Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fishing With Daris Rosebear

Mark, Ben, myself, and Jack with our 15 trout.
With the bite on Red Lake winding down (actually it never wound up for me!) and having left my fish house at JR's for a month, it was time to head up to Red Lake and drag it home.  My guests this week were Jack and his son, Ben Taylor.  My friend Mark Applen's January travels were done so we had planned on heading up to JR's to fish, attend Redfest, and we decided to book a trip with Daris Rosebear and his on Red Lake Reservation guide trip.  Mark had been fishing with him in the past and highly recommended it as a good time.  We agreed so he contacted Daris and we had a time, meet him at the Seven Clan's Casino at 6:00AM on Saturday morning and we'd go from there.  Ben had no idea what we were doing but was pretty excited about going.   Picking both Jack and Ben up at the their house, we got going a little later but we still managed to make it in 4.5 hours and had the house hooked up by 8:00 and on the ice by 9:00.  Because the casino is an hour away, we had to get up at 4:30  to leave by 5:00, damn early for a Saturday morning! The plan was to meet Daris at the casino, drive to the city of Red Lake and stop at the Sheriff's office to get our daily Reservation fishing permit ($10) then head to one of the small lakes (Smith Lake) south of the main highway to fish trout. He had 14 clients this morning, a larger bunch than usual however it worked out pretty well.  The lake was pretty small but just full of Rainbow and Brook trout.  Daris had the equipment, all we brought was our depthfinders and warm clothes.  He and the other guides he had with drilled a bunch of holes and we spread out on the lake quite well, we were never crowded.  Mark, Jack, Ben, and I pretty much took one end of the lake while the other guys stayed in the middle and off to one island.   I started in 40 feet of water and marked fish halfway up and I finally nailed one 20 feet off the bottom.  I have to admit, these fish fight like crazy and when it finally came out of the hole I could not believe it was only about 15 inches in length. In the meantime Ben was fishing more towards shore and finally caught one in about 22 feet of water.  He was just besides himself for sure as this was his first trout through the ice.  We all began moving a little shallower, 24 feet or less and started catching fish fairly consistently.   Although Mark claimed his last trip was much more productive, no one was complaining about the time we were having.  By 11:00 the bite was improving however by 12:00 we had to go.  Never the less both Ben and I had caught our 5 fish and were pretty satisfied!

2 of our Nicest Trout
It was quite interesting to go with Daris Rosebear. He is a Red Lake Guide who definitely knows the in's and out of fishing on the Reservation.  It was fun to talk to his helpers as they came over to check up on us.  The Red Lake Indian Reservation is a tough place to live and it was good to see Daris taking advantage of his knowledge to be successful.  It is the only reservation that never ceded it's lands to the Federal Government and has been totally in it's resident's control and is very unique in it's position.  Because of this, they are allowed to restrict outsiders and even have the ability to issue their own license plates.  Hench forth we had to first purchase our single day Reservation Fishing Permit. The permit allows a non-resident to fish for 1 day as long as one is on a number of lakes on the Reservation that do not include Lower and Upper Red Lake.  Another condition is that the permit holder is only allowed to fish if there is an Indian Guide (Daris Rosebear) during the fishing hours. The Red Lake Band uses the large Lower and half of Upper Red Lake as a source for their Fisheries business where they sell fish caught out of their tribal waters to the open market.  Most restaurants in Minneapolis/St. Paul that serve walleye get them from Red Lake.  They get about $2.50/pound with a daily limit of 50 fish under 22 inches or about 3 pounds.  I would admit that this is probably pretty hard work day in and day out but one can make a fairly relative living by fishing.  I would hate to tell you what I paid per pound for the walleyes I caught on the state side of Upper Red Lake this year but it would be embarrassing for sure!  Although it seems as though it would make sense to charge us "Non Resident" money to fish the tribal portion of Red Lake, it's pretty complicated and the answers are not that easy.  Either way it was a great time fishing with Daris and both Mark and I are looking into an open water trip sometime this year with him.  I'd definitely do this again as it definitely is a distraction from the slow fishing on Red this year.  The other thing is I would have brought my own fishing rig and smaller baits as he was still set up for larger fish.

The strategy for fishing from this point on will be Mille Lacs and or the local lakes for Crappies and Sunnies.  I sure miss Pelican Lake by St. Michael, MN as it was close to home, had some nice fish in it, and fairly productive so what you caught was above average.  There are some good lakes west of Mille Lacs I'd love to try as we did in the fall.  We really only have about 60 days left of ice fishing, boy time flies!

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