The Red River is still one of the best places in the world to get a trophy walleye!
A fierce south wind was whipping up small whitecaps
on sections of the Red River this past Tuesday. Luckily for friend Bryan Gray
and I we were fishing a fairly protected section of the river called Doc
Reids. We had arrived at Selkirk Park at
eight in the morning, surprised to see only a handful of boat trailers in the
parking lot. I would have to say this is the fewest number of rigs I have ever
seen parked here the thirty years I have been coming to fish here in the fall.
While the newly renovated boat launch was functional even with a very strong
south wind draining the water down, it still was a bit of trick getting the
boat off and then back on in high winds.
Another trophy swims away!
Friend Bryan is pretty happy!
Three other boats were anchored when we arrived to
our first spot near the top of long stretch of river that has always been one
of the most popular spots on the river.
Dropping anchor in ten feet of water, we let the boat drift out to the
drop in about 12 feet. In the next half hour I landed three nice sauger and one
chunky greenback walleye on a ¼ ounce pink/glow jig tipped with a 3 inch Gulp
minnow and salted shiner. While anchored I told Bryan that we would try
trolling up around the river bend to see if that produced some faster action.
Heading up river we started trolling crankbaits into the current. In the first
200 metres we landed two saugers and one five pound greenback. Following the
contour of the main river channel in ten to 12 feet of water we continued to
hammer fish non-stop. We landed six sauger for every walleye but that didn’t
matter, it was some of the best fishing I have ever had on the Red.
At the end of the first trolling run my Berkley
Flicker Shad was stopped dead by a really large fish. Sure enough, it was one
of those fish the river is famous for.
As we took pictures and released the trophy walleye
back into the murky depths of the Red, I related a story to Bryan about this particular
location. It dated back to 1997 while filming an episode my television show,
The Complete Angler with the famous Al Lindner. Al was using a six inch live
minnow fished on a ¾ ounce jig. a I had one size smaller jig tipped with a
couple of salted shiners. In my boat, I
was slowing our drift with the front electric troll motor. On our second drift
with the current, Al’s rod bent over from the weight of a really heavy fish.
Being the veteran angler that he is, Al knew right away this was a special
fish. Sure enough, five minutes later Al was holding up a walleye that weighed
13 pounds, the largest walleye he had ever caught on camera up until that time.
Al is one happy camper with some big green
It is not every year that the Red produces prolific
catches in the fall. A lot depends on whether the emerald shiner run is strong.
A ton of bait in the river will call numbers of walleye into the river. The few
fish that we kept were packed with shiners, spitting up numerous in my livewell.
While the weather has gone real cold, expect the bite to be good to ice up and
beyond. If the bait is there so will be the famous greenback walleye.