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RobG

Upper Red - What Am I Doing Wrong?

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I've been visiting Upper Red each year (annual trip) for the past 7 years.  I have had "success" in catching fish....but never really a "great day".  From conversations I have had over the years with other anglers I know that there can be some better days and some phenomenal days on Upper Red....and I realize you can't force a fish to bite.

I've spent way more than I know I should have on lures, jigs, etc.  But always wanted to make sure I had anything the fish could ever want.

I'm only able to fish Walleye once a year so I don't get a lot of time for practice.

 

Lets get this out of the way - I fly in from out of state.  I can only bring limited gear, so I am basically confined to a sleeper house.  No tents, machines, etc. to help me be mobile.  And since I am in a sleeper - I am also limited to the time I can come based on safe-ice.  Usually the week between Christmas & New-Years.

So - knowing that moving farther from the crowds, being more mobile, moving more often etc. is not an option, are there any tips you can offer to catching more fish from a fish-house?

 

I use a dead-stick in one hole.  Usually with the usual spoon and a live minnow.  Or sometimes just a plain red hook and minnow.

My other rod I jig with a minnow head and one of many jigs, lures, spoons, etc.  

 

Does my jigging need to be constant or jig, pause, jig pause?

 

I just need some basic tips or guidelines so I can get a few more fish on the line.

 

I've watched all the Ice-Team and other videos I can possibly find.  I've read everything I can find from Northland as well as everyone else.  Not much out there specifically showing or explaining what to do or how to fish in this kind of situation.  Most are about first-ice and/or they are mobile.

 

Anything you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.  I look forward to this trip every year....would just like to make it a little better of an experience.

 

Thanks!

Rob

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Sounds like next year you need to get ahold of Jonny P at Red Lake Remote Ice Fishing & Sleeper Rentals @RedLakeRemote.

He can get you out there and move ya around! 😉  He may be full this year already then. 

Edited by leech~~

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Do you have any kind of sonar? If so, are you marking fish that you are unable to catch?

 

My guess is the problem lies more in the location of the house. It is my experience that a lot of rental houses don't get moved all that often and catching fish in them is hit or miss at best. 

 

Maybe find an outfitter that can move you around in portable gear?

 

As far as specifics like what jig to use, and how to jig it etc. I would suggest asking those questions to whoever you rent the house from. They should know what is working at the time you are there and should be more than happy to help you catch fish.

 

Another question......if you have a limited time to ice fish in Minnesota and you want to catch numbers of Walleys more consistently, is there a reason you choose Red Lake? If not, I would suggest giving Lake Of The Woods a try. 

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I rented a sleeper house from Cookies a few years back. we didn't do well first nite so he moved us. we were however with 2 other groups that had castle type houses, so...……… I know he does his hardest to get you on fish. he also uses Hillmans access.

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Cookies good as is Red Lake Remote.

 

Describe in detail to Cookie or Jonny what you just described to us above.

 

Your timing is good. Honestly, the key is mobility. 

 

And yes, the fishing on URL can be awesome.

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try some bigger baits that rattle and glow or are really flashy. Something like a rippin rap,  chubby darter, clam time bomb or other big lures that make a lot of noise or have lots of beads or something that rattles to make noise. rip them high in the water until you call in fish and then jig less aggressively when fish come in closer.  

 

Are you going to catch fish on them, maybe not but they will draw in fish to your area hopefully you can entice them to bite on your other rod. or once you call them in, switch to a smaller presentation.

 

the other thing is try to target different areas of the water column. not all walleyes feed right on the bottom. the more aggressive and bigger walleye might be right below the ice or suspended up from the bottom.

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As Leech said, I would contact Johnny P with Red Lake Remotes. He used to post a lot on this site and seemed to know the lake like the back of his hand. He started a few years ago with just portable houses in order to go "remote" but now has sleeper houses.

 

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If you're confined to the sleeper then your results are going to be hit or miss and your odds of a really epic day aren't very good.  You'll probably catch some fish in the sleeper but I have yet to experience a truly great day by just staying in the sleeper.  

 

Like others have said Cookies on Red Lake is a good option.  I've stayed with him before and he moved the house for us on Saturday afternoon when we only had a handful of fish by then.  The bite didn't pick up substantially with the move but its nice to know the guy is doing everything he can to give you a good trip.   I haven't stayed with Johnny P at Red Lake Remote but I've heard nothing but good things. 

 

I think if you explained your experience to any of those guys they'll do their very best to give you an epic day but of course they can only do so much.

 

Do you usually come up with a bunch of other people or by yourself?  Maybe there is a way to get you out in a more mobile set up where you can go punch a bunch of holes and go find the fish.  From my experience there really isn't a trick to fishing Red Lake its all about moving around drilling lots of holes until you get on them.   Just find a spot without anyone else around and start drilling.  

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Thanks all for the feedback.

The very first time I visited Upper Red - it was with Johnny P and he was awesome.  However he was not out on his own like he is now.  I've followed him over the years and am impressed with his  new setup.....probably time to give him another shot with his new outfit.

After the folks that Johnny was with sold their houses to Beacon Harbor...I just followed the houses and have been using them.  Super nice people.  Always willing to offer some tips as well as move the house whenever I ask.

The reason I think Upper Red and Beacon Harbor appeals to me is that when I fly in (from Utah), I can rent my car - pick up groceries - and drive out to the house.  I only have to pay for the house rental.  Other places I've looked at on LOTW pretty much have you coming in each night...so you pay for a day house and you pay for lodging at night.

Going with others - where they take you out to your hut - I guess I just need to figure out how to pack things better so I don't feel like I am an inconvenience.  

 

When I do come up - its usually by myself.  I enjoy the solitude.  4-5 days in a house in almost total silence.  Bliss. 

However there have been times when I have brought a friend or last year I brought my son for his first trip.  He will be coming again with me this year.

I guess another part would be expenses.  Depending on the flights available...I'm spending $600-$900 just on travel to get there.  So that takes a bit of my budget and forces me to look for the most cost effective options.  Double that if I bring my son.

Maybe I'll skip next year and be back in 2020....I'll save my allowance and have a bit more to put towards Johnny or even a different lake.

 

Thanks Rundrave, I'll try the bigger options to draw them in.  I guess I am not use to using the larger baits just because of the way I am use to ice fishing.  I have the tackle....just need to be confident enough to give them a try!

 

I do have electronics...if I see fish I can usually catch them.  I agree - Its most likely location and no fish rather than not being able to catch the fish that are there.

 

Because I fly in and have to fit everything in my bag - I usually don't pack my outdoor gear (parka, bibs, boots, etc.).  But a few years ago I packed an extra bag with all that and then spent a day out of the house and hired a guide to take me out.  It was Brian "Bro".  And it was awesome.

 

I guess maybe I just need to change my frame of mind.  Plan better with being able to bring my gear, get more mobile, explore other options.  

I loved my experience with Johnny.  I'll look up Cookie as well.

 

Thanks again for all the feedback - truly appreciated.

If any of you will be on the lake the 27-31....feel free to stop by and say hello!

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Great advice and sounds like you have had some great times on the great Upper Red Lake!  The difference on Red from having a good day to a great day can be as much as moving 20 feet away!  From what you explain I would try to befriend a local or rent an ice auger and bring with the cold gear.  Rent your house like you are and then throw the auger in the car and explore or just pop holes in the area of your house so you can get out enjoy the uniqueness of fishing outside and your chances for landing more fish increases greatly opposed to hard house fishing.  Good Luck!!

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