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Upper Red Lake Fishing Reports by Cookie

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Another season of big game fishing has came to a end. Its never been easy for me to call it a season as I really have loved  working on the lake. This year because of my car accident I did not get to

Well I have dropped the ball with my winter fishing reports. Nov 19th I dozed off while driving and crashed my car. I over corrected when I hit the shoulder and that's about the last thing I remember

Talk about dropping the ball.  Wow what a crazy 6 months it has been.  Will start  with opener. She was a bit chilly but that did not keep the fishermen away. The public access was the busiest

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Well we made it home from my moms funeral in Iowa late last nite. Fishing report to follow.
 Jonny boy and Richie will be busy today as they get out on the lake to make some  decisions on what we can do for the up and coming weekend. 
 After slamming on blue thunder last week installing a used rear end in blue thunder she lasted all of one day . While plowing out our driveway after a long day before banking un banking plowing moving houses etc she broke a front outer axel shaft. All this snow and slush has put my poor trucks through a work out. Getting stuck then trying to get them out is so much harder on them. I have always babied my fleet as much as possible. This year that is all most if not impossible. We were able to find parts on the way home so hopefully with a little luck we can get her up and running asap.
 Some of the outfitters have pulled the plug for this year. Rumors fly on the internet making our winter even tougher? Most of the outfits that live here year long are still open. The wheel houses  have drawn the short straw this year.
 Every season is different when it comes to mother nature. It is just the way it is. I have been preaching for 20 years she is the boss . One year the ice froze like a skating rink . I could of ice skated all the way to the north shore, another year the lake cracked all over the place? Another year we had over  3 feet of ice maybe closer to 4. Another year we hauled snow from shore to bank the houses. Another year it was 40 below for 5 days with highs 30 below.
 Trying to share how all the house's did last weekend again is kind of  a nightmare. We headed out of town sunday while everyone was staying tell Monday. Sarah and her crew did manage to get 4 over 17 with a total of 15 fish taken home. From what I gathered the fish started to bite sunday? No one got skunked as far as I know. Again the rest of the houses caught some fish but I have no  numbers. Not being able to visit and get to know my customers  has been tough on me. I want to get in a truck right now  so I can go checkout the lake my self. After the little slip a couple weeks ago I keep telling my self I can not help period. I'm still hoping I can atleast do a little fishing in old Minnesota before the season ends. As long as I do not catch one over 10 lbs since that my weight restrictions  of what I can lift. If I do get any fish I will just have to hoist them out of the hole since bending over is tough with this brace on plus the brace is to stop me from bending.
 Again sorry about the poor fishing report, its been a long week traveling  to southern Iowa and back.
 At this time we are going day by day or week to week as we see what mother nature throws at us. 
 Again a few tid bits as we all try and make this world a better place.
 Laugh more you only live once, laughter is the best medicine.
 Be honest its a lot easier to remember the truth then to make things up.
Give complements, open doors, lend a helping hand.
 Call your parents,
 Don't hold grudges. forgive and forget. 
Love thy neighbor,
 Pay it forward, 

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Thanks for the diligent reports Cookie, I always enjoy reading them and getting an idea of what its really like out there.  Its been awhile since I've made it up and stayed with you.  Hoping to change that next season.  Had plans to head north the weekend after Christmas when that big storm hit but my buddy and I pulled the plug on the idea since we were planning to bring our 6 year old kids along for their first trip.  It was hard to disappoint them (and us) but making the hard decision to stay home was for sure the right call.  It means probably no ice fishing trip up north this year but we'll be back next year.  We'll give you a shout to hopefully get something booked.  

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19 hours ago, kelly-p said:

My daughter was going to bring the grandkids up fishing that same weekend I told her not to come up because I didn't want them on the lake when the storm hit. Looking back I feel good about my decision and feel you made the right decision also.

 Absolutely, we were pretty bummed out the day before the trip when we officially pulled the plug but the morning we planned to leave we woke up to the roads in the twin cities covered in a solid layer of ice so just getting out of town would have been hard.  Then we saw the amount of snow falling up north and it was obvious we made the right call.  It simply wouldn't have been safe to go.

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1 hour ago, nofishfisherman said:

  It simply wouldn't have been safe to go.


Yeah, but man I bet the walleyes were on fire!


That weekend was crazy. First time I can recall Metro Transit pulling buses off the road. We took videos of the kids sledding down our ice covered driveway and down to the neighbors driveway.

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The boys John and Richy and our grand daughter Ashly  kept busy Thursday into Friday. After spending most of the day lite out on the lake they started to tackle blue thunder again. Working in the dark with White lightnings headlights giving them light, I have no clue how they repaired her again. From my research they would need a few specialty tools . I woke up Friday morning to look out the window to see blue thunder turned around.
 With customer arriving. Ashly was going to clean and detail the houses. Around 9;30 after a couple calls to Ashly I walked over to wake her and crack the whip. There would be plenty of time to sleep sunday. After rousting her I find out once they got blue thunder going they headed out on the lake tell 5 am, prepping for the weekend. I think Jonny boy was on a mission to get all the houses on fresh ice. I again stayed off the lake most of the day, until customers started arriving. I figured I could escort them out so the crew could keep plugging away.
 Once I dropped off Cody and his family off at Colorado fish house I drove over to say hello to Rick and the guys in North Dakota fish house. I have no clue what time they checked in but they had 2 in the bucket and had released a couple smaller fish. That was at least a encouraging site as I plan on fishing old Minnesota everyday starting sunday. Old Minnesota is just south of north Dakota 150 feet or so. I can see how I can do after we have clients fishing in it yesterday and today. I plan on fishing it 3 or 4 nights in a row before the guys move it for the up and coming weekend for Wayne and Paul.
 Kevin and his crew are  staying in Kentucky .They brought sleds so are planning to go find the fish rather then wait for them to swim under the house.
 Jonny boy and Richy got the last house moved, California while the customers waited. I did visit for a minute . They were being very patient plus excited to see the house being prepped onto a new spot.
 Yesterday morning I took the red baron to the gas station to fuel her up. I've got to be honest. It felt good to feel the power of that 454 as I shifted the gears to see how the tranny felt.
 Today I'm going to clean up our driveway with blue thunder to see how she feels.
 Next week the guys getjust a little break as nothing is rented un tell Friday when again we have a full house.
 I'll shoot for a fishing report Monday morning as 3 of the houses have repeat customers that I can maybe visit a bit.
 Its a busy Saturday here on the shores of upper red lake. Red lake adventures has there big walleye tournament today. register at there place. Rodgers is hosting the ice castle event on land I believe? Jrs under new ownership is  having there indoor fishing contest which is a hoot.
 Next weekend Hillmans has there super bowl Chile cook off. I asked the hammer to enter. I may also make a entry. Its always a treat to taste different chile's.
 A few more tid bits to try and make the world a little better.
recycle old electronics, 
Do not spread fake news "not even a fishing report"
Adopt a pet. I sure would like to have a cat again. The hammer would rather wait.
Learn cpr, be a better listener, always say I love you as you never know 

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Wow with only a month left of walleye fishing too go it has again been a brutal season on the shores of upper red lake. The grand lake that owes us nothing.
 Last year it was brutally cold this week with wind chills below -60. I will have to say I'm happy were not having that right now
 For the second time since my car accident I wet a line yesterday for 3 or 4 hours.  Th fishing report In old Minnesota after it was fished on a new spot Friday and Saturday was I'm a little out of practice. I was jigging a gold rattling flyer  while watching Boston legal.  The first fish hit my lure while I was lying on the bed. It caught me totally buy surprise as I was jigging. I set the hook while lying down. Trying to set up while keeping the line tight was not in the cards.
 I quickly got another minnow on the lure  sent her down. 1 or 2 good jigs and I was marking a fish. Only it was not a fish but my quickly hooked minnow escaping off the lure. Another minnow, back down the hole. I guess I educated that fish as it looked a few times but only nibbled a couple times.
 Mean while the rattle wheel went off around the bewitching hour. Rolling out of the bed with my brace on I go over give it a little line, but instead of setting the hook like I normally do.I pulled the line up real slow to feel the fish. I felt it on the line,set the hook and proceeded to rip it right out of its mouth. Glad I was not having fish on the menu as I packed it up a bit later with no fish to take home.
 Ashey re grand daughter is up here helping out. Her and my great grand son bently john were going to spend the night out there so we will see how they did later today.
Well the best I can do on my fishing report is all the houses did manage to catch some fish the first 24 hours.as Ashly checked on all them Saturday.
 Sean Joff and  a friend or relative from Florida were up Friday with there sleds. They managed to find a few fish even getting the guy from Florida his first walleye.
 Kevin and his crew were ib Kentucky they also had a couple sleds. Not sure how they did in the house but they did find some fish where they went on there sleds. They even had a little run in with  a guy in a v-plow
 Shane  and his wife were in montana I ran into then Saturday morning. They had landed 4 nice ones fishing large rainbow minnow on a plain red hook Saturday morning. From what I gathered from Ashley everyone was enjoying there stay.
 Jonny boy and Richy  spent part of the day going out on there sleds looking for the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappie. There elusive for a reason, they did find some little scuff it walleyes which was a good sign but no crappies.
 We did get another shipment of black and red hoodies in with just a couple pink ones.
 We only have one house rented later today so the guys have 3 days to get every thing reset for the up and coming weekend.
 I did check the ice thickness Where old sota was  It was a solid 27 inches, that explained why there was no flood ing around the house

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Nice...very nice! Well done @cookie129

Just click his name. To follow click this icon...Screenshot_20200208-175350_Chrome.jpg



Some of you ought to consider following him here on fm to see all of his reports. He's a good one.


There are some other gems as well.


I will start pointing them out as we go along here.

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Counting downs the days is a first for me.  Every year mother nature dictates what we can and can not do. This year I guess she decided to keep the fishermen from pounding the lake.
 Buddy Hillmans ice road/ highway was only 4 miles out tops. Again his road was top priority. The main road never flooded, some of the side roads were a totally different story. Plowing side road was quite the adventure as you never knew when you would find a slushy area. Once you built a berm on both sides they could become canal of water, anywhere from 1 inch to a foot of water. Driving threw the water when the temps are in the teens caused quite the ice build up on the fleet .
 Our rentals have always stopped seeping water once the ice hits about 19 inches, not this year though . With the weight of the snow a couple houses had to be moved shortly after auguring the holes. I can tell you one thing that's never in the plan.
 It sounds like  the guys still plan on targeting the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies again this year, only they will be bringing portables and staying on shore. All our houses will be coming home as soon as the last customers leave Sunday, Monday morning.
 We did have a couple fishermen this week. Glen and bingo Bob were here for one night. They got off the lake yesterday morning going home with 6 keepers. Desaray and here family  did pretty good fishing in Colorado. I never visited them but they said they want to come a gain as they had a grand time on a grand lake.
 Jake and the boys ate some fish plus took 4 home Tuesday morning.
 Paul and his crew are in north Dakota, they are fishing there third spot in 4 days .Its been a tough bite for them in all three spots. They head home today with another trip in the books.
 I fished again yesterday in old minnesota landing a nice keeper and missing a couple fish. I had a outstanding dinner of fresh fish last night and hope to repeat the same dinner for lunch today.

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As I said yesterday.  Counting down the season.  9 days to go. I'm still not sure if Buddy Hillman is allowing wheel houses. I did see him making some driveways off the main road the last few days?
Yesterday I again got to enjoy fishing in old Minnesota. My new plan is to fish like my best friend The greek. We have been fishing, hunting partners for 44 years. He is pretty much a uncle to our kids Billy never sets his fishing rod down when ice fishing. He was always constantly jigging. he  hardly ever puts his rod in a rod holder in the boat. when hunting same thing its not very often he would sit his bow or gun down.
 Yesterday it payed off  for me. I was ripping a chubby darter when a fat 19 inch walleye slammed my lure around 8am. I never even saw him on the vexlar. About a hour later while ripping the chubby darter from salamo, the rattle wheel went off.  Just like that I had a nice 16 to go with my one over. . 
 I did not get to fish last night as I had a last minute chore to do. Oh well I will be hitting it hard next week after our guest leave.
 I checked in Jason his wife Bret there two boys Quin and Leon around 4pm. I'll swing by them on the way out to prep old Minnesota for the weekend.
 Yesterday were new plugs for blue thunder. They have spark plugs that are 8 99 a piece. 10 plugs with 2 extra were 100 bucks. I decided to go with the 2 99 ngk. Crazy
 The new red  3/4 ton fired up yesterday  when it was 33 below ,as well as the red baron. Both 454s. Ashley dodge nope.  The black chev needs  a new battery installed.
 We have customers coming today, tomorrow, also sunday the hammers sis  shell chick will be fishing old Minnesota Sunday Monday. That gives me Tuesday Wednesday Thursday and the last night Sunday to enjoy old Minnesota.

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1 week to go. Its lightly snowing as I sit here this morning thinking about how the weekend went. Its never easy.  I'm not expecting to much snow as I did a little no snow, snow dance as I left the lake last night.
 Friday while Jonny boy and Ashly moved  and prep the houses I was able to meet customers at Hillmans ,then escort them out. 
 Ben ,Shawna and the 3 kids Louie, Willa, and the Scully. Were spending 3 nights in north Dakota. It hard to be leave they have been coming 11 years now. Ben proposed to Shawna in old Minnesota. Now they have 3 very cute kids. I did get to visit a bit . all 3 of the kids got there toes wet falling in the holes. But they all ready want north Dakota again next year. The fishing has been a bit slow so I'm not sure how many they have caught. There has been a morning bite so if I remember Ben did get a couple yesterday morning.
 Montana had Justin, Lisa and there son Landon? They headed home yesterday with 10. Landon landed the biggest a 21 1\2 incher. I did get a note from them .They enjoyed there stay  and plan on coming next year.
 Colorado had Jason wife Bret and 2 kids Quin and Leon, both the kids did get to land a fish. It was also slow but they had a nice family vacation and took home a fish fry.
 Florida has Derrick and his crew. They arrived Saturday. One of the guys gave me some smoked salmon that was the bomb.
 It has also been slow for them so hopefully last night it picked up. they had a few and did loose a nice fat one yesterday morning. Kentucky had Nate and his family for one night. They get 7 I beleave.
 I fished with Tony in old Minnesota Saturday morning. I landed 5 fish getting two more fish with the orange chubby darter.
 Yesterday Jonny boy moved Colorado for the new group plus I also checked in Mary and Randy for one night in kentucky. 
 Shell chick and Terry our in old Minnesota. They were up to 3 last night so not so good. There here for one more night, so jonny and ash may move them today.
 We have a nice busy week to end the season, so more fishing reports to follow as we finish off the season on a Grand lake that owes us nothing.

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Great post as usual Cookie , it sounds as though you are getting around at least somewhat better , and also great to hear your able to do your no snow dance , hope you continue good progress on that road to recovery from your accident , your a good man on a grand lake !

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5 days left in the big game ice fishing season. I'm sure if you ask jonny boy he was say it has been a grind with quite a bit of frustration thrown in for good measure. The condition were tough to say the least. Dealing with deep snow and slush made getting to good fishing grounds impossible at times. Having to abandon good fishing due to slush problems, working on the fleet outside most of the time was and has always been a chore to say the least. from broken axels,  u joints, door latches, windows not going up, wiper motor, heaters, electrical problems from all the ice built up. Getting stuck was also a huge problem. Every year is different . years ago we did have similar conditions with road ways flooding, then refreezing etc.
 The kids have been busy with the turnover of houses this week. They were able to move shell chick and her friend Terrry to another area where they had a little better fishing going home yesterday with there 8. Tony boy our old helper came up with his kids Mason and Treana. they have floated around from montana to florida. The first night they had 3 followed by a couple more. They did stay one more night so we will have to see how they did. The fishing has been slow for sure.
 Jake ,Jen and there boy Lakin  they  had 5 yesterday when they headed in to clean them and have dinner at westwind. Jake sure likes how they cook your fish there.
 I'm not sure how the guest in Colorado did  as I thought they were here 2 nights not one.
 Asley plans on fishing the next 2 nights I think.
 With Rick and Bob out in florida last night and there friend Rod and his crew in north Dakota we will have to see how they do on there fresh spots. 
 Florida is still wide open for the weekend due to a cancelation, They may of gotten spooked by the slow fishing or ice conditions
 I did get to wet a line for a bit yesterday in old Minnesota, again fishing with the chubby darter Ii had another pike ,only this time he hit the rattle wheel which sure made it fun to catch.
 I"m again headed out to fish the morning in old Minnesota before we head to  another appointment for my car accident injuries. I'm still dealing with problems from my concussion, i'm praying and hoping that my broken vertebra are healed up as I expect some therapy will be next. Its time to head out and do a little fishing on this grand lake that owes us nothing.

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  • 3 months later...
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  • Official Fishing Report Team - MN

He's posting on some of the other sites his reports etc. Unfortunately with the lack of activity here, I assume he has moved on from the forums here as  others have unfrotunately done. 

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i had a buddy up on red but not sure where he went out of but he told me he and his kid kept 2 eyes and 3-4 perch. he and his wife were up there over new years and didnt do well then either.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

My uncle has been doing great on red but he fish’s where the old timers did 6-8 feet all by himself

Edited by monstermoose78
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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Builders

We need all members to post reports and help get new members 

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      Yah, no kidding!  Heading the Winnie this weekend.  Wife signed us up for a GTG for a wheelhouse group.  About 100 confirmed attendance. 😲   The most important thing I packed was the 4 wheeler! 😄
    • monstermoose78
      Looks like we lucked out with the weather compared to what they were talking about. See you all on the ice this weekend!!
    • Wanderer
      Since y’all are weighing in.   I don’t have a grand opinion either way on the youth season.  Honestly for those I know, it seemed more important to the adults than the kids they took.  I understand that’s not universal with all kids so I doubt I’ll stand against it even though I do prefer level playing fields for everyone as @gimruismentioned.  Teaching kids to earn something is a life lesson in itself.     Teal - I still see a good percentage of BWT on opener compared to other ducks so I know there’s still plenty that haven’t left.  I’m more worried about the misidentified young of the year others that will get tossed or not retrieved when shooters realize they dropped non-teal.  Look no further than the splash duck rule for support.  A couple bonus teal so we can get “our fair share”?  OK, doesn’t sound too bad.  Same difference as shooting them for more days.   No trolling motors in WMA’s.  Paddlers still want to have a place to get away from motor hunters.  We’re supposed to be creating or at least maintaining opportunities in this state.  Don’t take quiet enjoyment away completely.  And by quiet enjoyment, I’m speaking of pressure not the noise of a trolling motor...    Spinners OK all the time, sure, why not everyone has them by now.  Again a level playing field.   The statewide open water rule is the single change I’m most interested in.  I’m all in.   Oh yeah, split season: I’m fine with it.  I’ve given up firearms deer hunting for ducks before and will keep doing it if I have ducks to chase.
    • Kettle
      I definitely appreciate your opinion and can see your point of view. Can I ask if you were as a youth able to participate in a youth hunt as I know relatively speaking it is fairly new.   You are definitely right, hunting is not what it used to be. I myself don't even waterfowl hunting in MN anymore. Ironically speaking I grew up hunting a faimly farm. On bad years my family would attribute the poor numbers to me youth hunting but there were years where I hunted the youth opener and on the standard opener we had limits for 12 individuals, seeing this and reading data I do believe that the youth opener has minimal to zero impact on hunting outcomes two weeks later. To this day I can say I harvested one wood duck, one mallard and two teal in my three years of youth day and didn't even shoot a box of shells in those three years. I have hunted early teal in Iowa in early September and saw large migrating flocks of teal, hundreds, bluewing teal, the mass majority are out of MN by our main opener and if lucky enough some individuals harvest green wing teal as they are late migrators compared to their cohorts. Covid definitely pushed more people into the outdoors but as an emergency medicine physician assistant and former paramedic I am glad people got out and enjoyed the outdoors versus congregating indoors. 
    • Wanderer
      I’d re-check the connections.  I had a bad terminal on one of mine I couldn’t see the bad spot under the plastic insulator.   Re-check the power connection on the back of the unit for tightness and the prongs in tact.  If you have a meter and can ohm the power lead out, do that.   If it comes down to having to open up the head, send it or take it in.
    • Wanderer
      Winter access.  I’ve never launched from a south side access.  I always used Wayzata, Spring Park, North Arm or Maxwell Bay when boating.  There were a few winter access spots scattered around but they were never marked.  And who knows, they could’ve been shut down since the last time I was on Minnetonka ice.   By the looks of the feedback, I’m either posting too much about this for some people or experiences with the lake have really gone down hill over the years.   I’ve sometimes considered going back to the Cities just to fish my old spots out there.  At one time I could’ve drawn a map of the lake from memory.  Of course looking at Navionics I see I was still missing a lot!
    • Mjen
    • gimruis
      I used that access one time in the spring but there's nowhere to park.  There's no lot and the parking on the shoulder of the road requires some kind of designated parking pass.  Needless to say after I launched my boat and realized this, I had to load back up and go to another access.
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