It was another gorgeous fall day this past week as we headed to the newly renovated boat launch in Selkirk. All went smoothly as we got my boat into the water and headed downriver toward one of the most famous spots on the river: Doc Reeds.
Even though the sun had not yet risen, five boats were anchored on the top portion of this famous stretch of river. I idled through the pack and marked a number of fish just off the edge of the main river channel in twelve feet of water. Carefully positioning the boat, we dropped anchor in that same depth.
As it turns out, that was the ticket. We had non-stop action until about 10:30 in the morning. Friend Bryan Gray was the hot stick this morning, catching a number of nice greenback walleye on a 3/8-oz orange jig tipped with a shiner minnow.
By most accounts, fishing has been pretty good this fall on the Red River north of Lockport. A variety of techniques have been working, including trolling crankbaits into the current. If you have an option of when to fish the Red, wait for days when the north wind is blowing. It's been proven over the years that when Lake Winnipeg flushes water into the river and backs it up to Lockport, the walleye fishing is substantially better.
Anchoring in the Red is a time honoured tradition and most big walleye are caught this way. It does help to have two anchors if at all possible. Put your heavier anchor off the front and drop a lighter anchor off the back to prevent your boat from moving back and forth with the current surges.
Some anglers will drop two anchors at the same time in order to get their boat sideways into the current. This allows anglers in the boat to spread out their lures, covering more area. Jig size will vary at this time of year depending on wind direction and current flow. Many veteran anglers of the Red fall walleye run will pound a heavy jig off the bottom to attract fish from a distance away.
That was again the case on this particular day, with Bryan pounding that heavier jig on the bottom. Many also bulk up their jigs with some kind of power bait over the shank of the hook, then add a couple of salted shiners over the back point of the hook. Since it is barbless, your best option is to take an elastic band and cut it in short pieces. Once your bait is on your hook, add the piece of elastic over the point of the hook to keep your minnows on.
I will sometimes hook my two minnows through the eyes for more action. Other times you can put the point of the hook through the mouth of the minnow, down through the gills, turning the minnow over to make sure the point of the hook then goes through the main body of the bait. This will help with short striking fish especially, eliminating the need for a trail or stinger hook.
Vary your action with the jig, remembering that in heavier current conditions, fish will be tight to the bottom and in shallower water. When current flow is slow, try working deeper water along the main channel. If you can anchor on a channel break with one angler shallower and the other deeper, it will increase your odds of catching fish.
Anglers from shore are also reporting excellent success in the stretch of river between Lockport and Selkirk. As for Pine Falls, lake fishing has been slow due to reduced water clarity caused by a number of days of hard north winds. There are some very good fish in the river though, and this week friend Jim Price landed a number of big fish in the river close to the boat launch.
Anglers Notes: It is an absolutely fantastic time of the year to be out on the water. Hardcore muskie anglers are reporting some tremendous action on Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River system near Minaki.