The forecasters are calling for another unseasonably warm and dry weekend for borderland. Although temperatures during this week have dipped to near freezing, they have not hit the mark so some fall colors are still hanging on in the forest. The weather should be great to get out on Rainy Lake or hike through the woodlands of Koochiching County. Only a few anglers have been getting out, perhaps more are occupied with grouse hunting or scouting for deer hunting. Anglers say they are finding fish, walleye are hitting on jigs or spinners tipped with minnows and crappie are responding to jigs and minnows. Walleye are more likely around some structure, perhaps the submerged reefs, but more likely the rocky shorelines. Crappie are more likely to be found in the weedy bays with fresh water flowing in from the smaller creeks.
Grouse hunters say they are flushing more birds this year than last and conditions have been great. As the leaf cover comes down and the fall dispersal of broods comes to an end, expect to flush single birds at more of a distance. We have had some folks drop by the office looking for information on likely hunter walking trails nearby and you are welcome to do the same. There are walking trails within and easy half-hour drive in any direction from International Falls. Perhaps the nicest one is the Ruffed Grouse Management area on the Rainy River. The parking area is directly across highway 11 from the intersection of Koochiching County 1. There are a couple of miles to hike there and all pass through pretty good habitat.
If all you want to do is make a scenic drive through the remaining falls colors and look for wildlife of any type, a great ride is to follow Highway 11/71 west of International Falls to Koochiching County 1, head south on 1 to Koochiching County 13 (gravel road). County 13 will take you to Big Falls where you can hike the cascades on the Big Fork River, then continue the trip following County 31 east to Minnesota 6 south of Littlefork. Once at Littlefork, it will be easy to get back to highway 71 and go north to International Falls.
Whatever you decide, go out and enjoy the outdoors, it will be a great weekend