Regional Reports-Midwest

Red Lake

The booming crappie population on Red Lake is no longer the Midwest's best-kept secret, but that doesn't stop fishermen from making the trip. Drill a hole in the right spot, and you could catch a limit of 15 fish on any given day. Eric Bieberdorf is proof; the school teacher from Bemidji has been known to make the one-hour drive to the lake after work. "That puts me on the ice just before sunset," he says, "which is about perfect timing."Icing Red Lake crappies is all about location, according to Bieberdorf. "The lake is like a big, shallow bowl with very little structure. You need to move around until you find fish. When we locate a good area, we mark it on our GPS so we can return." Bieberdorf uses jigging rods rigged with 6-pound-test monofilament. "Glo-jigs in pink and lime green work well," he says. "You hold them up to a light source and they glow for a while. Jigging spoons and lures like the Swedish Pimple can also be effective. Also, power augers are a must; the ice is very thick and you need to move around until you find fish." Contact: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (651-296-6157).