I can tell it's fall time just by the number of emails I get asking how the walleye bite is on the Red River! Still not good is the answer, but improving. I spent some time this past week reviewing my articles and notes from past years on the fall fishing on the Red. While last year was really good, there were a number of factors that contributed to the excellent bite. Good current flow, decent water quality and cooler temperatures along with prolonged north winds make greenback walleye fishing much better on the Red River north of Lockport.
A lot also depends on whether the emerald shiner run is strong. It's a simple equation; a ton of bait in the river will call in numbers of walleye. Since there's nothing like first-hand experience, two friends and I headed out Thursday to check things out.
Launching at Selkirk Park, we tried all the local hot spots and a couple of others as well. We ended up catching seven nice walleye, none bigger than two kilograms though. Four of them were caught trolling crankbaits along the main river channel in three metres of water and the others came on a jig tipped with a salted shiner minnow. Other anglers were catching walleye this way from an anchored position. We did do some drift fishing with little success. We did find some current, but it was mostly within two kilometres of Lockport and it certainly held the most fish, including a large number of hungry saugers. When the water temperature is still 16 C like it was Thursday, you will catch a wide variety of species. This day we caught pike, white bass, drum, stone cats, goldeye, sauger and walleye, enough to make the day very enjoyable.
OCTOBER IS BEST: Last year, the action really picked up the first week in October after we had a week of cooler temperatures combined with north winds. My first day out, a strong south wind had cranked up current as all the water that had been piled up in the river from the lake with the north wind during the week emptied out. This had the fish on the bit and it was not-stop action all day. I would anticipate this will probably be the case again this year, but there are enough fish in the system to make it a worthwhile trip.
ANGLERS NOTES: Our annual fishing trip to Moak Lodge the last week in August was even better than we could have imagined, especially for large walleye. Cross Bay produced walleye in the three- to four-kilogram range along with a number of master angler pike. Check out the trip on my blog at www.completeangler.net.
I think it is one of the best drive-to fisheries anywhere!