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image links to fishrapper home page June 24, 2024 "Upper Red Lake Walleye Report"

image of Justin Wiese holding a nice walleye caught on a Wheezy Outdoors fishing charterI ’m not the type of fisherman who insists on using Shiner minnows, but I do have an idea that using them helped us when we fished on Upper Red Lake this weekend. The difference was not apparent in the number of fish caught, but using spottails did appear to make a difference in the average size of walleyes boated.

Take my advice with a grain of salt because the sample group was small, only 2 boats, mine and Justin Wiese’s. But that said, both of us were fishing with jigs and minnows, both of us had equally competent crews, and because it was a group trip, both of us were fishing within a couple hundred yards of each other along the same shallow breakline. Both boats caught plenty of fish, in fact I’d say it was nearly equal. Fish for fish though, the anglers fishing with shiners caught more quality size walleyes, while the anglers’ using fatheads caught more small fish.

Now I’m not saying that the fathead fishermen never caught any larger fish, they did. That said though, on average, there was a difference that became especially apparent at the end of the day. In the fish cleaning shack, after all the catching was done, we compared the finished product from each boat and the shiner anglers had a larger average fish.

The reason you should take my advice in this case is not because I fish a lot and always use shiner minnows. No, your reason for taking my working theory seriously is that I fish a lot, and almost never use shiners, most days I could care less what type of minnows I fish with. In fact, on most trips, the only reason I buy them is because my customers insist on me having some on hand. The reason I bought them on Saturday was that experience has taught me that Upper Red Lake is one place where the do, occasionally, make a difference. So, if you’re headed that way, and your favorite bait shop still has spottails, take some with you and test my theory for yourself.

Here are a few other clues we picked up about Red Lake this weekend:

  • Water levels are high and temperatures remain cool. I warmest ready I saw anyplace was 69.7 degrees and the average temperature was about 68.5 degrees.
  • Walleyes still inhabit shallow water, we found ours in water depths of 3.5 to 4.5 feet of water. We did observe folks fishing slightly deeper than that, and we did pick up a few fish in 5 to 6 feet of water, but the “sweet spot” for me, was 4.0 feet.
  • Jig and minnow is still the “go-to” presentation. Maybe it’s because water temps remain cool, maybe something else is making them hungry for this presentation but whatever the reason, they struck the jigs often, and they hit them aggressively. We had our best luck using 1/16-ounce Lindy Live Bait Jigs and 1/16-ounce Mission Tackle round head jigs. The only colors we used were Lindy’s pink/glow and gold, the Mission Tackle jigs were gold sparkle, one of Wiese’s personal favorites. Because of the calm water, fan casting and retrieving using a sharp hop-drop-reel, hop-drop-reel motion was most effective.
  • Some anglers were also catching walleyes by trolling crankbaits. Which lures they were using I can’t say, we never had the chance to talk with any of the trollers, I just saw them landing fish occasionally. I don’t think they caught fish as frequently though, but that’s only my observation of a half dozen boats.
  • Weeds appeared to influence the walleye location this weekend. The water was calm, so the fish didn’t appear to be roaming free, they were holding fairly tight to the thin, wispy weed growth that grows along the north shore. I attempted to identify the specific plants but could not find any aquatic vegetation survey for Upper Red on the DNR Lake finder website. I guess it doesn’t matter because except for bulrushes, these are the only type of weeds I’ve encountered on that lake. So, if you find any weeds, they’re probably the same ones.
  • Speaking of bulrushes, we cast into some of them hoping that there were pike or crappies in them. We did not catch any of either species, we did pick up some additional walleyes there, and also a half dozen sheepshead, but that was it.

It didn’t make a difference to us at the time, but we spent the entire day thinking that the walleye limit was still 3 fish per person. We were happy with the 3 fish limit, but I learned since then that on June 15, 2024, the walleye possession limit reverted to 4 fish, same as the 2023 regulations. On certain trips, that error could have upset my customers, luckily that wasn’t an issue on this trip.

image of fresh caught walleyes prepare at the Gosh Dam Place restaurant near Deer River Minnesota The protected slot limit remains the same, anglers are allowed 1 walleye over 17 inches in possession, all others must be 16.99 inches, or shorter. I suggest measuring extra carefully, we encountered several fish that measured between 16.75 and 17.01 inches, it would be easy to make a mistake right now.

At the end of our day, the full 6 man crew, along with I and "Wheezy" shared a table at the Gosh Dam Place. The GDP offers anglers a "bring in your own catch" fish fry and we took advantage of that. Coleslaw, beans, 3 or 4 choices of potatoes and of course fresh caught fish makes a great meal and they always do a great job preparing it. If you haven't already, check it out, you won't be disappointed.

All things considered, I was pleased with the trip and would go back again if the situation warrants. But I’ve learned that not everyone agrees, some folks I’ve talked to say that they have experienced slow fishing. That makes me believe that it could take some time to locate a school of active walleyes. If you’re willing to make that time investment, then I think you’ll do okay. If not, it might be a longer drive than necessary. I’ll leave that decision up to you. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or Email

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish June 24, 2024 "How to Fish a Jerkbait for Walleyes"

image links to fishing video about catching walleyes using jerk baits"Join Nick Dumke as he explores the effective use of jerkbaits for targeting walleye in crystal-clear waters. This detailed tutorial showcases the perfect strategy for anglers looking to elevate their walleye fishing game using hard baits. Jerkbaits, specifically, remain overlooked yet are one of the best lures for triggering walleyes.

HOW TO FISH JERKBAITS FOR WALLEYES: Dumke provides a step-by-step guide on how to fish jerkbaits effectively as the tutorial unfolds. He focuses on the nuances of movement—how to twitch and pause the bait to mimic vulnerable prey. This section is rich with tips on adjusting the jerkbait’s action based on the observed behavior of walleye, which he tracks using ..." View Video and Learn More >> How to Fish a Jerkbait for Walleyes

You Are Invited To Become A Duly Deputized Fishrapper Cub Reporter

image links to fishrapper facebook page If you've been waiting for a gold engraved invitation to participate in the daily reports, then stop waiting and consider this your own personal invitation.

Helping your fellow fishermen and women stay abreast of fishing conditions in your area is good for everybody and it's easier than you think! You don't have to write a book, you don't have to share your secret fishing spots and you don't even have to mention your lake. But even a few words about general trends, seasonal patterns and local weather conditions can really help.

Be like me, become a duly deputized "Cub Reporter", it's good for fishing! Contact Us or if you prefer to be "social", Fishing Reports Minnesota, the Facebook counterpart to this page is open to the public, so you can post your own fishing update or just share a photo of a nice catch.

image links to fishrapper home page May 20, 2024 "A Tale of Two ... Upper Red Lakes"

image of Roger Will and Bill Linder holding a pair of walleyes they caught on Upper Red Lake The headline news from two writers, each writing reports about the fishing on Upper Red Lake on Friday but with different deadlines, might look something like this.

Version 1) The fishing on Red Lake was phenomenal, despite sunshine and calm seas, walleyes crammed in shallow water provided steady action throughout the afternoon and early evening. Walleyes struck our jig and minnow combinations aggressively when cast into 3 to 4 feet of water.

Version 2) Walleye fishing on Red Lake just isn’t what it used to be. We moved steadily along the shoreline, trying spot-after-spot, but the best we could manage was the occasional single strike.  It was disappointing to see that this is all that’s left of the walleye population on this once great fishing lake.

So, why the sharp contrast between the two accounts? In my opinion, it all boils down to timing. The timing of the day was definitely one factor, but timing of the season came into play yesterday too, I think.

image of boat ramp at the Tamarack River in Washkish MN During the morning, conditions overhead looked great. There were clouds in the sky, and a light southeast wind forced a heavy ripple on the water. On most lakes, anglers would be champing at the bit to make their first casts over the shallow breakline.

Visually though, conditions below the surface told a different story. The water was turbid and cold, water flowing in from the Tamarack River was 50 degrees, and along the east shore, temperatures ranged from 53 to 56 degrees. Runoff from early morning rainfall made the water murky too, I recall thinking that it was odd to see after fishing on the gin clear water at Lake Winnie.

In my opinion, Upper Red Lake seldom provides really good fishing on days when the lake is churned up like that. For me, this lake gets supercharged whenever there settled water and stable weather. Luckily, that’s what happened later in the day.

Around noon, the clouds gave way to sunshine and the air temperature began rising. Because we were fishing on the calm side of the lake, the sun warmed the water and the murkiness began clearing up. About 2:00 PM, I started seeing large clouds of baitfish, mostly shiners I think, forming along the shoreline break. At first, they were in 6 to 7 feet of water but eventually moved shallower across the flat.

By 3:00 PM the surface temperature was 59.5 degrees, and the shallow water was once populated with walleyes. Casting 1/8-ounce jigs into 3 feet of water and retrieving them with an upward hop-drop-hop-drop motion triggered strikes. The turnaround was stunning, in short order, the action changed from slow, to fast.

image of walleye caught on one of the original Jeff Sundin's Bug Eyed Shorty fishing jigAt 1:00 PM my livewell contained 4 or 5 walleyes that had taken the entire morning to accumulate. By 3:15 PM, we had filled our limits and were releasing fish, as you can see in the photo, sometimes 2 at once. We left the lake at exactly 3:58 PM over having caught and released about 20 fish, give, or take.

Bill and Roger, I learned yesterday, were celebrating the 25th anniversary of our shared fishing experiences. This explains how Roger would have been fishing with a collector’s item. That’s right, the original, hand painted “Bug Eyed Shorty” was an original BE-18-353 produced by Jeff Sundin during the Jigs ‘n’ Rigs era.

Nowadays, you can still get these jigs from Lindy, but when they first began producing them, Lindy rejected the idea of producing them in this color. Luckily, the current lineup of colors in Lindy’s versions of my original jigs works too. For us, walleyes bit well on the chartreuse green, and gold too. I tried orange for a time and discovered that the sheepsheads like that color better than the walleyes did.

On Friday morning one of the AIS inspectors that I know summed up the first week of fishing on Upper Red Lake by saying, “Overall, the walleye fishing hasn’t been as good this spring as it was last year. Folks are still catching fish though, and they are mostly getting their limits, it just takes a little longer this year”.

Maybe the slower average catch rates have something to do with the cooler temperatures, maybe not. But I was reminded that spring didn’t spring as early in Washkish as it did in the Grand Rapids area. It’s likely that continued warming of the water will trigger increasing fish activity in the coming days and weeks.

On Saturday, I would have loved to take Ken Seufert back to Upper Red Lake. Unfortunately, the forecast called for strong west winds to blow in during late morning. So, Saturday morning, we opted for fishing on Winnibigoshish instead and there will be several more fresh reports from Winnie in the coming days.

Wherever we go from here, I do believe you can be confident in catching some walleyes on Red. You just might to fish with determination to figure out the pattern. fish smiley image — Office Cell Call or Text 218-245-9858 or EMAIL

image links to wired2fish Wired2Fish "Comparing LakeMaster, Navionics and C-Map"

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Each map can have varying contours and preloaded structure depending on how recent your map is. There are numerous different mapping companies available who all offer a different variety of maps, each of which has their own benefits. Some of the most popular companies include C-Map, Navionics and LakeMaster. This feature will cover some of the most important aspects of choosing and utilizing the best map for you to ..."Learn More >> Comparing LakeMaster, Navionics and C-Map