“Exploring the Walleye Fishing Scene in Upper Red Lake, MN”

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Attention all fishing enthusiasts! If you’re craving an unforgettable walleye fishing experience, look no further than the renowned walleye fishing scene in Upper Red Lake, Minnesota’s largest inland lake. This premier destination offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the thrill of the catch while surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the heart of the walleye fishing scene in Upper Red Lake, providing you with all the essential information you need to plan your ultimate fishing getaway.

From the best times to visit and the latest regulations to top-notch equipment recommendations and insider tips on the most productive fishing spots, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your gear and get ready to embark on an angling adventure that will have you reeling in your personal best walleye yet!

Key Takeaways

  • Upper Red Lake in Minnesota is the largest inland lake in the state and is known for its abundance of walleye fish.
  • The peak times for walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake are typically during early winter, especially December, with ice fishing presenting a great opportunity to catch significant amounts of walleyes.
  • Popular fishing techniques on Upper Red Lake include jigging, trolling, slip-bobber fishing, casting, and using live bait rigs. It’s important to follow regulations set by the Minnesota DNR regarding gear restrictions and slot limits.
  • To increase your chances of success when walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake, choose the right equipment (rod, reel, line strength) and locate prime fishing spots near underwater structures such as rock bars and weed beds. Early morning and evening are considered the best times of day for catching walleyes. Proper handling and release techniques should be followed to maintain fish health and sustainability.

Overview of Upper Red Lake

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Upper Red Lake in Minnesota is the largest inland lake in the state and is highly regarded for its walleye fishery.

Location and geography

Upper Red Lake, located in Beltrami County in the great state of Minnesota, is not only the biggest natural freshwater lake entirely within Minnesota but also ranks as the 16th largest in the United States.

The vast expanse of this eutrophic body supports an array of aquatic plant growth and periodic algae blooms, particularly noticeable during late summer. With its high nutrient levels fueling lush underwater vegetation, it provides ideal conditions for a healthy fish population.

As part of a closed reservation owned by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Upper Red Lake boasts geographical attributes that make it a one-of-a-kind destination for anglers from all over – notably those pursuing walleye.

Importance for walleye fishing

Upper Red Lake, renowned as the largest inland lake in Minnesota, takes pride in its wealth of walleye. Its abundant fishery feeds directly into the state and local economy, making it a priceless resource.

The depth and size of this natural wonder make it an attractive habitat for walleyes, encouraging anglers from every corner to cast their lines here. Known as the top Midwest destination for these tricky catchers, Upper Red Lake’s past saw a seven-year closure followed by an incredible rebound with 90 million walleye fry being introduced over six years.

This daunting stock-up increased opportunities not only for traditional fishing but also added diversity with great ice-fishing prospects during winter months. With expected changes in slot limits for walleyes by DNR come 2023, regulations and potential fishing chances are likely to shift further, bringing more excitement to this already thriving arena of angling magic.

The Walleye Fishing Scene in Upper Red Lake

The walleye fishing scene in Upper Red Lake is a major draw for anglers, thanks to its abundance of walleyes and the thrilling experience it offers.

Seasonality and peak fishing times

  1. Walleye fishing in Upper Red Lake adheres to distinct seasonal patterns.
  2. The peak times for this popular fishery largely depend on the time of year and temperature conditions.
  3. Many anglers consider early winter, specifically December, as an optimal time for walleye fishing.
  4. Ice fishing presents an exceptional opportunity to catch significant amounts of walleyes during this colder period.
  5. As temperatures drop, the bite rate increases, yielding a productive early – winter season for dedicated anglers.
  6. During other seasons, users have reported scattered walleyes across the lake’s expanse but with steadily improving catch rates.
  7. Not all times are equally lucrative due to weather changes and fish migratory patterns – knowledge that experienced fishermen often leverage.
  8. As a final recommendation, it would be beneficial to use resources like the Upper Red Lake WebCam for real-time views and updates on current fishing conditions before embarking on a fishing trip.

Popular fishing techniques and bait

One of the key factors to a successful walleye fishing trip is using the right techniques and bait. Here are some popular methods used by anglers on Upper Red Lake:

  1. Jigging: Jigging is one of the most effective techniques for catching walleyes on Upper Red Lake. Use a jig with a minnow or plastic bait, and work it along drop-offs, weed beds, or other structures.
  2. Trolling: Trolling involves dragging lures behind a boat at various speeds to cover more water and locate active fish. Use crankbaits or spinner rigs with live bait for best results.
  3. Slip-bobber fishing: This technique is great for targeting walleyes in shallow areas or near submerged structures. Set up a slip bobber rig with a live minnow or leech, allowing it to float at the desired depth.
  4. Casting: Casting can be effective when targeting shorelines, rocky points, or docks. Use jigs, crankbaits, or soft plastics and retrieve them slowly to entice walleyes.
  5. Live bait rigs: Many anglers have success using live bait rigs such as Lindy Rigs or bottom bouncers. Thread a lively minnow onto the hook and let it swim naturally to attract feeding walleyes.

Regulations and licensing

To ensure the sustainability of the walleye population in Upper Red Lake, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has implemented specific regulations and licensing requirements.

Starting from May 13, anglers are limited to a possession limit of five walleyes, with only one allowed to exceed 17 inches in length. These new regulations aim to manage and maintain the fishery while providing anglers with opportunities for successful fishing experiences.

To fish on Upper Red Lake, it is essential for all anglers to possess a valid state license. By adhering to these regulations, we can preserve this incredible fishing destination for future generations of walleye enthusiasts.

Tips for Successful Walleye Fishing in Upper Red Lake

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To increase your chances of a successful walleye fishing trip on Upper Red Lake, make sure to choose the right equipment and use the proper bait for these popular fish.

Choosing the right equipment

To maximize your success when walleye fishing in Upper Red Lake, it’s essential to choose the right equipment. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Rod and Reel: Opt for a medium to medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting rod that is around 6 to 7 feet long. Pair it with a reel that has a smooth drag system and can handle the weight of a larger walleye.
  2. Line Strength: Use 8-12 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line for most walleye fishing situations. However, if you’re targeting trophy-sized walleye, consider using heavier lines to withstand their powerful runs.
  3. Lures and Jigs: Pack your tackle box with a variety of walleye-specific lures such as crankbaits, swimbaits, jigs, and soft plastics. Experiment with different colors and sizes to find what works best on any given day.
  4. Hooks: Choose sharp and strong hooks suitable for walleye fishing. Sizes ranging from #4 to #2 are commonly used for live bait presentations, while smaller sizes like #6 or #8 work well for artificial lures.
  5. Live Bait Options: Consider using live bait such as minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers when targeting walleyes in Upper Red Lake. These natural baits can be highly effective in enticing bites from these fish.

Locating prime fishing spots

To increase your chances of catching walleye in Upper Red Lake, it’s important to know how to locate prime fishing spots. Keep an eye out for underwater structures such as rock bars, sunken islands, and weed beds, as these areas attract walleyes seeking shelter and food.

Additionally, pay attention to changes in water depth or temperature gradients, which can indicate where the fish are congregating. Local fishing reports can also provide valuable insights into where the walleyes have been biting recently.

By combining these tactics with your angling skills and knowledge of walleye behavior, you’ll be well on your way to a successful day on the water.

Best times of day for fishing

Early morning and evening are considered the best times of day for walleye fishing in Upper Red Lake. During these times, the walleyes tend to be more active and feed aggressively.

As the sun rises or sets, the low light conditions make it easier for walleyes to ambush their prey, making them more likely to take your bait. Additionally, during these times, the lake is usually less crowded with other anglers, giving you a better chance of finding a prime fishing spot.

It’s important to note that while walleyes can be caught throughout the day, focusing your efforts during these peak feeding periods will greatly increase your chances of success on Upper Red Lake.

Proper handling and release of fish

Proper handling and release of fish is crucial for maintaining the health and sustainability of walleye populations in Upper Red Lake, MN. Here are some important tips to follow:

  1. Use a rubberized landing net or wet hands to handle the fish gently and avoid damaging their sensitive skin and scales.
  2. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible to minimize stress and reduce the risk of injury. If you need to lift the fish out of the water for a photo, do it quickly and support its weight with both hands.
  3. Use barbless hooks or crimp down the barbs on your hooks to make it easier to remove them from the fish’s mouth without causing harm.
  4. If a fish is deeply hooked, resist the temptation to tug forcefully on the line. Instead, cut the line close to the hook using fishing line clippers or scissors. The fish will have a better chance of survival if left with a small piece of line rather than a large hook embedded in its throat.
  5. Minimize handling time by having all necessary equipment ready, such as pliers or forceps, before catching a fish. This will help reduce stress on the fish during release.
  6. Revive tired fish by gently holding them upright in still water until they regain their strength and are able to swim away on their own.
  7. Follow any specific catch-and-release regulations set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for Upper Red Lake, including size limits and slot limits.

Other Recreational Activities in Upper Red Lake

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Aside from its renowned walleye fishing scene, Upper Red Lake offers a range of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Boating and water sports are popular options on the lake, with ample space to explore the waters and enjoy thrilling experiences.

Camping and hiking opportunities abound in the surrounding area, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty while staying close to this remarkable fishery. Wildlife viewing is another highlight, as the region is home to diverse fauna that can be spotted during leisurely walks or guided tours.

Boating and water sports

Upper Red Lake in Minnesota isn’t just a paradise for walleye fishing enthusiasts, but it also offers incredible opportunities for boating and water sports. Whether you’re looking to relax on the water or indulge in some adrenaline-pumping activities, Upper Red Lake has got you covered. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Boat Rentals: Many resorts around Upper Red Lake offer boat rentals, allowing you to explore the expansive waters at your own pace. Cruise along the lake’s scenic shores or venture out to discover hidden coves and fishing hotspots.
  2. Jet Skiing: Feel the wind in your hair as you zip across the waves on a jet ski. Upper Red Lake provides an ideal setting for thrilling jet skiing adventures, with plenty of space to let loose and enjoy the rush.
  3. Water Skiing and Wakeboarding: Gather your friends or family and take turns showing off your skills on water skis or a wakeboard. The calm waters of Upper Red Lake ensure a smooth ride, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced riders.
  4. Tubing: Hop onto an inflatable tube, hold on tight, and get ready for an exhilarating ride! Pull behind a boat and experience the joy of bouncing over waves as you enjoy a fun-filled tubing session with friends or family.
  5. Kayaking and Canoeing: For those seeking a more serene experience, kayaking or canoeing on Upper Red Lake is a great option. Paddle along peaceful bays, explore secluded areas and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
  6. Sunset Cruises: Treat yourself to a romantic sunset cruise with your loved one or gather your friends for a scenic evening on the water. Sit back, relax, and watch as vibrant hues paint the sky while reflecting off the calm surface of Upper Red Lake.
  7. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): Test your balance and core strength with stand-up paddleboarding. Glide across the tranquil waters, enjoying the peacefulness of the lake while getting a great workout.

Camping and hiking options

If you’re an avid walleye fisherman planning a trip to Upper Red Lake, Minnesota, you’ll be delighted to know that there are plenty of camping and hiking options available in the area. Here’s a look at what you can expect:

  1. Upper Red Lake offers a variety of camping options for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer lakeside canoe camping, RV camping with amenities, or rustic camping experiences, you’ll find something to suit your preferences.
  2. If you’re looking for a more secluded camping experience, consider exploring the nearby Red Lake State Forest. Situated between Pine Island State Forest and the southeast side of Upper Red Lake, this forest provides opportunities for dispersed camping amidst beautiful natural surroundings.
  3. For those who enjoy hiking, the surrounding state forests offer excellent trails to explore. Pine Island State Forest and Lost River State Forest are two popular choices near Upper Red Lake. These forests boast scenic trails that wind through diverse landscapes, offering hikers a chance to immerse themselves in nature.
  4. Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted by the opportunities for wildlife viewing while camping or hiking in the Upper Red Lake area. Keep an eye out for deer, elk, birds of prey, and other native species as you explore the forests and campgrounds.
  5. As always when enjoying nature activities, it’s important to respect the environment and follow Leave No Trace principles. Remember to pack out any trash and leave campsites as you found them to ensure that these natural areas remain pristine for future generations.

Wildlife viewing opportunities

The natural setting of Upper Red Lake provides ample opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife species while enjoying your fishing excursion. Keep an eye out for these incredible creatures:

  • Black bears: Roaming the dense forests surrounding the lake, black bears are a common sight in this area. You may catch glimpses of them foraging for food or exploring their habitat.
  • White-tailed deer: These graceful creatures can often be spotted grazing in open meadows or making their way through the woods near the lake. Keep your binoculars handy to observe their elegant movements.
  • Bald eagles: As you cast your line, don’t forget to look up and scan the skies for bald eagles. These majestic birds of prey frequently soar above the lake, showcasing their impressive wingspans.
  • Waterfowl: Upper Red Lake is a haven for waterfowl, with numerous species making it their home. Look out for ducksgeese, and even pelicans as they gracefully glide across the water or take flight.
  • Other wildlife: While focusing on your walleye fishing adventure, keep an eye out for other fascinating animals, such as foxes, otters, and various bird species that inhabit the lake’s surrounding wetlands and forests.


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In conclusion, Upper Red Lake in Minnesota offers an incredible walleye fishing scene for anglers looking to reel in some big fish. With its rich fishery and stunning natural beauty, this lake is a must-visit destination for any walleye enthusiast.

Whether you’re casting your line during the summer season or venturing out onto the frozen lake for some exhilarating ice fishing, Upper Red Lake has something to offer every angler.

So grab your gear and prepare to embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure on Upper Red Lake!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Upper Red Lake?

Upper Red Lake is a large lake located in northern Minnesota. It is known for its excellent walleye fishing opportunities and is a popular destination for anglers.

2. How is the walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake?

The walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake is considered to be exceptional. The lake is home to a healthy walleye population, and anglers have the opportunity to catch a good number of walleyes.

3. Are there any specific fishing regulations for Upper Red Lake?

Yes, there are fishing regulations in place for Upper Red Lake. It is important for anglers to familiarize themselves with these regulations to ensure they are in compliance. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for enforcing these regulations.

4. When is the fishing season on Upper Red Lake?

The fishing season on Upper Red Lake is open year-round. However, certain periods may have specific regulations or restrictions, such as the ice fishing season which typically runs from December to March.

5. Can I catch fish other than walleye on Upper Red Lake?

Yes, while walleye is the most sought-after species on Upper Red Lake, there are also other fish species present. These include crappie, northern pike, and various panfish.

6. Can I use a jig for walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake?

Yes, using a jig is a popular and effective method for walleye fishing on Upper Red Lake. Many anglers have found success using a jig tipped with a minnow or a plastic bait.

7. What is the size limit for walleyes on Upper Red Lake?

Currently, the size limit for walleyes on Upper Red Lake is 17 inches. Anglers are allowed to keep walleyes that measure within this size range.

8. Can you provide any fishing reports for Upper Red Lake?

While we do not have specific fishing reports for Upper Red Lake, it is recommended to check with local bait shops or visit the Minnesota DNR website for the latest fishing updates and reports.

9. How can I obtain a fishing license on Upper Red Lake?

To obtain a fishing license for fishing on Upper Red Lake, you can visit the Minnesota DNR’s website or purchase one from authorized license vendors. Make sure to familiar


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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