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RobG

Upper Red - Average Ice?

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I live in Utah but have visited Upper Red several times over the past 5-6 years.  I have planned trips as late as the 2nd week of Feb and last year was there between X-Mas and New Years.  The ice last year prevented the houses from being moved out very far and I could not drive my own vehicle out on the ice.

I have planned my trip this year for the 2nd week in January and am just curious to know what the locals have heard about ice potential and weather predictions for this year.

 

So far my best trip was only 7 fish in one day.  Last year only 4 fish over 4 days.

I know there is a lot that goes into that....location, noise, moving around, etc.

I am just trying to plan ahead.  Being that I am in a house the whole time I don't pack my 2nd bag with my snow suit or winter gear.

This year....if it looks like the conditions may limit house movement and locations I want to be prepared by bringing my gear so I can rent a snowmobile and be a lot more mobile and catch a lot more fish.

Although my main reason for the trips is to enjoy the absolutely beautiful Northern MN area and to get away and enjoy the solitude (I fish alone and don't bring anyone with me).....catching a few more fish would be a bonus!

 

Any thoughts - info - suggestions would be appreciated.

And - thank you to all the locals who over the years has made my trips to the Bemidji and Upper Red area so much fun and made me feel very welcome.

Rob

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I've never been upset having my warm gear with me.  Sometimes without moving the house you can hop outside 50 feet away and hole hop and bring in fish that never go near the shack.

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Typically, if fish catching is most important, the earlier you go in the season the better the fishing(before Jan 1st).  

 

We have mild temps forecast for the next 7 days, then overnight lows in the low teens thereafter.  My guess would be foot travel somewhere around Dec. 14 if forecast holds.  Some may go out earlier than that.   But there are so many variables, so who knows....

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18 minutes ago, RobG said:

 

So far my best trip was only 7 fish in one day.  Last year only 4 fish over 4 days.

 

If the current forecast holds up, the lake should be locked up by 12/10.  Maybe a bit sooner...not sure on the water temps up there, and you just don't know what the wind will do.  You'll be fine for your trip in January unless something crazy happens.

 

Only 7 fish on your best day.....are you using a flasher?  

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Rob,

  My son and I were up on URL last year also between Xmas and New Years in a rental house, and had the slowest fishing I've ever had there.  Most of that was due to houses just being put out, and them being right on the road, and on Red you do not want traffic near you all day/night long.  That and the water was very cloudy compared to prior years where I was (out of Beacon Harbor).

I've only fished the east and north side in permanents in years past, mostly out of Hillmans, Westwinds and Beacons since it reopened, so can't vouch for the south shore.

  Of course last year was the year I decided not to haul my sled and portable up and regretted it.  The guys in the house next to me actually drove to Bemidji and bought a portable and came back so they could go out further, which did pay some dividends for them.  If you want to know how the ice is shaping up, check out Tyler and BearPaw Guides facebook page. He is usually the first one on URL to post an ice fishing report, and he is on the lake daily.  

   Based on the fact that the lake is mostly open right now, and the 7 day forecast is not that cool, I really dont see houses being out any earlier than last year (and I see no way that there is an access open on the 9th allowing folks out fishing).  You may hit it just right and your time frame may end up being part of "early ice" this year as far as houses on the ice goes.   

   It seems funny to sit here and think of 2 years ago, when my son (12 at the time) and I went up to URL the day after Thanksgiving and fished with the wheeler/portable on 13" of clear good ice.  We caught 73 walleyes in just over 8 hours that afternoon and the next morning, and saw trucks and small houses heading out of Rogers well offshore.  Today, you could be out in your boat in the 37 degree drizzle they are having. 

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2 hours ago, Xplorer said:

 

   It seems funny to sit here and think of 2 years ago, when my son (12 at the time) and I went up to URL the day after Thanksgiving and fished with the wheeler/portable on 13" of clear good ice.  We caught 73 walleyes in just over 8 hours that afternoon and the next morning, and saw trucks and small houses heading out of Rogers well offshore.  Today, you could be out in your boat in the 37 degree drizzle they are having. 

 

We were up that same weekend after Thanksgiving 2 years ago.  Drove my 1/2 ton and 20', and my cousin drove his 3/4 ton and 20'.  Somewhere around 1 mile out on the south shore.  Absolutely SLAYED the walleyes.  I don't remember the numbers, but it was well over 100 fish per day per house.      

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4 hours ago, Lip_Ripper Guy said:

 

We were up that same weekend after Thanksgiving 2 years ago.  Drove my 1/2 ton and 20', and my cousin drove his 3/4 ton and 20'.  Somewhere around 1 mile out on the south shore.  Absolutely SLAYED the walleyes.  I don't remember the numbers, but it was well over 100 fish per day per house.      

+1 there.  That was an epic trip although our numbers were probably closer to 40 fish per day per house, between 2 castles.  

Only time I can remember actually reeling up the rattle wheels at night so,we could sleep cause we just didn't care about catching more fish lol.

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If you would like to look for yourself,Rob, try googling MODIS. It's daily sattelite imagery from the University of Wisconsin that I use,when it's not too cloudy, for 1st ice & ice out. 

Edited by gunner55

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LRG and RCN,

  Wasn't that just an insane bite!!

We got up there at noon on Friday, took the wheeler and Otter out, but went west of the pressure ridge out from Rogers (the road was on the east side where all the trucks/houses were going).  We had an area all to ourselves.  Between 12:30 and 4:30 we literally had to stop fishing 4 lines, and concentrate on just 1 apiece.  We ended up with 47 fish when we headed in to shore, and kept 4 for dinner.  Slept in one of Up Norths sleeper houses onshore, and we were back on the ice at 8:30am, in the exact same spot.  We put another 26 on the ice by noon, kept our 8 (limit was 4 that weekend) and headed back home.  

    Truly was one of those "you had to be there" bites :D:D

   

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Thanks for all the comments.  I'm encouraged by what has been shared.

Yes - I always have and use a flasher....or two.

My first trip several years ago was with Patsy & Kelly.  Johnny P was checking in on me several times and they did move me around.  That year I was a few miles out and away from everyone.  The years from then until last year I have been in several locations.  I caught fish but nothing like any of the reports I read about.

Before I hit Upper Red last year I spent a day with "Bro" on Island Lake and did pretty good.

Reading the post from Xplorer I realized that I spoke with him the day we were both coming off the ice.  He had mentioned the trip with his son the year before.  I am pretty sure I was a house or two down from him last year.

I am pretty sure that I have all the right gear (likely way too much gear....everything possible) and was fishing the correct way.  But as a few pointed out...and I agree....being in a house right on a busy road and not being able to get away from everyone I am sure had a huge impact on the fishing.

Last year, other than the fishing, it was an absolute pleasure to go out of Beacon Harbor with Ann & John Westphall.  They did everything they could to make sure I enjoyed my trip.

I realize that early ice is best.  I guess for the earliest ice I would need to come earlier and go out on a sled or wheeler and stay in a cabin or the like.  I've fished different weeks in Dec through early Feb in the houses and have been limited on the time slot based on safe ice for the houses as well as my schedule to fly out.

Since I fly in from UT.....I don't have the luxury of bringing ALL of my fishing arsenal.  It's not easy to pack a sled, auger, gear, and winter clothing.  So I have to make some sacrifices and make the best of what I can do.  I typically land in Bemidji late, stay in a hotel then head up the following morning after stopping at Walmart and buying food, drink, pillow, etc.

Financially it works better for me to stay in a sleeper and pay that price rather than pay for a day house and a room at night.  Plus I pretty much fish 24/7.

All that said.....Again, your comments and thoughts have me feeling pretty good that by the time I can get there the ice will at lest be safe enough for the houses to be out farther and away from the traffic.  That at least takes one negative out of the equation. 

Looking forward to the trip - thanks again!!!

Rob

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Jeez...sure looks like you were on the right track with outfitters/guides.  I think you had a couple of "unlucky" trips, but you are bound to get a good one.  When they are on, they are ON!

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I was on upper red the same weekend as you last year and we had horrible luck inside the house, but much like you our house was limited to shallow water due to the poor ice conditions.  Once we got out of the house and out to 14' of water our luck completely changed.  The key is getting away from the crowds and being in the right depth.  You don't need to be far away from the groups, but a the less noise the better.  That being said i would definitely bring warm gear.  I would also suggest downloading the Navionics App if you don't have it.  Many people consider Red a flat bowl, but that is not the case at all.  The Navionics app can help locate the small humps and changes in structure that walleye love.  I'll be up there the weekend of January 6th and am keeping my fingers crossed that the arctic air makes it way here so we can get some good clean ice!

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Not 100% positive on this so maybe someone else can back me up, but another option would be to book a trip with Brad Hawthorne during the early ice on URL. He has a facebook page and I am pretty sure he will take you out on a wheeler or I know he has a large bombardier for later in the year. He runs Otter portables and has been a guide on Upper Red for quite a few years.

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Thanks for the info - I'll look him up.

Would be nice to leave the hut for a half day!

Thanks!

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