By Dan Johnson

After a day of icing slab crappies on a north-central Minnesota Lake near Deer River with Lindy pro staffers Jon Thelen and Jeff Sundin, and veteran outdoor writer Jeff Samsel, it was time for another adventure. With the temperature hovering around zero in today’s predawn darkness, we turned our trucks north toward the incredible walleye fishery of Upper Red Lake.

Soon we met up with another Lindy pro staffer, Jonny Petrowske, on the mighty lake’s extreme north shore. A lifelong resident of the area and a longtime guide on the lake, Petrowske operates Red Lake Remote Ice Fishing, which offers safe and reliable tracked transport to a string of remote sleeper houses scattered atop prime lies a short ride from home base.

Always an accommodating host, Jonny took time out from his busy schedule to shuttle us out to a pair of his fully-appointed, 10 X 20 houses so we could experience Upper Red in all its glory.

Thanks to an early freeze-up and resurgent walleye population, Red has been one of the Ice Belt’s hottest destinations this winter, judging by our results so far today, it shows no signs of slowing down. Shortly after claiming bunks and stowing our gear, we were jigging up hungry walleyes on a variety of presentations.

Eighth-ounce red Lindy Rattl’n Flyer Spoons tipped with minnow heads were top producers, but Slick Jigs, Darters and Perch Talkers also take their share of fish. Our rattle reels also provided a steady serenade, tipped with Frostee Jigs baited with whole, tail-hooked fathead chubs suspended six inches to a foot off bottom.

As I took a break from the action to file this blog, the crew continued wind-milling walleyes ranging from 13 to 23 inches in length. And as good as the fishing has been so far today, Petrowske assures us that the best is yet to come. “An afternoon flurry typically starts around 2 o’clock and you’ll be hearing rattle reels singing all night long,” he laughs.

It’s an exciting forecast, and none of us are worried about losing a little sleep to battle Red Lake’s bounty. If you’d like to experience similar hardwater bliss, check out Red Lake Remote Ice Fishing, stock up on tackle and head for the lake.