A special Thanksgiving

Cold nights and some north winds have triggered walleye to move into the Red River in numbers from Lake Winnipeg. Friend Pete Hiebert and I headed out to Selkirk Park Thanksgiving Monday to check things out.
After boating down to the Miracle Mile and dropping anchor in 12 feet of water, we started catching fish all right but unfortunately they were all saugers. Meantime three anglers in a small 12 foot boat 500 feet away were landing walleye after walleye. While frustrating for us, it was nice to see the smiles on their faces and confirm the fact that there were indeed fish in the river in good numbers. They were just using small jigs tipped with salted shiners, the mainstay for most anglers that anchor on the river. Meantime other boats trolled the perimeters of the anchored boats with crankbaits. As is usual with my game plan for the Red, there are three ways to fish it, and all can work depending on the day and the activity level of the fish:
1     1)    Drift fish with a jig depending on water clarity
2     2)    Troll crankbaits that dive to 16 feet
3     3)    Anchor and jig with salted shiners
So after catching about a gazillion sauger we started trolling with #7 Flicker Shads in 7 to 15 feet of water, working back and forth along the edges of the channel.

By noon we had managed two small walleye in that section of the river but we knew we just had to keep aggressive to get into some better fish. Then about two pm we got into a school of active walleye. The first walleye landed measured 24 inches, then we got a number of fish from 18 to 20 inches and we had our take home fish for the day in short order. About five pm we decided to work our way back to the boat launch. We started trolling by the old power plant when my crankbait stopped dead in the water. Was I snagged, the classic question? I picked the rod out of the holder and put some pressure on the rod to see if there would be a head pump in response…nothing! Hmm, what did I have here? Pete meantime was convinced I had a big fish on. Not taking any chances I slowly pumped the rod up and down. Finally this snag started to move sideways in the current and I knew I was in business. Sure enough a huge greenback walleye came to the surface and Pete was able to put the net under it…the first trophy of the fall season and hopefully not the last!