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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 :)

    • seifjr
      I fished the SE corner of the lake for a couple hours Saturday evening 3-5 p.m.  Set up on top in 15' of water and caught 3 eyes between 3:30-4:15.  All three seemed to be from the same year class @ 15/16".  10" of really nice ice about a 1/2 mile offshore.  Fun evening!   
    • Mike Walerak
      I second that rumeye! I placed my order, took of fishing in South Dakota for the weekend, and had them in my mailbox when I returned!  I am typically not committed to any brand of lures but I just love the pain schemes on the moon jigs and the perch seem to like them too! 
    • jake125
      How's the eye bite been out there? I got out Saturday night and landed one bigger fish. Pretty slow otherwise. Didn't mark anything Sunday morning. Few permies out on the lake. There was 11'' of ice where I was but know for a fact it is not like that on the whole lake
    • jake125
      Be very careful. I know for a fact from a lake resident there was a heave and open water in the middle of the lake a week ago. Do not go exploring
    • papadarv
      On Coon Lake yesterday, drilled 25 - 30 holes on west side of Lexington bay. All holes at 8". Still 2 areas of open water (blue circle with red) (green line open last weekend so expect <2" ice) suggest not crossing the area. One < 17" walleye so he went back in.
    • ANYFISH2
      Made it out last night for the first time.  Hit Shamineau for the evening bite.  Fished 21 ft water, about 15 yrds out from the milfoil edge.  Fish marked regularly from 4:15 till 6:30.  7 fish caught and probably 10 misses, first time out give me break!  Most of the walleyes were small with 2 14" fish put in the bucket. Minnows under a bobber with a plain hook or a white jig caught all the fish and bites.  Nothing on spoons.  Ice conditions: we had a consistent 9" of very good ice on Shamineau.  Large houses are out on the far west side.   Lake Alex has fisherman on most of the community spots with four wheels being used.  On the east end ice is good ranging from 8 to a little of 11".   Have not been on Fish Trap, however, Action Dock Service has warned that there is an large open area on the west side of Big Island as of yesterday.   Please be aware that Alex, Shamineau and Crookneck have many aerators in use all around these lakes for shorline protection.  Be very aware of what is in front of you, especially at night.   Good luck.
    • iiccee63
      Ice was 12" every hole I drilled in the East and middle north parts of the lake. Fishing was terrible but, awesome. Very little snow on lake also. Banking your house almost impossible.🤔
    • CJH
      Fished a small west metro lake this afternoon.  Shallow was 6-7 inches, about 5 inches out in the middle, good solid ice.  This lake locked up early and didn't get messed up by wind or warm temps.  I drilled holes as I went just to keep checking the ice, since it was our first time out for the year.
    • Wanderer
      I stayed on the ice this afternoon and out of the woods.  I watched the sun fade with the last day of the ML season with mine in the truck at the access.   The darndest thing: the fishing was terrible.  Kept hoping I’d find em or it would pick up in the evening.  Neither really happened. 😔     Still, it’s been a good hunting year.  Thanks all of you that shared your season here!
    • monstermoose78
      I go bare hands