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Fished under the dam in Crookston on Saturday. Very low water with only a small amount of water coming over the spillway. Did not dampen the fishing though. Caught over 30 fish between my partner and I. Nothing real big but a lot of nice eaters. Brought the nicest 10 home. Smoking them this weekend. All were caught on chicken liver and many were caught on liver floated just off the bottom with a bobber. What a blast!!

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Sounds like a good day, Kitty's in the pool, a good pattern right about now. What size do you prefer for the smoker? I usually keep them 22" or under when I smoke um up.

Some food for thought.... Odds are good a jig and 1-3" new hatch frog would produce some interesting fish on the same areas.

In the early fall under low water conditions pooling cats are almost always accompanied with some sumo walleye. They lurk around to pick of cripples the cats miss. Or just as common the big eyes are feeding on Madtoms or last years hatch of channel cats, especially near dams. This pattern is very common into late fall in low water on the Red and it's tribs.

A trick I find works well on these lurking crowded pool walleye is a rattle trap or a large Blade Bait like a ZIP. As the water temp falls and if the walleye are hanging with schooling channels they hand back and watch for easy meals.

I like to test this by rip-jigging a Rattle Trap 2-3' off the bottom. You may bump a cat or two or even snag one by accident while doing this. What happens is the lurker walleye see an erratic baitfish fall away from the cat schools and they smack it. They can lurk there for hours and not hit a jig but the trap gets their blood up just enough to commit to a quick snack. If the Trap or Blade Baits are too gaudy for them I often carry a Salmo Chubby Darter or two with just for this scenario. The Chubby's work very well on neutral lurkers. I have had good luck with the larger Angel Eye Gold when rip jigging too, especially is the shiners are in thick. I tip the Angel Eye with a minnow head or a whole minnow hooked through the eyes. I prefer the whole minnow to slow the fall, big eyes love it. wink.gif

Another option is a 4-5" Sassy Shad as a rip-jigger. They fly well and the flabby tail is always a good bet on fall walleye. The BLK/WHT and BLU/WHT are my primary fall colors of choice. As the water clears BLK/Copper Flake or Bone WHT is hot bet. What I like about these Shads in the fall is you can cast them shallow on cover, or jig vertically, or even slow troll them. A versatile option for big fall walleye, small mouth bass, and cats.

In heavy cover I opt for a weedless jig for the Sassy jigs, in open water a ball type jig, in shallow a swimming head/Stand-up head. The Stand-up swimming head jig with a good 4 O/T hook is my personal favorite and if the flow is low I use it whenever conditions allow me to.

Just a few tricks you may want to give a go bro.

------------------
Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"

701-893-9107

[email protected]

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Ed

I like a 3-5 fish for my smoker. Smaller fish don't seem to have the oil content that a decent size one does. Two years ago I smoked a 16 pounder that was to die for. Long and slow will always give the best results.

Did not catch any walleyes although we did not have the bait for it. I was thinking about it but thought it would be too early for the walleye bite.

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#16 is bigger then I would normally smoke, but I know what your saying. Them butterball 22-24's are great smokers just for that reason. The natural oils in a catfish make for some good eat'n. Late fall has many 22-24's all pork-ed up like little fat Piggy's, prime smokers. This is my favorite time to set some apple wood to smoke'n.

I have a hard set rule that I do not harvest any cats over 24". Yet if one is wounded to the point it will not likely recover I would certainly utilize it over letting it float away. I have changed my angling methods so that has not happened for me in many-many years.

Fortunately that is why the NDG&F and the MN DNR wrote in the 1-over 24" rule into the Red River regs, just for that scenario. Most catfisherman are conservation minded these days, and that is a great change from just 10 years back when long stringers of 15-20 pound cats were butchered every weekend off the Red. Thank God for the change, or we would have a decimated resource by now.

It is anglers like ourselves whom practice Selective Harvest that insure the future of the resource.


------------------
Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"

701-893-9107

[email protected]

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Sounds like you did well... The bite is picking back up again. Evenings you will get bigger cats. Wow 16#.. I just could not get myself to keep such a beautiful fish.. no matter how good it would be.. Nothing over 14 stays in my boat.. that way I can try to catch it again later on when it grows up..... Maybe thats just me.. I see way too many out of staters comeing here and keeping coolers of big cats to take home.. No wonder we have a hard time getting big cats here I think.. Just a personal option of mine.. not that I have not thought of keeping one just to try it.

Congrats on your good luck fishing... Next time try some frogs.. you will never know what you will catch then...

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You guys eat cats out of the red? Does it help your buddies see you at night due to the glow of your skin? Just kidding,I used to fish the drayton area before it was a huge known area w/my grandfather and it was a blast. Good to see there is still some fish left. We would see people keeping a lot of huge fish and wonder what they would do with them. I guess smoke em' eh?

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We catch so few big fish that I rarely have to keep anything over 4 pounds. The 16 was caught by my 10 year old daughter and was her first big fish. Normally I would not keep a fish that big but it was hers and she worked hard for it. Should have seen the look on her face when I released a seven pound walleye!!

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jerkin'm eating smaller fish of any species on the Red is just fine and very low risk of any cross contamination. Please consult your MN & ND fish consummation advisory data and listings.

As in any system the larger the fish the greater the risk of picking up a stored contaminate load, The Risk will increase with the increase in the age and weight of the fish consumed. Yet another very good reason to practice Selective Harvest.

There are far more higher risk waters in ND, MN, SD, WI, MB, and SK then the Red River of the North. Feel free to check the stats at the NDG&F, MB, MN DNR and the EPA on "At Risk waters" in the region. In fact, the Red River has been climbing on the top 10 cleanest rivers in the USA.

Do not mistake turbidity with contamination. A waterway may look crystal clear and be as deadly as chugging down battery acid. The Red is a muddy river,for most of the season anyway.

If your seeing your friends glowing in the dark, Ya...well...I don't think it was the catfish you ate that caused that hallucination.

------------------
Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"

701-893-9107

[email protected]

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Wow you guys are sensitive about the Mighty Red. I just remember the last time I fished it during high water and there was everything floating by, from car parts, to diapers and TONS of other junk. That cured me from thinking of eating anything out of that system. Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. (No hallucinations here either)

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Check at the River Keepers web site, and also the MN DNR web site for links to water agencies that are responsible for monitoring the Red and it's tributaries.

As the Red flows North the contaminant load increases. There is a continuous monitoring program on the whole basin manned by the USGS, the EPA, areas universities, and the volunteers from the River Keepers. All the data is fed into a data base that calculates risks and trends on the basin.

Mercury is a low risk element on the lower Red and central Red, but on the Canadian end it has an increased level of concern.

Phosphates are the biggest concern on the Red, and the trend is showing a downward progression due to changes in drainage practices and tighter controls on yard waste and improved sewage filtration systems on all municipalities here in the USA. The Canadian end has a greater concern for both these elements and much more work is needed to curb their introduction into the basin. Municipal sewage systems and agricultural and feedlot run off is a big concern on the Canadian end and needs to be addressed quickly!

Rivers that have pulp paper operations on them, such as the Rainy River and the Winnipeg Rivers are subject to far greater mercury contamination concerns. Mercury is also a naturally recurring element in nature and is present in most every watershed in the USA and Canada at some level. If additional sources of mercury are present this exponentially increases the levels and it becomes a concern and consummation advisories are issued to the public accordingly.

Last year in MN every lake and most of the rivers had one form of consummation advisory or another depending on risk assessments. Some lakes in MN no fish are advised to be consumed (See DNR Consumption Advisory listings at the DNR web site). Suspended particulate count and contaminant PPM are two factors of many taken into account in calculating consumption advisories as are stream flow, turbidity, and water temp.

The "Basic Advisory" for most mater ways these days are 2 meals a month for children and pregnant women. People not in that risk group can eat 1 meal a week without concern. Higher risk areas may limit this consumption to 1 meal a month or in some waterways none at all. All depending on the risk assessment for that particular waterway.

All kinda complicated stuff, at least for me. It is good we have agencies and private interests monitoring these environmental concerns. With the governmental agencies monitoring on one side, and the private groups on the other I feel they help to keep each other honest in the assessments.

------------------
Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"

701-893-9107

[email protected]

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Ed, could you direct me to this list of cleanest rivers in the country which you refered to in your prior post?

I searched for quite sometime to no avail and would like to find this info.

Thanks....fiskyknut

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Try this link. There are many sources there to chose from on the water quality of the Red River Basin.

www.epa.gov/R5water/index.htm

If you wish to speak with someone whom has first hand experience with this program and it's data please contact Christine Holland at the FM River keepers. She has a wealth of information on this topic.

[email protected]

------------------
Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"

701-893-9107

[email protected]

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Hmmmm, been there done that, still no cleanest rivers list. Lot's of sites with water quality info for the Red all over the web, but I still can't find any cleanest rivers list like you refered to?

"In fact, the Red River has been climbing on the top 10 cleanest rivers in the USA."

Where can we find this list of cleanest rivers?

Thanks again....fiskyknut

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Fisky,

Give Riverkeepers a call. There's a fella there who is also a wealth of information (Ed, what's his name?) Give them a call and you'll get more info that you know what to do with.

------------------
Scoot

RodsbyEngel: custom made fishing rods

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I can find lots of info right here on the web as to water quality and all the documented exceedences of various nasty things which have been recorded, but I can't find this cleanest rivers list Ed mentioned anywhere.

The Red is on Canada's 10 most endangered rivers list for sure though, #8 on that list.

fiskyknut

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I'd have to disagree, it should be on that list. Lot's of problems to work out here on the Red, from the Devils lake fiasco to the contaminant load, ect, ect, and so forth. #8 on the top 10 most endangered rivers in Canada list sounds believable to me.

Fisky

[Note from Rick: Fisky please e-mail me. I sent you an e-mail and it bounced.]

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 09-16-2004).]

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I agree there is much room for improvement both here in the USA and in Canada on Red River water quality issues. I believe Stu would also agree there is a need for Canadian municipalities to get there poop in a group on contamination introduction?

We all have a stake in it's future and should do our part where we may.

Fiskyknut I know your a conservation minded individual and I greatly highly respect you for it. I wish more folks were so things would improve more quickly.


------------------
Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"

701-893-9107

[email protected]

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Scoot his name is Bob Backman, Christien Hollands boss, your right Bob is a very good source to get such information. I believe he was one of the folks the Fargo Forum interviewed when they did that piece on water quality? I can't remember off the top of my head if it was there in the Forum I seen it or at one of the FM River Keepers meeting, or at the regional water

quality symposium? I do not have the list in front of me, if I did I would share it or it's link.

Try Bob, if anyone knows what agency posted it or if I misquoted it, Bob should know.

www.fmriver.org/index.html
701-235-2895

A list the Red did not need to be on is this one. The "Top 10 most Endangered Canadian Rivers list" Canada's, developed by Earthwild International and Wildcanada.net.

That link I do know, it is www.endangeredrivers.net/index0.asp?w=EndangeredRivers&a=takeaction%20 so feel free to check that out. That list is an older one, not sure how old?

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