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I did some driving around today- yuck! Covered the Red from about 10 miles south of Fargo to about 15 miles north of Fargo. The numbers say the Red is down, but man, it's tough to tell. I tried to wet a line if several places, but I only managed to accidentally snag a small snapping turtle. There was absolutely nothing happening as far as the fish was concerned. Most of my usual places were very much underwater.
I went back up to the spot you were telling me about, BWE, north of the airport. The landowner has it posted on all four corners (on both sides of the water and on both sides of the road). It doesn't even look like he's trying to keep out strictly hunters (otherwise I'd try contact him and get permission to fish). Whoever is the owner didn't bother to sign the "Posted" signs, so it'd be a hassle to find out who the owner is. I know that's not legally posting the land (without the sig.), but I'm not going to mess with that silliness- no sense ticking off a landowner and giving fisherman a bad name.
I guess I just need to be patient and wait. This week things might start to pick up for crappies so maybe that'll keep me preoccupied for a while. It's just not the same as going for a big ol' marble eye though.
Patience is not one of my strengths.

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That ditch is public property as long as you stay off the lands on either side. It is listed as a public fishing area and it is on the creel survey list of open areas to fish. If the sign is not sighed & dated it is not valid anyway.

It was posted to the South last year too. Stay clear of fenced in areas with gates that are closed and you will be ok.

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BW, thanks for the tip. It seems to me that the landowner is really trying to give people the impression that we are not welcome anywhere in there. With the info you just gave me, I don't think I'll worry about going in there now. All I have to do now is be patient and wait for the water to get to a level where it's acceptable to fish in there.
Are we ever going to have a spring season this year. I can't remember the last time the spring run came in mid May.

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Ya it has been a wash so far, hope we see a better river soon too.

Also try to find the Wind Rice Dam just South of Fargo, right behind the Wild Rice Bar & Grill. That area may be the first walleye spot in that area to go.


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Hey Ed,

Thanks for the info about carp being illegal.

My cousin fishes the Wild Rice Dam. He likes it there. Hasn't been there this yr. tho.

I don't fish it as have a MN license. I can fish both sides of the Red but not the wild rice.

Good luck to all

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My frustration level continues to swell as a result of the high water. I tried to fish the Wild Rice as BWE suggested only to be turned away by very large no trespassing signs. We also went up and tried the ditch north of the airport and had nothing but frustration there too.

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Scoot I am on it. I contacted the NDG&F chief in Bismarck today to see what is up with the posted access roads. For now it is best to stay clear until we get a ruling on the whole deal. I also asked them to clarify the North ditch situation and as soon as I hear back from my boss's at the MN DNR I will advise.

I have voiced my concerns on the increasing instances of such unusual posting's to the chief's as far up the ladder as I can go, we will see what they say.

Scoot today I ran my first series of creel checks on the Red and the Otter Tail River. Only 2 out of 11 areas were close to being fishable yet, so many anglers are as frustrated as we are. But it is heading in the right direction, keep the faith!


Backwater Guiding Service
Ed Carlson,
#310 SE College Complex
Wahpeton ND, 58075

[email protected]


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I haven't lost the faith yet, but I'm getting there. I'm getting out to fish crappies today- that should help my psyche (whatever the heck psyche is).
I appreciate you checking on the posting stuff.
I think in one week things will look a whole lot different around here. I'll be able to go for a nightly fishing trip and I won't be so dang grumpy. As I said before, I'm not a patient dude!

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I will share the comments that were exchanged on the subject of the increase in closed areas on the Red River & it's tributaries. Keep in mind this situation is still developing and the areas may be open for use in the future. For now I highly recommend all anglers observe the postings and the laws of there state.

Ed Carlson

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Topp [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 02 May, 2001 16:24
To: [email protected]
Cc: Mike Larson; [email protected]
Subject: Wild Rice Dam access


Creel clerk Ed Carlson informed me that the access road to the Wild Rice
river dam (Creel site 83) has been signed "no trespassing." Ed checked with
the locals and found out that the adjacent landowner is **** ******.

Do you know if there is a public easement to this site? Have you dealt with
angler access to this site in the past? Evidently, the trail leading to the
site is in pretty tough shape; this may be what prompted the signs.

Both Charlie and Ed noted that there is a similar situation at site 71,
which is the ditch confluence to the Red River on the ND side, just north of
Fargo (Up by Hector Field). Any thoughts on this site? Here again, the
clerks were wondering about trespass laws along drainage ditches.

Thanks for any input.

Dennis Topp
Baudette Area Fisheries Office


As I understand the trespass laws of ND, when it is posted as NO
TRESPASSING, it in closed to egress/aggress of all individuals. Unposted
land is open to public egress/aggress.

Most of the areas where anglers have had access to the river are private
property. Property owners become upset with anglers, ie, trash, road ruts,
parties, etc, and the land gets closed.

I cannot find a listing for public access agreement for the Wildrice River,
but the dam is likely to be a North Dakota Sate Water Commission (SWC) or
local water board project. It could be a case of a public project without
any public access. Yes, there are some strange matters in the area of
public holdings and access. Christine Dam is an example of that happening,
owned by the City of Fargo and funds by SWC, but having no granted or
guaranteed public access.

Public access has not been a problem at the Wildrice site before, but times
could have changed with angler attitudes and landowner rights/tolerance to

The Fargo Drain has been used by the public, I tried to get a lease on it,
but the owner was looking to break part of the land to the south into
housing units. He did not want to have anglers moving around the area which
would decrease the value of the property. In the past there was some short
term moves to close the area because of ruts and trash problems.

In most cases, the local Water Board will clean out or build a drain, but
use only an easement for O/M and not for public access. Again, public funds
and no public (angler) benefit.

Laws are strange.

Hope this helps.


(So until some exchanges are made between the land owners and the state we all best stay clear to prevent and legal entanglements.)


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