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kelly-p

Upper Red nears record winter harvest

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kelly-p

Upper Red nears record winter harvest

Ice fishing on Upper Red Lake has slowed in recent weeks, but the walleye harvest is on track to set or approach a wintertime record, numbers from an annual winter creel survey show.

According to Henry Drewes, regional fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji, anglers through January had kept about 125,000 pounds of walleyes.

The wintertime high for Minnesota's portion of the lake was slightly more than 140,000 pounds in 2015, DNR statistics show. Anglers harvested 109,327 pounds of walleyes in the winter of 2017, according to DNR creel survey results.

"If we have an average February, we'll be right in that area" of 140,000 pounds, Drewes said. "Catch rates and pressure have really tapered off in the last (few weeks). I think that's related to winter fatigue and a slower bite."

Wheel houses, which have exploded in popularity among winter anglers in recent years, now account for more than 80 percent of the ice fishing pressure on Upper Red, Drewes said.

Anglers on Upper Red can keep four walleyes, of which only one can be longer than 17 inches. Walleye and northern pike season on Upper Red and other Minnesota inland waters closes Sunday, Feb. 25 and reopens Saturday, May 12.

The Minnesota DNR manages 48,000 acres of Upper Red, while the remaining 72,000 acres are within the boundary of the Red Lake Indian Reservation and managed by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa.

-- Brad Dokken Grand Forks Herald

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Boonie5
      We will be in there 2nd weekend & looking forward too it!     
    • Fish Head
      My cabin is very close to where your boat is in that pic.  It was 40 around there last weekend. Headed up again Thursday morning. 
    • bigeyes12
      Is anyone interested in pheasant hunting in SD in Mid or Late November?  I used to do more of it but kinda got busy with really young kids for a few years there and lost the dog around the same time. I basically gave it up for a while. I would like to start making a trip or two back out to SD and would really like to meeting some other guys who enjoy the sport.  It would be great to find a few new friends around the same age +/- 10 years and maybe some of the same interests in fishing and hunting. Live in the Twin Cities area so we could drive down if you are in the area or just meet out in SD sometime.  
    • creepworm
      I do not believe that is from Red. It shows sunny's under the smallest fish and according to the DNR, there are none in Red.
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the main basin... As water temps approach mid 40's, walleye anglers reporting strong fall bite. Good fish caught despite a lot of precipitation this past week.  Clear weather in forecast.  Walleyes staging at various south shore locations in 20-29'.  Jig and frozen shiner the ticket. Anchor up and jig with gold, glow red, or gold/orange.  Fish are very active. On the Rainy River... Strong walleye activity continues.  Jig and frozen shiners continue to be go to method with some anglers also trolling crankbaits.  Shiner run has slowed for the moment but good numbers of walleyes in river.  Sturgeon have the feed bag on.  The sturgeon catch and release season goes though April 23, 2019.  The bite is on!     Up at the NW Angle... Fishing continues to be excellent.  Limits of walleyes being caught in 14 - 25'.  Jigging still producing.  Look for areas of current in neck down areas and outside of bays.  Fall crappie bite continues strong.  Big pike are making their presence felt, like it or not!  Muskie trollers boating and releasing good numbers of fish.  The best fall fishing is yet to come! 
    • leech~~
      Wow, it would be interesting to see if the big winners Cory, Justin and Dave all drove down from Canada together and where they hide the fish to get across the boarder?  🤔  😆
    • ozzie
      I am gonna go out on a limb here and say they did not catch a 15 pound walleye on Upper Red in MN.
    • bbfenatic
      Early ice I am always targeting big crappies not numbers and I always start shallower in the weeds that are still green and I use bigger profile spoons tipped with a minnow head or even a large plastic monnow profile. I find that the larger crappies will  move in for a short while and be feeding on the remaining minnows until they head back out. I fish in that 6-9" area with great results very early ice.
    • jgrimmz
      I'll be out second weekend in my traditional spot as well. Always see deer but I have yet to stick one. Hoping this is the year!
    • jgrimmz
      Wow, impressive! I was out in northern MN over the weekend and, while working on stands, flushed six. No shots as all were roosted high in the trees thanks to the rain, but made for some excitement at least.