I haven’t been wade fishing as much as I would normally like to as most of my time has been spent in a boat. However, I did get a few licks in on shallow wade fishing crappie and bluegill before hopping into the old Lund to catch up with some Upper Red Lake walleye.
It seems the shallow panfish bite has been delayed some, about two weeks behind schedule I’d say, but that pretty much goes for all species. We’re just a little behind schedule but catching up quite nicely.
The past week had me fishing nearly every day, which included three trips with my brother Joel and two with cousin Terry Wickstrom. These are two of my favorite people so it’s always nice to spend a little quality family time, especially when catching fish.
Joel and I put on the waders for a great day of shallow water crappie fishing before heading north to Upper Red Lake.
Our first trip has us going out of the Tamarac River public access and heading south. Using jigs and minnows, we were catching a few fish but really got into them when we started trolling crankbaits.
A light westerly breeze had fish piled up real shallow in 5-6’ of water and a small Berkley “Flicker Shad” turned out to be just the ticket. I love this type of fishing. What fun. Especially when you tie into some of those hard-fighting sheephead, aka “fresh water drum.”
They’d slam the crankbait and put up a valiant tussle all the way to the boat. My wrist was sore when done and it took a few days to heal up!
Our second trip had us driving around the lake a bit in order to find calmer, more fishable waters. Prior to the outing, a quick check of weather conditions had me planning on putting the boat in on the south side but when we arrived I could see that just wasn’t going to happen. Large rollers were crashing the shoreline.
We ended up driving to the northeast corner of the lake and put in at Beacon Harbor Resort, which provided a protected harbor for launching and calmer waters to fish in.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t exactly calm but a lot better than the south end. It was actually too rough to troll in but we did manage one nice walleye on a crankbait before dropping anchor and watching bobbers, which everyone else was doing. This presentation allowed us to catch quite a few fish and go home with a nice limit once again.
When Terry Wickstrom showed up, I figured another day on Upper Red Lake would provide us with plenty of action like normal. However, the winds were blowing pretty good and even anchoring and using bobbers or casting jigs proved to be slow fishing. I think a lot of this had to do with the water getting muddied up like it’s famous for doing. When this happens you’re better off to stay away for a few days to let things clear up and get somewhat back to normal.
Terry and I spent our next day on a small lake in Aitkin county, where we would be teaming up with Chad Peterson. It would be a working/fishing session that would have each of us traveling from a different location. Terry would be traveling from Bemidji, Chad from Alexandria, and I from Keewatin.
The lake was picked because of it’s central location. Knowledge of it having some nice panfish also weighed heavily on the decision and for not ever having a boat on it we did quite well. Several nice bluegills, crappies, and a stray largemouth bass kept us busy while discussing the ins and outs of social media work and more. It was a good trip.
One thing I should mention before closing is the latest heavy rainfall has the Tamarac River moving pretty good. There is considerable current there and loading a boat could be a problem for some. This is something to consider if traveling that far. Of course another option would be to put one in at a protected harbor like Beacon Harbor Resort or West Wind for example.
Good luck, have fun, and be safe.
~ Greg Clusiau, HSM Outdoors