"This year Red Lake's long awaited fish bypass will be completed at the Red River outlet on the south shore of Red Lake", said Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr. in his most recent State of the Band Address. "This will enable fish to make their way back into the lake after they go over the outlet dam". ??
Jourdain pointed out that, prior to the fish by-pass, when the fish went over the falls at the outlet and rock dam, they made their way down the Red River never to return.
The Red River is the only outflow from Red Lake. The river goes to Red Lake Falls, then to Crookston, Grand Forks and then north to Hudson Bay.
"Now with the projects completion, fish will be able to make their way back to the big lake," Jourdain said.
The problem began in 1951 with damn improvements, which allowed more water over the dam, and apparently increased the number of fish that went over the dam as well. The fish later would congregate near the dam with no way to return, being unable to renegotiate the dam. Spring spawning also sends some fish down river...but they want to come back.
Beginning next Spring, Department of Natural Resource (DNR) fisheries staff will go to the fish trap near the bypass and lift the traps each morning.
"When fish swim up river toward the lake, they will resist the strong flow from the dam, and naturally go toward the lesser flow of water to the west - toward the fish trap," explained William "Pat" Brown, Red Lake DNR Fisheries Program Director. "Then they are trapped." ??
Black crappies, walleye, northern, and sturgeon (in the future) will then be separated from the exotic species and released to go through the fish by-pass and back into Red Lake.