With all the accesses to Rainy River open, more and more anglers are getting out on the open water. While walleye fishing remains open until April 14 on our border waters, most folks have been fishing for Sturgeon. This is the catch-and-release season and the Sturgeon bite is always strong as spring rolls in. The best bet is to find a deep hole in the river and then go downstream a bit and fish with a combination of worms and minnows on a big hook suspended just off the bottom with some sinkers. Use your heaviest gear, the sturgeon can grow to 100 pounds and you want to be able to catch them fairly quickly, snap a few photos and release them fairly quickly.
There are no sturgeon above the dam at International Falls on Rainy River, but you can fish for walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass, and the fishing has been good just below the Ranier Rapids. The best access for this area is the Pat Roche landing near Voyageurs National Park Headquarters.
Birders are seeing the return of migratory birds of all types, perhaps the most notable are the geese because of their size, tendency to fly in large groups and because they are just plain noisy. There are plenty of wildlife watching opportunities both within and outside of the National Park.
We’ve already reported the accesses in International Falls are open, you can fish above and below the dam, which usually yields good results in the spring. Koochiching County now reports that the access at Nelson Park in Birchdale is open so you can use launches west of International Falls now too. Rainy River and Rainy Lake remain open for walleye fishing into April and you can also fish for northern pike, smallmouth bass and crappie. In the Rainy River there’s the added attraction of catching sturgeon (catch-and-release) and snapping a great photo.
Over the weekend, quite a few anglers got out all along the river, and they were doing well. The forecast for now looks like a great weekend coming up too, starting with sunny skies Friday and a high of 36. The photo from Manitou Rapids near Loman was snapped by Mike Wellcome.
You can fish Rainy River from the Pat Roche Access east of International Falls with ease and there’s plenty of parking. The walleye season extends into April and everyone is waiting on the first open water fishing opportunities on the river. The Shorewood, or Ron Hall access is not yet open but will be soon and people are launching from Kuttes landing at Pelland junction. The ice is still socked up at Nelson Park in Birchdale but Manitou Rapids carry-in access is okay.