Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/10/2015 (2104 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
IS it trick or treat time on the Red River? From year to year, one never knows what the fall will bring in terms of angling success for walleye on the Red River from Lake Winnipeg to Lockport.
Then, last week, I was able to get out on the Red River at Selkirk. While anglers fishing closer to Lake Winnipeg have been having sporadic success for about a month, more recently those fish have moved up to the traditional areas closer to the locks. Stretches of river such as Doc Reeds, the Power Plant and the Miracle Mile all have a place in Manitoba fishing folklore. They have become legendary over the years for the mind-numbing catches of green-hued walleye made there.
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 reduction of water levels in 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 is 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 years 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. Fortunately, 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, Phil Brake and I arrived at the Selkirk boat launch just before noon. By 5 p.m., we were loading the boat back on the trailer, having enjoyed hours of non-stop fishing action. While the majority of the fish we caught were small saugers, we also caught enough big fish and walleye to make it a day to remember.
We headed out from the launch towards the locks, anchoring the boat in 4.5 metres 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.
Monday, we only needed one anchor because of a lack of wind, combined with relatively low current speed. When the wind picked up in 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 15 centimetres. For whatever reason, it really makes them mad, and they just slam the jig. I was using a half-ounce Fire-Ball jig hooked with two salted shiner minnows when I caught the biggest fish of the day. It was probably the fattest walleye I've ever caught, with a girth that almost matched its length. I didn't weigh the fish, but it was heavy. Hopefully this run of fish lasts for a while longer.
Angler's notes: Since 2009, Fish Futures Inc. has facilitated a fish-themed artwork contest for children, and the winning entry is featured on the cover of the Manitoba Youth Angling Card. Each year highlights a different fish species, and entries must include a short paragraph about the fish and its habitat. More than 40,000 Youth Angling Cards are distributed free to children in Manitoba each year. The feature fish for 2016 Youth Angling Card Artwork Contest is the lake sturgeon.
This year's competition will offer cash, prizes and local celebrity in early years (kindergarten to Grade 4) and middle years (grades 5 to 8) divisions. We will also translate all materials into French so the 100-plus French and francophone schools in Manitoba can participate.
Thanks to the Fisheries Enhancement Fund for their continued support. John Toone and I will be visiting schools in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba to promote the contest.