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OK BWE, here's a toughie! I'm interested in trying to pattern walleyes on the Red around Fargo this summer. I feel like I can do a decent job of finding fish on the lakes to the east because I am able to pattern them for particular times of the year and then move to logical second and third choices when they aren't at the places they "should be" for that time of year and condition.
How would you say the 'eyes in the Red here around Fargo can generally be patterned?
For example, at LOW the fish are in the river through the end of the spring season (approx. April 15), then they are on sand until about late June- about when the heat of the summer starts and the water really starts to warm. Next they split to both the mud flats and the rock reefs... you get the idea.
I have done well in the past near dams from about mid March to mid to late April casting jigs and minnows. After that any walleye I catch in the Red is more or less an accident because I can't pattern and subsequently target them. After the fish move off of the faster water near the dams in the spring what three, four, or nine patters do you generally see when fishing walleyes on the Red?
As always, thanks for enlightening the less river learned.
Scoot

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Pre-spawn migrations stage walleye all over the river not just at areas of restriction such as dams. Maybe 60% -/+ actually hang near the dam, a large group seek other areas to stage and forage. The other 40% -/+ will find secondary areas that may include flooded brush or grass to hold up in and possibly spawn in. Dams are to be considered as obstacles that hinder the migration of walleye in there efforts to find suitable spawning habitat, not necessarily the prime habitat they need to spawn.

Water levels dictate location most of the time on rivers. Not just due to high flow or low flow but mainly in relation to forage availability.

The key to patterning walleye is to pattern the forage. After spawn and the brief period of recovery that fallows walleye return to feeding and just do what they do best, hunt.

Free roaming schools of walleye may cover 40-60 miles of river in a day so once they return to summer free roaming they move a lot. Again we need to key on forage as they will linger in areas with good hunting tell the hunting has changed for the worse.

The balling effect could happen on a daily cycle with bait fish balling up mid river high in the current to protect themselves from predators, or to feed on suspended food flowing down stream. The bait balls may be formed in summer heat mid-day or at night. Night time forage concentrations often key on a hatch of mayfly or mosquito larva. Any concentration of baitfish will draw in predators and this is the main pattern to seek out.

Mid summer walleye action on local rivers can be a hard game to fallow. The key is do your homework and keep your eye's open for daily or seasonal changes in baitfish patterns that will clue you into location. Once you have established a location then build a presentation to adapt to it.

Most river anglers set themselves up for frustration with one basic assumption, "Walleye always feed near the bottom", BUZZZ--WRONG!

By basing there presentations on this assumption day in and day out they are limiting there possibilities, and there presentation, to a small group of summer bottom oriented feeders in the system. They want the fish to bite there way, not a good plan.

Well if you get my drift here than you see the forage will often set the pattern. The river has lot's of forage options so that complicates things even more, what one is the best one to fallow? Keep a eye on the bouncing ball. Watch for indicators of the most avalable forage and than try to relate that to the most likely walleye behavior in that particular area or structure.

Be observant, observe nature, mother nature will tell you what you need to know if you listen!

Hope this helped you, it just gave me another dose of spring fever.
------------------
Backwater Eddy...><,,>

Backwater Guiding Service
><ED ON THE RED>
[email protected]
(701)-671-3079

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 03-01-2001).]

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OK, I follow your drift... food, food, food. If you're looking for the fat guys start near the buffet. The obvious question to your response though, is how exactly do you patter forage on the Red? I know this is a whole can of worms and maybe it's too much for you to try to sum up here, but I'll be totally honest with you, I don't have any idea how to go about following the forage in the Red. I'd assume you'd want to keep an eye on two main sorces of forage- mayflies and sucker minnows. However, my guess is that you're going to tell me that I'm really missing the boat by not considering a dozen other main sources of food for the 'eyes. And even with those two sources of food I'd struggle to try and find where the fish are chowing down on them.
If I'm on a lake I can find schools of baitfish with my graph, but I don't ever see baitfish with my eletronics here on the Red. How is it that I will know where these baitfish are so that I can track them and subsequently the walleyes?
I know you said to stay observant to the tell-tale signs of mother nature, but I don't really know what I'm looking for. Also, I have to admit that I'm one of the guilty members of the bottom six inches club-that's where I have traditionally found walleyes and that's where I've tried to fish them in the Red.
It sounds like you'd recommend fishing the entire water column for walleye- from just below the surface all the way to the bottom. Just where in the water column is decided upon where you find the food. But, how do you know where the food is???
Thanks once again.
Scoot
P.S. Did you ever get an ice fishing rod from my dad?

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Yes I did get a couple rods from your Dad and they are great sticks Scoot, thank him again for me please.

Food EH? Run off from heavy rain produces a glut of invertebrates so that is a likely time to see heavy bottom feeder activity on rivers. Jig's and rigs works well in this type of conditions.

Heavy rains an high water conditions may darken the river to the point sight feeding is near impossible so again bottom feeding may be their main choice but not always. They will run the shore near flooded grass and brush in search of shiners hiding or feeding.

Stalking baitfish in stable river conditions is a by sight situation most of the time. Scan the waters surface and if you see baitfish feeding or jumping for their lives to avoid being feed upon, there they are.

There are 84 species of fish in the Red River system. The walleye will eat them all if they can, whenever they can, and as often as they can or feel like doing so. Seasonal concentrations of a species for spawning or for comfert from summers heat will offer opportunities for walleye to feed. A match the hatch line of thought but not just in a hatch scenario but any time fish congregate in numbers a predator is likely to key in on it and feed as best as they can.

Electronics can be helpful for locating bait schools or other fish in groups. I use a BottomLine TL-3300 that has left and right side finder capability, very handy on rivers. I can scan both shorelines or a snag pile for baitfish just by a single pass down the center of the river, if the river is not wider than 240'. Very easy to spot baitfish in most water conditions.

Sight is a handy tool for bait finding and the one I use the most often. Keep your eyes open is my best advice.


Walleye can be in any part of the water strata in relation to there pray so I feel crankbaits offer a wider coverage under most conditions.

BE.....><ND>

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Man,

I can't wait to get to work putting some of this info into action! I love ice fishing, but not as much as I love soft-water fishing. Thanks for the tips, I hope I can put them to good use.
I'm getting closer and closer to topo maps of the Red here around Fargo. I can't tell yet if what I've tracked down is what I want, but I should know within a week or so. I'll keep in touch.
Scoot

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If you find maps with run depth data be sure to let me know the sorce so I can get what I need also Scoot.

I am thinking on a DL run this weekend, some reports sound like the perch are starting to go. Reports are hard to come by it seems?

Thanks Scoot!

BE.......><ND>

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Ok, I've thought about your info and I've thought of another question related to the one's I've already asked... do you fish walleye's at night on the Red here in or around Fargo? If yes how do you usually do so. My experiences with night fishing around Fargo on the Red has been that it's great for catfish, not good for walleye. Am I missing the boat?
I'm still digging for the maps of the Red- I'll let you know if I find anything.
Scoot

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You may have ansered your own question in prior post's. You said you don't fish the upper 2/3 of the water colomn very often, you jig or rig. Night time preditors look to the shallows ant that may include the surface 1/3 over deeper water if there are lights that can sillowett game for walleye.

Night bite is good but it is a game again of were is the food. Walleye are on a see-food diet, they see food they eat it, ot try to.

I go with larger crankbaits at night so they have a larger target to shoot for and hit.

Noise is good as is glow in some areas and conditions.

Walleye tend to hunt the shore at dusk and into night, than they roam.

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Thanks once again for the info.
I'm afraid I have some bad news about the topo maps of the Red- they don't exist. There is some fairly comprehensive data from the mid 1950's that could possibly be dug up, but I doubt it would be very useful anymore. They got the info when they did some surveying for when the dams were going in. There is pretty new info. that covers the areas just below the dams, but that won't be of much help for river running or fishing elsewhere.
I've called the US Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, and River Keepers here in Fargo so I think I've done a pretty comprehensive search. I'm afraid I'm at a dead end.
Scoot

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Yup, same thing I found in my search.

Time spent on the river seems to be the best way to know your way around.

The more I go the more I know.

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SO HOW DEEP IS A GOOD HOLE IN THE RED IN THE BRECK TO FARGO STRETCH? JUST EYEBALLING IT, I'D SAY 10 FT.? (UNDER NORMAL FLOW).

------------------
cast,cast,cast,cast......

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Wahpeton to Brushville maybe 10'.
From Brushville to Wolverton a hole may go 17'.
From Wolverton to Oxbow it may run more like 20'.
From Oxbow into South Fargo more in the 25-30' range for a good hole.

River levels change so the guess is just that, a guess.

Each section of the Red especially the upper Red has it's own unique run-riffle-hole characteristics.

I seldom actually fish a hole itself, I fish the areas related to them not the base of the hole.

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Ed,

One of the guys I spoke to in my map hunt told me that there are really only three deeper holes around Fargo here in town. Is this true? Do you know where he's referring to?
Also, when you say you don't fish the deeper holes but rather the areas related to them, what are you referring to? Do you mean for example the drop at the start or end of a hole? Or maybe the break on the edge of a hole nearer either river bank? Or maybe snag piles near the holes? What features are you looking for near the holes? My guess is that you might say "the features that hold the most baitfish" (I haven't ignored your wise words), but you must have a few features that you are generally looking for first to find these little walleye snacks.
As always, thanks for the info.
Scoot

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Very cool. I have similar info. from Terraserver.com. I printed off all of the maps of the river last year to help me navigate the Red. These new maps you showed me have a lot of info related to what's around the river to help me gain some perspective of just where I am in town.
For the record, I'm heading to Upper Red and LOW this weekend and I'll put a couple of reports on the appropriate pages when I get home.
As always, thanks.
Scoot

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Cool, glad they help.

Good hunting up there and leave a few fish for me Scoot.

I may be crappie hunting this weekend too over East a bit. Or maybe perch hunting South a bit? We will see what way the wind blows.

Good Luck!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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