Go time on the mighty Red!

This fish knew how to eat!
It’s almost a week ago that the walleye starting showing up in numbers on the Red River from the main lake to Lockport. While anglers fishing closer to the lake have been having sporadic success for about a month, in the last week those fish have moved up to the traditional areas closer to the locks. Stretches of river like “Doc Reeds”, the Power Plant and the “Miracle Mile” all have a place in Manitoba fishing folklore, legendary over the years for their mind numbing catches of green hued walleye. Some years the run of fish starts in mid-September and lasts until the middle of October when the federal government would open the gates at Lockport for the annual drawn down of water levels in the City of Winnipeg. After much lobbying by a number of user groups, this has changed over the last few years. Now the gates on the locks are opened gradually, allowing for improved water clarity and vastly improved fishing conditions. The result, a run of fish that usually starts a bit later but also lasts later into the fall. I fish this fall run every year and some are better than others. Lately though, it seems the arrival and departure of the fish lasts only about two weeks. So when you hear the fish have arrived you need to be ready to get the boat in the water. Luckily I have a number of friends who keep in constant contact about how the fishing action has been so when I got the word this past weekend I knew it was time.
Monday saw friend Phil Brake and I arrive at the Selkirk boat launch just before noon. By five p.m. we were loading the boat back on the trailer, having had five hours of nonstop fishing action. While the majority of the fish we caught were small saugers, we also caught enough big fish and 16 inch eater size walleyes to make it one day to remember. One of the most popular articles I have on this site is my tips for catching fall walleye on the Red. There is a reason, these tips work!
We headed out from the launch toward the locks, anchoring the boat in fifteen feet of water on the edge of the main river channel. These channel edges funnel moving fish under your boat on a constant basis. By being on the edge, one angler can fish a bit deeper and the other a bit shallower.  It does help to have two anchors to hold the boat sideways in the current without the boat moving too much. Yesterday we only needed one anchor because of a lack of wind, a relatively low current speed.

When the wind did pick up mid-afternoon for a bit, I put down my back troll motor and put it on low. By pointing it out to deeper water, I was able to hold the back of the boat perfectly stationary. This is pretty key if you want to put more fish the boat. Why?  It allows you to present your jig straight behind the boat and fish the jig just off and back to the bottom. How important is that?  Well, it makes the difference between catching a lot of fish and just a few. Also, these big fish on the Red like a heavy jig pounded on the bottom, then lifted up six inches. For whatever reason, it really makes them mad and they just slam the jig. Yesterday, I was using a half ounce Fireball jig hooked with two salted shiner minnows when I caught the biggest fish of the day. It was probably the fattest walleye I have ever caught in my life, with a girth that almost matched its length. I didn’t weigh the fish, but it was heavy!  With the forecast for a bit of rain, then sun and warmer temperatures later in the week, it should be good for a while longer.