Upper Red here we come

June 8, 2009

Faith Outdoors

I’m eagerly awaiting a unique fishing opportunity that is coming up next week. It will take place on Upper Red Lake, which has become one of the top places to catch walleyes in Minnesota.

Ever since the lake reopened to walleye fishing in 2006, it has been amazingly easy to catch walleyes in May and June. The major problem has been trying to find keeper fish outside of the protected slot of 17-26 inches. Also, there was a two-fish limit to start out with that was changed to three last year and four this year.
Things change next Monday, June 15. Because of the abundant walleye population and the relatively low harvest, the state DNR has decided to relax the slot. Starting on that date, the new slot will be 20-26 inches. So, all of those nice walleyes in the 18- and 19-inch range will become legal for shore lunch.
For days, I’ve been thinking about going up there next week with my family. And, this morning, I took action. I called Bear Paw Guides in Waskish and booked a cabin that sleeps eight. It just happened to be available next Tuesday and Wednesday. So, I jumped on it. I had stayed there a year-and-a-half ago on an ice fishing trip and had a positive experience, and I felt very comfortable going back for this trip.
I talked to the owner of the resort, Steve Brasel, and he said the fishing has been phenomenal again this year, like it has ever since the lake reopened to walleye fishing. Even better, the cool weather this spring has kept the water temperature down and the fish shallow. So, there are lots of fish in the shallows right now and he expects them to stay there at least through the end of this month, and probably into July.
I can’t wait. With my family of six, we will be able to bring home 24 walleyes, not to mention fish we will cook while we’re there. In my mind, that’s more than worth the price of a fishing license. Two of my sons are old enough to have to buy their own licenses. But, compared to some of the nonresident hunting tags we have purchased in recent years, the price is small — only $18.
As Steve mentioned, the only factor will be weather, specifically, wind. A strong wind from the north, northwest or west will make the east side of the lake that non-Indians are allowed to travel next to impossible to fish. I’m going to start praying now for calm winds on the days of our trip. Warmer temperatures would help, too. I looked at the weather forecast for the area and the mercury is supposed to climb later this week.
Lookout, walleyes, here we come!
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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek