OPEN­ING DAY:

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - OUTDOORS DROP A -

For those of you who don’t want to travel long dis­tances, look no fur­ther than the mighty Red River. With man­age­able wa­ter flows and de­cent wa­ter tem­per­a­tures, the cat­fish and wall­eye should be bit­ing. I will never for­get the trip we had last May at Lock­port with Jeff and Ni­co­las Con­nelly from Swan River. Jeff had asked me to take them out as a 16th birth­day present for his son Ni­co­las. It was a cold, windy but sunny day with fast, dirty wa­ter con­di­tions. No mat­ter, the big chan­nel cat­fish were hun­gry af­ter a long win­ter of in­ac­tiv­ity. We an­chored on the side of two cur­rent seams, a per­fect spot to con­gre­gate bait­fish. We didn’t find the spot by ac­ci­dent, but had seen scores of fish ris­ing non­stop in this lit­tle area by the locks. Us­ing cut sucker for bait on # 5 cir­cle hooks, we had the fish­ing day of a life­time. Don’t only think the cat­fish will be bit­ing: I can re­mem­ber one other spring with the con­di­tions on the Red River like they are cur­rently. It was the open­ing of fish­ing sea­son and we had launched our boat at the End of Main. We jour­neyed out into the main river right by the out­flow of Net­ley Creek with a bright sun over­head and a south wind blow­ing. Check­ing the depth finder I started mark­ing some fish in three me­tres of wa­ter. An­chor­ing the boat, we dropped down ¼ ounce jigs tipped with salted shin­ers. On this par­tic­u­lar day, work­ing the lure did not help in the least. In fact all our wall­eye were caught sit­ting our rods on the side of the boat. You could see our rod tips twitch slightly, then dip down just so sub­tly. By lift­ing our rods straight up, we were able to get a good hook set on th­ese light biters. Like in most fish­ing sit­u­a­tions, it pays to ex­per­i­ment. As most an­glers know, stocked trout are fair game all year long. Our small trout lakes have been ice free in most cases for a few days now. Smaller, shal­lower lakes in North­west On­tario also are ice free for the most

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A Big Ver­mil­lion Lake lake trout.

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