Breckenridge woman wins Drayton catfish tourney

Jessica Andel of Breckenridge, Minn., landed a 20.7-pound catfish to capture first place and the top prize of $1,600 Saturday at the Rod & Reel Rally Catfishing Tournament on the Red River in Drayton, N.D.

Jessica Andel (left) of Breckenridge, Minn., landed this 20.7-pound catfish Saturday to win the Rod and Reel Rally Catfishing Tournament on the Red River in Drayton, N.D. Holding the fish is Andrea Knutson of Red River Resort in Drayton.

A total of 112 anglers in 40 boats fished the tournament, weighing in 53 catfish.

Rounding out the top 10 whoppers were:

Second:  Jake Toward, Fargo, 17.3 pounds, $750.
Third: Michael Kostrzewski, Crookston, 16.5 pounds, $400.
Fourth: Rick Lillie, Forest City, Iowa, 15.6 pounds, $250.
Fifth: Roger Anderson, Halma, Minn., 15.55 pounds,   $175.
Sixth: Ryan Krueger, Barrows, Minn., 15.5 pounds, $125.
Seventh: Brad Andel, Breckenridge, Minn., 15 pounds, $125.
Eighth: Matt Klocke, Fargo, 14.7 pounds, $125.
Ninth: Brian Rud, Stephen, Minn., 14.5 pounds, $125.
Tenth: Randy Schuster, Drayton, 14.5 pounds, $100.

In the Slot Fish category, Greg Winskowski of Stephen landed a 5.6-pound cat that was worth $200, and Mya Ganssle of Grand Forks finished second in the category with a 5.2-pound catfish to win $100.

Taking the “Weenie” prize for smallest fish was Colin Schuster of Drayton, with a 6-inch “kitty” that won him $90.

 

High water forces organizers to postpone Drayton catfish tourney

High water on the Red River has forced organizers of the 13th annual Rod and Reel Rally Catfishing Tournament near Drayton, N.D., to postpone the competition until Aug. 24.

The tournament originaly was scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21 at Hastings Landing Recreation Area in downtown Drayton.

Prizes and entry fees will remain the same. Entry fees are available at Red River Bait Shop, (701) 454-6184 and KXPO Radio in Grafton, N.D., at (701) 352-0431. More info: chamber@draytonND.com or

High water on the Red River has forced organizers of the 13th annual Rod and Reel Rally Catfishing Tournament near Drayton, N.D., to postpone the competition until Aug. 24.

The tournament originaly was scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21 at Hastings Landing Recreation Area in downtown Drayton.

Prizes and entry fees will remain the same. Entry fees are available at Red River Bait Shop, (701) 454-6184 and KXPO Radio in Grafton, N.D., at (701) 352-0431. More info: chamber@draytonND.com or draytonnd.com.

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Closing out 2012 on the ice

I closed out 2012 on a fine note, fishing three out of the last four days of the year.

Friday, a friend and I joined Darwin Sumner and Daris Rosebear of Seven Clans Casino in Red Lake, Minn., for a day of trout fishing on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. This winter, for the first time, the band is allowing nontribal members to fish four small lakes on the reservation stocked with rainbow trout and brook trout.

To fish the lakes, nontribal members must be accompanied by a reservation guide, and Seven Clans Casino is offering fully outfitted trout-fishing trips throughout the winter months. In other words, just show up and they’ll provide the gear and heated portable fish houses. A one-day license costs $10, and longer-length licenses also are available. Because the Red Lake Indian Reservation is a sovereign nation, regulations differ from state-managed waters in Minnesota, and a trout stamp isn’t required.

An average-size rainbow trout from a small lake in the Red Lake Indian Reservation. (Brad Dokken photo)

The lakes might be small, but the trout are dandies. One of us who shall remain nameless had trouble putting fish on the ice, but the trout mostly cooperated, and “we” landed several rainbows ranging from 16 inches to 22 inches. No brook trout were landed, but my fishing partner lost one at the hole.

We fished two small lakes and didn’t see another person the entire day. The scenery and the quality of fishing rivals the kind of experience you might expect venturing into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in winter — within a 2½-hour drive of Grand Forks.

I’ll have a story about the reservation’s trout fishing opportunities in Sunday’s Northland Outdoors Section. For more information on the reservation’s winter trout excursions, click here:

Saturday, I ventured north to join longtime friend and fishing partner Jim Stinson of Lockport, Man., to try our luck on Lake Winnipeg and the Red River.

Hmmm … where do I go now? Trying to navigate a large expanse of rough ice Sunday on Lake Winnipeg proved to be a challenge even by snowmobile (Brad Dokken photo)

Late Sunday morning, as we drove snowmobiles onto the massive expanse of Lake Winnipeg, we were greeted by several miles of some of the roughest ice I’ve ever seen. Jagged shards of ice, some more than 3 feet tall, covered one area of the lake for what seemed to be several miles in every direction, preventing us from reaching one of our time-proven fishing spots.

The rough ice forced us to backtrack and search for a smoother place to set up the portable, but we finally had our lines in the water about 12:30 p.m. Considering we basically picked a spot at random, fishing wasn’t bad at all, and we landed 10 walleyes

Few places can rival Lake Winnipeg, where walleyes generally seem to be 20 inches or longer. Brad Dokken landed this 25-incher early Sunday afternoon.

ranging from 20 inches to 27 inches in length by the time we packed up and headed for shore four hours later. In my experience, there’s nowhere within easy driving distance that rivals Lake Winnipeg for quality-size walleyes. There’s not much infrastructure such as the rental houses and plowed access roads, but for anglers with the means and desire to explore, the walleyes are well worth the effort.

Monday, we shifted gears and fished the Red River not far from Selkirk. We accessed the river by snowmobile, but lots of anglers were getting around in full-size pickups on ice that was about 14 inches thick.

Winter fishing on the Manitoba side of the Red River generally is better early in the morning in my experience, and while we didn’t start fishing until after 11 a.m., the two of us managed to scratch out an eight-fish limit — five walleyes and three saugers — before heading home about 4 p.m.

Jim also had a fish snap his line that left us wondering what might have been.

Nothing came easy those two days, but there are worse ways to wrap up a year than catching fish on Lake Winnipeg and the Red River.