been fishing the lake for 20+ years and feel that the size structure of the smallmouth in the lake has changed quite a bit during that time.  When I first started targeting smallmouth 20 years ago, half our bag seemed to be comprised of four pounders - and five pounders were in the mix with an occasional six pounder here and there. I haven't caught a 5 pound smallmouth bass in five years on Lake Vermilion!   They are a daily occurrence on places like Mille Lacs and in Door Co.   What has changed on Lake Vermilion?     I have some theories about why the size structure has changed, though curious what others are seeing.  Anyone have thoughts about the state of the smallmouth fishery on Lake V? 
    • SkunkedAgain
      Don't forget about the times that they unwittingly fly into your fishing line.   Normally I would say that ebbs and flows in food source would be a good sign. However, even with this bountiful mosquito population available there just really aren't enough bats around for the natural cycle to capitalize on it to any noticeable degree. The DNR says that roughly 90% of the bat population in the Soudan mine has died off. If that 90% is representative of the entire area, even a mosquito all-you-can-eat-buffet will not bring the bats back for many years.   Hopefully the little guys can make a comeback.
    • Dash 1
      Made it back to the chain today. Sunfish are spawning but finding them in the thick weeds is nearly impossible. My main reason to get out was to test my minnkota after rewiring it. It definitely made the difference. Never shut down once and I ran it for several hours.  Now I just need to relearn how to catch fish.😂
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...   A good week of walleye fishing with some big fish caught along with good eaters.  All of that despite some fronts that came through and lots of wind.  Being in a charter boat a few days this week was an advantage for sure.     Wherever you fish, there are days the wind will blow.  Here are some good options for anglers when the wind blows on LOW.   -Fish on a big charter boat -Fish the 42 miles of navigable Rainy River -Bays such as Four Mile, Bostic and Zippel Bay -Slide behind one of the thousands of islands that being up at the NW Angle -Trailer your boat to a leeward boat ramp and fish that shoreline A jig and frozen emerald shiner was the go to presentation for walleyes.  Most boats are anchored up and vertically jigging.  Some are starting to use spinners and minnows or crawlers with success.  This pattern will pick up steam as the walleyes are starting to transition with warming waters. Walleyes have been caught this week in various depths.  As a rule, 21 - 32 feet of water was still the range.  Again, various areas across the lake are holding fish.   Various rock reefs have been good.  Fish are transitioning to mud as the season progresses. On the Rainy River...  The river is flowing strong right now as water is being released from the dam which controls its flow.  With the heavier current, fish are being found in areas with a current break.  Even a slight break that still has current is a fish attractor when the water is moving.   Jigging with a minnow, pulling spinners and trolling crankbaits along shoreline breaks against the current in 6 - 12' of water is producing a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, pike, smallmouth bass and an occasional crappie.   Casting to shoreline structure and even docks is also an effective method.   For those who like fishing for dinosaurs, the sturgeon season opens July 1st. Up at the NW Angle...  A great week of fishing amongst the island area of Lake of the Woods.  Guides fishing the Canada side of LOW reported big numbers of walleyes along with a mixed bag.   Minnesota waters also produced good fish.  Many of the walleyes are being found in deeper than normal water for this time of year, in that 22 - 28 feet.  As hatches begin and shiners begin to spawn, there will be some shallow water opportunities as well. The goto presentation continues to be a jig and minnow.  Pulling spinners with shiners or crawlers and trolling crankbaits also putting walleyes in the fry pan.     As is common in these parts, a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, pike, jumbo perch, crappies, pike and smallmouth bass being caught.   Muskie anglers, the season opens on both sides of the lake Saturday, June 15th.  A glorious day for those who target the almighty predators!  
    • leech~~
      Over the years the only sure time I have been able to see bats or know their around.  Is sitting by a fire or down by a dock at sun down when there's just a bit of light left when looking up, and seeing them diving in and out.  
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