The weather forecast for the weekend is perfect, maybe a bit warm but not oppressive. Walleye have been reacting to the warmer weather by seeking the cooler water around the reefs in Rainy Lake and in the stronger current of Rainy River. On the Lake, the walleye are in 25 to 30 feet of water and seem to prefer leeches over minnows or worms. The walleye have also been slipping into shoreline areas early in the day to feed. Smallmouth anglers have also been fishing near the shorelines, casting lures to likely spots. In the river, the walleye are hanging in the swifter waters both above and below the Ranier Rapids and below the dam at International Falls. Smallmouth anglers are pre-fishing the river for the upcoming tournament. Naturally, they are a little tight lipped about where and how they are fishing, but generally agree the smallmouth bit on the river is pretty good right now. Other river anglers are fishing for sturgeon, where the best bet continue to be finding a deeper hole and dropping a hook threaded with a couple worms almost to the bottom.
Wildlife watchers will see some songbirds beginning their migration south mixed in with the birds nesting in the immediate area. Whitetail deer will be guiding fawns through finding food and safe areas. Black bears will be taking advantage of the ripe berries throughout the forest and may have cubs tagging along. Give a bear with cubs a very wide berth if you are out taking advantage of the berry crop yourself
Some pretty warm temperatures have been driving people to the lake, and they are jumping in, not fishing. Anglers that are getting out say the walleye have moved from shoreline haunts and are congregating around the submerged reefs in the deeper parts of the lake. There, the best bet is jigging with a leech. Some anglers are looking for big pike in the weedy edges around the mouths of the bays and some are casting to the shorelines trying for smallmouth bass.
On the river, the main focus has been the sturgeon tag season now underway. You can keep one sturgeon per year providing is is 45 to 50 inches or over 75 inches. A lot of the fishing is catch-and-release and many are hoping to locate a good spot before the 23rd Annual North American Sturgeon Championship on August 15th. The event is headquartered at Birchdale on Rainy River and you can contact Mike Hanson for more information, call 218 244 6886.
For the next week or two, expect to see abundant ripe blueberries and raspberries. If you are out picking some, keep an eye out for wildlife, also attracted by the natural abundance
Anglers say the majority of walleye have moved to the submerged humps throughout the deeper waters of Rainy Lake, yet they are still finding some on the shallower windy points while trying for smallmouth bass. The best fishing is on the humps in about 30 feet of water and the best bet is jigging with a crawler or leech on calm days and slow trolling a crawler or leech if there’s some wind. Back to the smallmouth bass for a bit, they have been pretty active lately. There will be some tournament anglers pre-fishing for the Fort France Canadian Bass Championship coming up next week.
On Rainy River, there have been reports of some nice sturgeon pulled from the deeper holes and swifter waters, the walleye have been in the slower moving waters of the wide bends.
For hikers and wildlife watchers, keep your eyes open for ripe berries. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are fairly common and are all ripe for the picking right now. Wildlife that depends on the berries will also be out so keep your eyes open