Fishing Report on Red Lake


Anglers trolling crankbaits or jigging with minnows dragged along the bottom successfully catch walleyes in four to 15 feet of water, with pink/white, blue/white, and orange/chartreuse hues being among the more effective patterns.

This large lake in north central Minnesota was an abundant commercial and sport fishery until overharvest decimated its natural walleye population during the 1970s. State, tribal, and federal managers have since implemented recovery strategies, including a total walleye harvest moratorium and increased enforcement to restore it to its former glory.

Fishing Report

An accurate fishing report can provide crucial guidance regarding where and what baits to fish with, which is vital information for anglers who wish to increase their odds of success. One well-known rule says it all: location is everything! This rule holds particularly true when freshwater fishing, where differences of up to 30 miles between catching plenty of fish or none at all may determine success on similar lakes.

A comprehensive fishing report should be created weekly or monthly, including information regarding fish activity, popular baits and lures, weather conditions, and fishing regulations. Fishermen of all experience levels use these reports to make more informed decisions when planning their next fishing adventure.

Walleye fishing in Minnesota reservoirs has been excellent and typical. Walleyes reaching 20″ are often caught, while some were approaching 25″. Largemouth bass, northern pike, and jumbo black crappie can also be found here.

Striper fishing can be excellent if you can locate schools of shad. Schools of these fish can often be found near the Bill Williams buoy line, Chalk Cliffs, and river mouth. Trolling with 1-2oz spoons like Eagle Pointer 100s or 128/158s chartreuse Shad or white Ratl Trap has proven successful for this species; alternatively, using a 4′ throw net (the most significant legal size available) with snag hooks has proven equally productive for this species; bass are hitting deep diving crankbaits as well as two hook Alabama rigs.

Attentive anglers may observe large shad boils on the main lake in the morning and afternoon. These aggressive fish will chase bait around coves where they school up on dragonflies or more profound points, corralling more fish into back corners of structures.

On this pristine lake is also available an outstanding channel catfish bite – 15 to 35-foot fish caught using cut mackerel or squid baits.

Crankbaits and Jigs

Last week’s subzero temperatures meant the upper Red Lake ice was in good shape. Resorts and rental houses continued expanding their ice roads – some now covering 24 miles into its midsection – while walleyes continued to be caught from various spots; some anglers found success fishing rocks while others discovered them cruising deep mud beds.

No matter your target species or water conditions, crankbaits can often prove effective at drawing out bites where other lures fall short. Their fast search action helps trigger responses from feeding fish that slower baits might have otherwise put off.

There is an expansive variety of crankbaits with various diving profiles today. When selecting baits for fishing depth-dependent conditions, depth evaluation should be vital. When fishing shallow water, you should use shallow divers; when moving into the 5-10 foot range, medium diving crankbaits should be switched for deeper diving ones and vice versa.

Jerkbaits are an effective crankbait option on the ice, designed to create an unpredictable and erratic fluttering action that mimics that of injured or distressed baitfish, drawing strikes from multiple predatory species like northern pike and bass.

As the water temperatures drop, look for deeper walleye bites to develop. Vertical jigging programs with heavy jigs tipped with minnows in 30-45 feet of water are proven fall walleye tactics on LOW. Muskellunge are also caught along weed edges and deep mud using spinner rigs or jigs tipped with minnows as a proven fall tactic for walleye fishing.

Upper Red is well-known for its nomadic walleye population, making patterning slightly more challenging than other area lakes. To overcome this difficulty, Benson has devised his approach for tracking these roaming walleyes – this method involves locating structures likely to hold fish before targeting these spots on certain days of the week – it has earned him recognition as an expert on this highly productive Minnesota walleye lake.

Shallow Water Bite

Stream trout anglers have had success fishing shallow waters near downed trees, main lake points, and weed beds, with small jigging spoons tipped with half a crawler or grub being particularly effective – especially early in the morning when small baitfish bite.

Smallmouth bass have recently made their presence known on area lakes. Shallow boulder flats around islands and shorelines are home to hungry smallies; fishing large minnow baits under bobbers or soft plastics with hair jigs is an effective way to catch these fish.

As surface temperatures warm, walleye fishing has increased this last week. Reports of limits being caught can be found across both north and south sides of Minnesota – particularly on Upper Red Lake, Winnibigoshish, Lake of the Woods south shore, and Parsons also reports excellent catches on Mille Lacs, Leech Lake, Spicer-New London area lakes as well as other locations.

Crappie populations on Upper Red Lake experienced an explosion during the late ’90s and early 2000s as overfishing on state and tribal waters caused walleye numbers to plummet, virtually overnight becoming Waskish from ghost town to boom town with slab crappies of 14 inches commonplace and enjoyed by thousands of anglers each year.

Over the years, numerous factors have led to the fluctuation of crappie populations on Lake Champlain, including fluctuations in water levels, overfishing, ponding, and changes in spawning habitat. A crappie population crash is often followed by an influx of predatory species into the ecosystem.

As a result, predators have been eating many crappies each year, reducing numbers for anglers and fisheries alike. Although this has been beneficial overall, it also means more and larger crappies are being eaten each year by predators. Conservation efforts in this region and across the nation remain crucial as maintaining our fisheries is our heritage, and we should pass it down for future generations to enjoy.

Drifting Spinners

Red Lake, a Band of Ojibwe-owned lakes, continues offering excellent walleye fishing action this fall as temperatures cool. Anglers fishing out of shallower waters near the south end have found success drifting with spinners through shallower waters on either end – often finding walleye, sauger, sunfish, big pike, and even an occasional crappie!

To maximize success, the key is getting baits quickly into the feeding zone. This can be accomplished through trolling crankbaits or casting jigs, with gold, orange, and perch being particularly productive colors.

Anglers have also had success using lindy rigs tipped with leeches or half-crawlers as well as pitching jigs into current areas near rocky flats and windy shorelines on the south end of Lake Superior, pitching into current near 6-10 feet deep water depth as optimal spots. Some walleyes have even been caught in shallower water this week!

As the mayfly hatch wanes and crayfish migrate deeper, walleyes can still be found throughout a lake for anglers willing to put in the effort. A live minnow under a bobber may still produce fish; however, anglers may want to use either jig-tipped with crawlers or spinner rigs with leeches lures for optimal success.

Anglers fishing the deeper waters off reefs and wrecks have found success catching Snapper, Grouper, and various aquatic species with this technique. Drifting mid-depth can produce Mahi Mahi or Wahoo, while trolling on the surface can bring Bonito or Sailfish.

Crappie fishing has subsided dramatically as 90% of spawning crappies in northern Minnesota have completed their spawning runs. But as summer progresses, this could change as more crappies transition away from their traditional spawning locations and patterns and into “post spawn” feeding patterns and backgrounds. Anglers can still use conventional post-spawn tactics to catch some nice panfish; look out for large groups of smaller active crappies to see some!