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Cats on the Red

Dennis Steele

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My good friend Dark 30 called me up and said that he booked a trip up to Stu McKay's Cats on the Red in Manitoba Canada.He said he had room for me if I would like to join him.I had been very busy this season and was looking forward to spending a little time with my honey that weekend,but just couldn't pass up on the offer.I had heard that that is the cat mans promise land and wanted to find out if it was true.

I am glad that I didn't.It IS!

We left on a saturday morning and made it to Cats On the Red by around 5:30 after a little trouble at the border crossing.(Bring your passport or birth certificate! It will reduce some of the time you have to spend at the border)
We unloaded our gear into our rooms which were much nicer than I expected.When a guy goes to a catfish resort you would expect that the rooms are a little dirty and smelly just like the catmen that would be staying in them.That wasn't the case.They were very nice and clean.We had two bedrooms with a living area with TV and a fridge.The bacolny over looked the river and you could see the dam just upstream.There were some nice mounts on the walls and magazines to read when relaxing after a had day of fishing.
We were just going to take it easy that night and get a good nights rest for the next days fishing,but I was a little anxious to get out and at least see the river.We figured we might as well bring a little bait out with us just in case we see something interesting.
When we checked in Stu gave us some good tips on where to find some cats and said the some of the guides had been doing well downstream,so we decided to check out that section of river.I was scanning my sonar while cruising down the river and saw a few blips on the screen hanging on a channel edge next to large flat,so we decided to check it out.I threw my bait right along the channel edge and Dark tossed his onto the flat.I can't remember who caught the first one but it didn't take long to figure out they were up on the flat.I started crowding Dark as he was doing much better than me on the channel edge! smile.gifWe caught around a dozen and a half big cats that went anywhere from 18 to 22 lbs in short time we were on the water.
Sunday morning we met Canuck who guides out of Cats on the Red.He suggested a few spot for us to try.
Thats the way it is up there.They want people to get on fish and enjoy helping people find them.
We decided to head right back to where we catching them the night before.At first it seemed a little slow but soon figured out that the fish had moved to the bottom break on the channel edge.The net was flying every few minutes and we even had doubles on a few occasions and had to net our own fish.I am not sure of the counts but we must have had 3 dozen in the boat before the day was up and we were not even fishing hard.Working hard..YES! Your arms get sore reeling in 20lb cat after 20lb cat. smile.gif
The rest of the week was nearly the same.We had a few slow times but when we located cats they were on the feed bag and fish came steadily.
Of course if a guy wanted to really beat himself up he would hire a guide.ON a good day these guys are getting clients on 40 to 60 of these brutes a day and even in 4 hours trips.Its just plain mayhem!
On our last day Canuck hopped in my River Pro and took us around to some of his favorite spots.When he took us up to the dam he showed us how to work the dam which was really paying off.We even ended up getting a tripple.Canuck being the professional insisted on netting our fish and set his rod in the holder while the fish just fought his rod untill he had landed both our fish.
I was impressed with his knowledge of the Red and the cats that swim in it.He also tought us a few of his favorite techniques and showed us the gear that he prefers to use.It was a very informative outing and I learned a few things that I will try in the future.

I want to thank Stu for the hospitality and good advice.His fries are awesome and he is quite a master at frying fish also!
I also want to thank Canuck for showing us around and trying to teach an old cat man a few new tricks. smile.gif
This will become and anual trip for me.It is just too good not to go.

OK Ok enough with the blabber here are just a few pics.I have tons but will only post a few because they were all that big.

Here is one of the double that we caught.


Dark 30 with a nice cat from our first night.


Yours truly with I think was my biggest cat.Just a little over 22 and half lbs.


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i wish i could just find one fish like that down here ...
looks like a great time...

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

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Dennis and Dark,
Glad to hear your trip was great. Our crew has been going up there for the last 10 years and we've always enjoyed it. The day we're driving home each year is the day I'm dreaming of getting back up there. It just seems to get better every year. Staying at Stu's is the cat's meow. He always takes time to shoot the breeze, even as busy as he is. We have stayed at other places while up there, but only when Stu's is full.

Sore arms and bruised bellies are the norm. Now I just have to try to get up there in the fall some year to catch the greenbacks. Teaching and coaching football make it tough to get away for a few days, however.

With that being said, I don't have difficulties believing it when you said it will be an annual trip from now on. It would be an awesome place for a FM Cat Gathering next summer.


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I am fired up! Leaving for Stus early on the 13th for the third trip of the year, our September trips are our favorite!Your right Stu and Canuck, for that matter everybody up there is top notch and friendly, as goes there license plate logo Friendly Manitoba, not quite sure about those border folks though! Will report upon our return. What was the water level?

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Cool, you guys finally made it up there! Those monster cats can really beat you up. I always leave with sore arms & bruises. Maybe I'll see you up there this spring. I've been craving one of those Cats on the Red burgers too. Vern

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That's awesome! Can you ice fish for them kitties up there?? or does the river freeze solid wink.gif J/K I couldn't imagine a fish like that on the end of an ice rod. Would probably pull me through the hole.

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Dennis and Dark30,

Waay nice! Looks like more than fun!
Dennis, are you getting better looking as you age or is it because your so close to that pretty cat?LOL

Jim W

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Hey Dark and Dennis,
those are some nice kitties.

I feel real bad about all the work you had to do hauling all those hefty channels in.

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I can empithize with you. On my fifth and final trip to Lake Michigan we landed 9 King Salmon over twenty pounds within 2 hours. My arm cramped and I was toast!

There are very few moments we get that can express our passion to this extent. I just wish it wasn't as few and far between as it seems to be these days.

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Sounds like it was fun had by all. Like another post mentioned was wondering if you can fish them through the ice. Due to construction job I can't find time to go in summer or fall. Would be mega fun through the ice as then I would be able to make it. grin.gif

Goosin now but Ice is coming soon!!

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You can fish for them through the ice but don't expect to catch any. The odd one and I mean odd one is caught in the winter but do NOT waste your time in thinking U will catch them through the ice.

What a difference a day makes, we fished from 1:30 PM til 4 today and between both boats we only caught 20. It was slow but that is fishing. Talking to alot of the other boats found the kitties to be almost non-existence. The ones we did catch were sumo style.

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