By Captain Brad Durick

My how times have changed. In just a few short days in March our life went from chugging along to a “semi” lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The only word I could put on these events is BIZARRE.

In my personal world of being a catfish guide 2019 ended amazing and 2020 kept right on with one great event after another. I had signed on with two amazing new sponsors, written many articles that were being published and done more press interviews than I have in years. The Red River was going to have a flood which holds up fishing but pulls more big fish in and generally makes for amazing catfishing.  2020 was going to be the best year ever.

As I sit here and write this, I am unsure how 2020 will go now. I know I will be on great fishing but what I don’t know is exactly how the season will go. I have one of two scenarios that will play out. The first one is that people will be out of money from not working and they simply won’t afford to travel and fish with a guide. The second, (and the one I hope for) is that they will be so stir crazy from being cooped up that they will want to fish that much more.

2020 Red River Catfish Outlook

Now that we pointed out all of the twists to 2020 so far let’s talk about catfishing for a moment. Last year due to weather the Red River was somewhat challenging fishing but for those of us who figured out how to follow the fish has a great season.

2019 ended with a flood and high water which is generally a good thing for fish migration. 2020 was greeted with more flooding. Spring flooding, especially on the Red River is good for fishing as it covers the dams allowing the big Canadian fish to migrate upstream and spread out. This brings new genetics and new trophy fish into other areas of the Red River basin.

Once everything from the flooding settles down, there are many big hungry fish to be caught.  If you look up the flood years and fish catch numbers, better fishing (especially pre spawn) directly corresponds with flooding. 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2019 all had fantastic bites after major spring flooding. I see no reason 2020 will not be the same as we move ahead.

As the pre spawn becomes the spawn and beyond into summer higher water years will change some but the fish generally stay healthy and willing to feed. Like anywhere you might catfish you have to understand the seasons and go where the fish are. You need to stay on the moving keeping baits fresh and searching out the active fish.

The coronavirus has us all on edge. We will all need to unwind when this is all done. We will all need some fishing and excitement in our lives. Why not get both all in the same place, the Red River of the North catching trophy catfish.

Captain Brad Durick is a nationally recognized catfish guide on the Red River of the North, seminar speaker, and author of the books Cracking the Channel Catfish Code and Advanced Catfishing Made Easy. For more information go to

About The Author

Captain Brad Durick

Captain Brad Durick is a nationally known catfish guide, outdoor writer and educator coming from the famed Red River of the North and is based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Durick owns Brad Durick Outdoors LLC ( is the only full time channel catfish guide on the Upper Red River. He is the Director for the Scheels Boundary Battle Catfish Tournament ( and the Drayton Rod and Reel Rally ( on the Red River and sits on the Board of Directors for the Red River Valley Catfish League ( Durick spends countless hours researching river channel cats to fine tune patterns to catch more and bigger catfish. This research led to the release of his 2013 book Cracking the Channel Catfish Code and his 2016 follow-up Advanced Catfishing Made Easy. In addition to writing two books, Captain Brad writes catfishing articles for various publications. He is also instructs Catfish University seminars each winter around the Midwest. Captain Brad Durick is partner with: G3 Boats, Cat River Anchors, Frabill, Plano, BUGG Products LLC, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Dexter Knives, Big Frig Coolers, Costa Sunglasses and Drift Master Rod Holders.