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I have been real curious about the fish in the red. Can you eat them? Would you eat them?
I have fished the river for over a year now and i release all i catch. People keep asking me if i can eat em and im not 100% sure. I hear from others that its not a good idea. Then i see alot of folks from out of town/state comming up here and packing up all they catch to take back home. Even the big ones, which is a real bummer.
I have even checked out the EPAs web site but i cant get a real grip on what you can and cant eat.
I have a buddy of mine comming out this month from WA. and im going to show him the fishery here on the Red. He said he wants a meal.
Shoud i take him to McDonalds or can i feed him a couple of small cats?
Thanks, and tight lines to all.

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Hey Ordie,

A few yrs. back I checked with NDSU and the guy I hooked up with had made tests and stated the Red here was cleaner than most lakes around here. Not the mud but chemicals like Mercury and lead. Hard to believe but that was his opinion. He stated the bigger they are the more chems in the fish which makes sense. I've eaten the pansize cats if they look good, and very tasty. I'm going to Shelly this weekend so may try Halstad and Hendrum.

Take care


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The fish from the Red are safe to eat. Catch and release the bigs one though, they aren't as good eating and it is best to put them back as it may take a catfish 30 years to get to the size of a sumo cat! I really enjoy shore lunches of fried catfish on the Red. I catch and release most of the fish I catch but ave a few now and then for a meal. Bruce

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I agree with Bruce's statement on fish consumption on the area rivers & also his choice of fish to consume.

Each state has some areas of concern and their local or national wildlife department is required to post any advisories or restrictions. Check the MN DNR's web site and you will find a fish consumption advisory section that will outline the details of any area of concern and also what fish or body's of water may be of higher risk.


You can also find methods of preparing fish that will lessen the chance of ingestion of contaminants an improve the quality of the fish you serve.

Again in general smaller fish have a much diminished capacity of building up contaminants and are a good choice for the table.

Practice Selective Harvest for a healthy environment, and a healthier you!

Backwater Eddy.......><,,>

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Thanks for the reply folks. I will try a couple of the little ones when my buddy gets out here.
All big fish i catch go back in for others to enjoy. All my wall hangers are reproductions. They look better and last longer.
I hit the Red tonight at the Hendrum landing,
Got five and all were in the 5-7 lb range on frogs. Nice night for fishin, full moon, not too many bugs, not too hot.
I will keep my eye out for you this weekend.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • rundrave
      @Rick G   have you changed your approach or how you are fishing with no snow cover this year? It seems to really have changed things. Fish are spooky to  any movement above the ice.  Even just jigging a rod with your hand etc. spooks fish. Weed lines are not dying off etc., fish are staying up shallower etc.   I have had a lot more luck just dead sticking and bobber fishing and being away from holes or intentionally drilling holes in slush pockets or drifts to eliminate shadows etc.
    • smurfy
      Awesome cause Rick!!👍👍👌
    • Rick G
      Fishing has been pretty good for the most part with the exception of a slow day mixed in here and there. Been on a few different lakes in the last week. Ice conditions continue to fluctuate depending on warm and cold spells.  Right now there is 7-8 inches on the lakes I have been on. Snow cover is just about gone again, and with the warm days coming I think our ice season might be coming to an end locally.  Today I fished with a good buddy and we were on a mission... To find enough fresh fish to feed the folks at a local veterans home Friday dinner.  Mission accomplished!!!   Found a good mix of perfect eater size fish😁.   
    • leech~~
      Thanks for clearing up your statement.  So what is the daily limit down there?  
    • SkunkedAgain
      How thick is the snow on the lake? Is there any left?
    • Kettle
      His guide business harvests less than 1,000 teal a year. The state of Louisiana harvests over 150,000 teal a year and over 2 million ducks total. If that makes sense. 
    • leech~~
      Maybe I'm confused, but I hope one guide is not killing anywhere near the birds as an entire state of hunters?  
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...   Ice fishing continues strong and it is still winter on the border.    Overnight temps in the teens and twenties are maintaining ice nicely.  Fishing continues to be excellent.  It has been an incredible year for walleyes and saugers with both numbers and size.     Resort fish houses and sleeper fish houses are available.  Some ice roads are allowing pickup trucks pulling wheelhouses as well.  Check with each individual ice road for specific limits.   As always, and certainly this year, it is important to stay on the resort ice roads.  It is tempting to go off on your own as there isn't much snow, but that is a risky move any time of the year.  Resorts and outfitters keep their roads on the best ice and monitor it numerous times per day.   Lake of the Woods enjoys an extended ice fishing season each year.  Fish houses are allowed on the ice through March 31st, the walleye / sauger season goes through April 14th and the pike season never ends.   The majority of ice fishing for walleyes and saugers is taking place in 24 - 34 feet of water.  Jigging one line and using a live minnow on the second line is the way to go.   Pike anglers fishing shallower shoreline breaks and reporting good activity and big fish.  Pike activity will only increase as we approach the month of March.  Arming your spread with a mixture of live and dead baits will allow you to quickly figure out what the pike wants that day. Alewife, smelt, herring, numerous sizes of live suckers, or even large shiners work well. On the Rainy River...  Most ice fishing is taking place on the lake.  There are a couple of resorts that ice fish on the Rainy River.  Know ice conditions or work through a resort or outfitter for safety.    The river is open east of Birchdale.  Those who enjoy the spring open water season on the river are optimistic the river will open early.  Is your boat and fishing gear ready when it does? Up at the NW Angle...   Another very good week of ice fishing up at the Angle.  Walleyes, saugers, jumbo perch, eelpout, pike and some big crappies in the mix.   Water conditions are clearer this winter compared to most.  For that reason, the morning and evening bites have been stronger than midday overall. Jigging one line and deadsticking the second line is the way to go.  Electronics help in determining what the fish want that given day and will up your catch of fish.   Ice fishing has been excellent, come on up.  It's still winter on the border! 
    • Kettle
      There's only one Waterfowl guide in the country that I went to. He runs about 20 trips a year. So he harvests about 185,000 less teal a year than some of the individual southern states. In MN, lots of the teal are gone before the early teal season 
    • leech~~
      Wow, don't want to be one of those guys.  But, you don't think such liberal limits down there, hurts the northern population next spring?  
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