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Steering The Red River

Inside the Energy and Environmental Resource Center on the campus of the University of North Dakota, 10 natural resource officials from Manitoba, Minnesota and North Dakota gathered recently as the Red River Steering Committee. In a quick six-hour meeting a common theme arose: these biologists have a vested interest in the Red River and its intriguing fishery.

The meeting provided a wheelhouse of information and Lynn Schlueter, North Dakota Game and Fish Department special projects biologist, was the moderator. Committee members discussed past studies and activities reviewed monitoring methods such as trap netting and creel surveys, and evaluated findings with expert confidence.

Items of interest

Carl Wall of Manitoba informed members that Red River fishing in Canada is evolving rapidly. The number of recreational anglers in Manitoba is increasing, Wall said, while license sales in other provinces are decreasing. Manitoba has made a concerted effort to increase angler participation, with programs such as Take an Adult Fishing, Catfish Hunter and Little Angler generating “an amazing response,” he noted. Working with corporate sponsors such as the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team is a great way to promote fishing, Wall added.

Trophy walleye fishing on Lake Winnipeg, the final destination for Red River water, is attracting more and more interest. Fifteen pound walleye are becoming quite common, Wall said, and he wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a 20-pound walleye sometime soon.

Threats to the fishery

The threat of aquatic nuisance species generated considerable discussion. Stories of anglers who use a boat in the Great Lakes region, then don’t drain their bilge or live well before fishing back home, drew looks of disgust from panel members. Aquatic nuisance species are difficult to control, and anglers must take proper steps to ensure they do not bring in harmful biota.

Wall related an interesting story: “At one of our ports of entry, illegal bait was dumped on site. After a short time we were notified of an exotic plant growing at the dumpsite. An infestation of purple loosestrife was found to have manifested, another example of threats exhibited by interstate transportation.”

North Dakota now has strict regulations regarding importation of live bait Plain and simple, it’s illegal to import live bait into North Dakota. Tournament anglers are taking the lead in controlling the spread of aquatic nuisance species by having their boats inspected before launching in new waters, Schlueter said. Minnesota and Manitoba each have similar regulations.

Sturgeon recovery

Lake Sturgeon stocking by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources remains a popular effort. Plans call for continued stocking of this once prominent fish. Four years ago Minnesota DNR personnel stocked 378 adult fish, and angler reports continue to come in.

Walleye fishing is top notch

Dennis Topp of the Minnesota DNR continues to be impressed by the Red River’s walleye population. “In reviewing data, the Red River walleye fishery is impressive even compared to Lake of the Woods,” he said. “While the overall population of walleye is not as strong, the quality of fish exceeds Lake of the Woods.”

We must continue to stress the importance of maintaining the integrity of Red River tributaries, Topp said. “With a waterway such as the Red and its frequent flooding, fish move into tributaries during these events. Our data shows the species diversity in tributaries which have been dredged or ‘improved’ declines significantly.”

Future Red River fisheries management lies squarely on the shoulders of Minnesota, North Dakota, Canada and South Dakota. The Red River Steering Committee is a good example of biologists from diverse agencies focusing their efforts on what’s best for the resource.

Doug Leier is a biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in West Fargo.

By Doug Leier

He can be reached via email: [email protected] or office phone 277.0719.

Keep up the good work Doug!

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

Backwater Eddy..><,sUMo,>

Backwater Guiding
"Ed on the RED"
[email protected]

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • knoppers
      bump give ice reports if you can. just don't go on any ice to give a report, be safe.   I know my 300 acre lake in aitkin froze  over last weekend, but ice depth could vary greatly this time of year.
    • Fishing Frenzy
      Anyone know of the lake is froze over? Or how much ice is on the lake if it is?
    • Schwarz04
      I’ll be out looking tomorrow... Have a spot in mind that I’m optimistic about. Which direction from downtown were you?
    • eyeguy 54
      Got the hangers today and really like them. I did have to drill a slot so they would work but easy peasy. The metal can be bent a bit to get the angle wanted. Moved the turkey fans to a different room and centered the 3 euros. I like the way it ended up.     New Age Taxidermy Head Honcho European Mounts on Amazon Smile
    • Rick
      The holidays are coming to the Governor’s Residence! Foresters from the Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota harvested the official state Christmas tree Nov. 16 from the Nemadji State Forest. The tree, which is approximately 60 years old, will decorate the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul. “This year’s tree is absolutely gorgeous—tall, full, and almost perfectly shaped,” said Jean Mouelle, the DNR forester who selected this year’s tree. “It’s an impressive example of a balsam fir.” Each year, DNR staff chooses the Governor’s Christmas tree from one of Minnesota’s 59 state forests. Although the tree is always harvested on the Friday before Thanksgiving, the search for the perfect tree begins months beforehand. DNR foresters keep an eye out for a tall tree that’s nicely shaped and well filled out. The tree also needs to be in a location where it will not be damaged when dropped, and where foresters can easily remove it from the forest and load it onto a trailer. The tree will be set up at the Governor’s Residence, 1006 Summit Ave., St. Paul, at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, and lit Monday, Nov. 26. Information about viewing the tree can be found at www.mn.gov/admin/governors-residence/tours/schedule. Half a million Christmas trees are harvested from private tree farms in Minnesota each holiday season, contributing about $30 million to the state’s economy. For each tree harvested, one to three trees are planted. Real Christmas trees provide an environmentally friendly decorating option during the holidays because they store carbon during their lifespan and can be chipped for mulch when the season is over. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • eyeguy 54
      Should get the hangers today and will post info. I see that mountain Mikes has them also. Built to fit in the hole in back. The ones I ordered are for the bone skull so hopefully, dont have to send them back. Just got Marks done.  16 inch inside. Mine is 15 1/4. Not monsters but pretty neat. Marks biggest so far. 
    • jgrimmz
      I typically mount with a wire hidden behind the brain cavity routed through holes in the plaque to a screw behind the plaque.   Curious about this angled hanger, it tilts the nose of the skull away from the wall? Do you have a link? I like that idea, might have to rig something up when my euro is ready. 
    • rumeye
      Was around both lakes yesterday and they appear to be locked up. Shouldn't be long now.
    • eyeguy 54
      I hate when I am walking back to vehicle and they have roosted partway and I didnt know it, then they explode and I freak. LOL 
    • paceman
      Bow hunting the other day I had a flock of about 20 come in at last light to roost in a nearby tree. No way a deer was going to come in with all that racket! It was kind of odd to see them hop from tree to tree but at the same time cool to see! Graceful and quiet they were not!