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.
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