In the Land of Cats and Dogs
Scenic Lockport is known for great hotdogs but we go for the cats.
There’s a good current in the Red River and the bottom is nothing more than sucking clay, so be careful as you step into the water. Just standing still in chest waders can sometimes be a challenge. But rumour has it that the cats are big just off shore. Catfish, that is.
Load up a catfish rig with some shrimp past its prime, add a bobber and cast out. Hang on. When you see the bobber slip below the surface, resist the urge to set the hook and start reeling like mad. Wait three seconds, then go. Fish on!
Now bringing in a cat is a game of strong-arming for the first 80 per cent of the fight. They are pretty much dead weight. Until they see the light. Then the fight is on. Get ready for lots of reeling only to have the fish run right back out to the middle of the river. Once the great gilled one is played out and near the riverbank, remove the hook, cradle it up and smile nice for the camera. That’s if you can lift it. Cats average around 20 pounds and it’s not uncommon to haul in one that’s over 25 pounds and 36 inches long.
You can do this all on your own by gearing up and walking down to the riverbank. Or you can seek professional help from the likes of Stu McKay of Cats on the Red or the long-haired Todd Longley of City Cats. These guys can set you up with rods, reels, baits and boats and best of all, a guide who knows where the monsters of the deep are lurking.
So what’s all this about the hotdogs? There’s been a lifelong tug-of-war for customers between Skinner’s Restaurant and The Half Moon Drive In. Both opened in the 1920s to offer a new item called the hotdog and, apparently, it’s been a hit ever since. On a Sunday afternoon in September, the stream of vehicles on scenic River Road along the mighty Red River is unending.
Manitoba Record Catfish: 46.5 inches, caught on the Red River in 1992
See more record catfish: www.travelmanitoba.com/master_angler_search.asp