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Red river of the North

 
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h2ofwlr
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Joined: 09 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: Red river of the North  Reply with quote

Big catches for Red River Valley Catfish Club

Local anglers notice much larger than normal catfish this year. Dave Clement said it’s probably because of the lingering high water during this spring’s flooding — the fish were able to get over dams and move to the region when they normally would stay in Canada.

By: Ryan Johnson, Grand Forks Herald
Published June 20 2009

When Dave Clement went angling for catfish on June 10, he felt out of his element. He wasn’t very prepared that evening and didn’t have a single bite after more than an hour and a half on the Red River.

But within 15 minutes, the whole night turned around. Dave netted two enormous catfish, a 28.6 pounder and a 25 pounder, winning the Red River Valley Catfish Club’s league night and setting a new league record.

In the 21 years of Cats Incredible tournaments in the Grand Cities, the biggest catch was about 26 pounds. That’s later in the summer, Clement explained, so the fish are a little smaller.

But many other anglers have noticed that the Red has had huge catfish this year. He said it’s probably because of the lingering high water during this spring’s flooding — the fish were able to get over dams and move to the region when they normally would stay in Canada.

The next week

Dave was out last Wednesday with his team member and son, Casey, to try for another victory. League officials blew the starting horn at 6 p.m., and the 17 boats went as far as they wanted from the north ramp to find their perfect fishing hole.

The Clements went a couple of miles before setting down their anchor and trying an area near the Minnesota side of the river. Dave got a big hit within 15 minutes.

“We got a freaking horse!” he said. “This is unreal.”

But just before he could reel it in, the line snapped and his potential big catch swam away. Dave guessed it was at least 20 pounds by the feel of it.

Casey hadn’t snagged a single fish during the previous two league nights, but his luck changed that night. He caught a 12-pound catfish about 6:30 p.m. and caught a 14-pounder 10 minutes later.

The league decides the winning team by the combined weight of the two biggest fish, so that put the Clements at about 26 pounds. But they were leery of quitting already because the fish have been so big this year.

“These two fish in years past would have been a good weight,” Dave said. “But this year, it’s a whole different deal.”

Dave said in a normal year, a combined weight of 30 or 35 pounds would put a team in first place. But it takes more than 40 pounds to have a shot now, he said.

Their luck ran out by 7 p.m., and they decided to go north on the river. They moved again just in time to watch Riley Gregoire catch a 23-pound fish about 100 yards away.

Gregoire’s teammate made another catch a few minutes later, but Dave and Casey didn’t get any bites at their new spot. It took two more moves and an hour of waiting before Dave got his first fish in the boat, a 6-pounder that they threw back in.

About 8:40 p.m., the Clements decided to call it a night so they could get back to shore before the 9 p.m. deadline. But they ended up releasing the fish when they realized they couldn’t compete with Shawn Aaker and Mick Messelt’s combined fish weight of 44.4 pounds.

Even the second-place team took in 43.4 pounds, and officials guessed about 500 pounds of catfish were caught that night.

The Clements were disappointed but said they aren’t in the league just to win. They’ve fished together for the past six years or so, ever since 18-year-old Casey was “old enough and could handle the pole,” Dave said.

“It’s nice if you get it, but we’re not trying to make a living on it,” Casey said.

“It’s bragging rights,” Dave added.

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com.

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http://www.startribune.com/photos/?c=y&img=1fish0624.jpg
Rod Opferkew of St. Louis Park (left) with a 24-pound catfish and Mike Kluender of Columbia Heights with a 23-pound cat.

Today's trophy tale: Fishing hot on Red


Last update: June 23, 2009 - 8:46 PM

Rod Opferkew of St. Louis Park and buddy Mike Kluender of Columbia Heights caught and released a 24-pound catfish and a 23-pound catfish, respectively, on the Red River near Grand Forks.

"Mike and I were fishing the Red River of the North on our annual summer trip, joined by Capt. Kent Hollands of Trophy Cat Adventures earlier this month," explained Opferkew.

"Our goal each year is to get that 20-pound whopper, and despite the cold, 50-degree temps that day, our trip did not disappoint!

"We boated 14 fish of at least 12 pounds, including five over 20 pounds and 218 pounds total on the day!

"This is our fantastic double that we boated only a few minutes apart, both caught on cut sucker.

"Each fish took about 15 minutes to land, and it was a struggle not to cross the lines when the fish ran!''


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