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North Dakota Game and Fish travel to the Red River for trophy Catfish

Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In this week’s segment of North Dakota Outdoors, Mike Anderson takes us to the Red River to target trophy catfish.

There are plenty of fishing opportunities on the Red River, today we’re targeting trophy catfish from shore near Drayton Dam.

“Across the country it’s probably one of the top destinations for catfishing in the United States or maybe even North America, simply because of the number of catfish and the size structure,” said fisheries supervisor Scott Hangl.

Fishing regulations for catching cats on the Red is different than statewide regulations.

“If you’re fishing statewide, there is no limit on catfish because catfish aren’t really harvested that much. But on the Red River, we manage it in cooperation with the Minnesota DNR and we’ve got some joint regulations that set the limits where we have a daily limit of five catfish with one over 24 inches. You can fish both sides of the Red River. If you’re fishing from shore, you need to have a license from the state that you’re fishing in,” said Gangl.

If you’ve never fished for these giant catfish, its inexpensive to get started, and anyone can do it.

“Some of the equipment that I recommend is a rod and reel with 20 pound monofilament line, some seven odd size hooks, some weights, slip sinkers that go anywhere from three ounces to six ounces and some ball bearing swivels,” said outreach biologist Jim Job.

The best bait to use is cut bait, white suckers or goldeye. You know you have a fish on when the rod tip bends, and then the fight begins.

“The average size up here is probably about 12 to 15 pounds with the chance to catch one well into the 20s,” said Job.

Catfish won’t win any beauty contests, but they sure are fun to catch.

“A lot of people are scared of these fish because they have barb like antennas on the front, but those are soft. Those are just used to feel what’s in front of the catfish because they do live in very murky water and those cannot poke you. You do have to be worried about some of the fins, the one on the back and the two off the sides. They do have some pretty sharp points in them,” said Job.

Try your luck at catching one of these river monsters.

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