Okay, here’s a Name that Fish contest entry that I don’t even know the answer to. I caught this odd, blue-eyed fella near the bottom in Icy Strait, Alaska last summer while mooching a herring for silvers and don’t have a clue what it is.
Redfish (red drum) are an extremely popular gamefish along the Gulf Coast but most folks are unaware that these awesome battlers can also be found in many freshwater lakes across the southern U.S.
Freshwater reds? Yep…and they are extremely cool! How can you beat a fish that can reach 40 pounds, fights like a crazed devil dog and tastes incredible?
So, how the heck does a saltwater fish survive in freshwater? Well, that’s a good question and I won’t totally bore you with the details. In short, reds are tough bastards and can be raised in salt and then, after being slowly acclimated to freshwater, live happily in a lake (though they cannot reproduce in freshwater).
Since they’re unable to spawn in lakes, reds are managed as a put-and-take fishery. The lakes they’re released into need to get very warm (near 80 degrees) and feature a high calcium content.
Reds are taken with a variety of methods. Some anglers prefer to still-fish with cutbait. They can also be caught by trollers who fish the deep shoal areas with plugs or spoons – anything that looks like a biatfish. Casting crankbaits also works and that’s how a lot of incidental reds are hooked by bass anglers.
Look for schools of shad and you’ll likely find the reds. The fish are very skittish and often run deep during the bright part of the day. During the morning or evening periods, however, redfish will push bait schools up onto shallow flats and banks – and that’s where they become more accessible to anglers.
In the winter months, you’re sure to find reds anywhere there’s warm water entering the lake. For that reason, lakes and reservoirs that act as cooling basins for power plants are top bets.