We’ve had plenty of Sun with a little heat wave going on, and anglers will tell you that can have an effect on fishing. The walleye bite has been strongest in the morning and jigging with a minnow or crawler has been working best. The walleye are hanging near submerged structure like Erickson’s reef in 25 to 30 feet of water, but can also be pulled from 10 to 15 feet of water near the islands. Ranier Rapids has been a good area for both walleye and smallmouth bass, and the bass bite has been fairly steady. Bass are chasing after top water lures.
The general theory is the fish don’t like the brightest part of the day, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from pulling in some trophy sized northern pike at any time of the day. The large pike can be found in the same areas you find smaller fish congregating so give it a try. For pike, use a large lure or a big minnow.
It’s been great weather for just boating on Rainy Lake and stopping at a beach to lounge or at a day-use site for a picnic. If you don’t have a boat, get out on the water aboard the Voyageur tour boat. The Voyageur does the Grand Tour of Rainy Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday at 2:00 pm. There are also excursions in canoes available from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.
The newly dedicated Rainy Lake Recreation Trail extension to the Visitor Center has been getting some steady use, it’s a great trail to walk, bike or roller blade. If you wish, you can follow the trail from International Falls east along the south shore of Rainy River to Ranier and from there along the south shore of Rainy Lake all the way to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. If you want to cool down, you happen to go past both the Ranier City Beach and International Falls City Beach Park.
The forecast calls for a break in the little heat wave we’ve been having and the weekend should be very nice. There is a little potential for a thunderstorm, but it will likely be overnight. You should spend the days on Rainy Lake in Voyageurs National Park. If fishing is the plan, the change in weather will likely change the patterns. Lately walleye have been on the submerged structures and hitting on crawlers, the best bite has been in the morning. Crappie are being caught around the Rat Root River and west end of Black Bay.
There are great sites to visit on Rainy Lake, learn a little about the Gold Mine History on the Voyageurs National Park Boat Tours scheduled at 2pm—every day except Tuesday and Thursday. Tours depart from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Canoe or Kayak to explore on your own. Boat over to Diamond Island and sprawl on the beach. Do a day trip and take in historic Kettle Falls. Stop in at any of the lakeside resorts and have some lunch on the deck. Head for International Falls City Beach and get a game of volleyball going. You get the idea.
No boat? How about biking or hiking the Rainy Lake Recreation Trail, the new connection to the Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitor Center is very nice. Take a scenic drive through the Rainy River valley on the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway which starts at Sha Sha point on Rainy Lake and heads west on highway 11 ending at the North Dakota border. Head for the Ranier Park and put the horseshoe pits to use. Cross the border and visit Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada. Stop at the museums in both Fort Frances and International Falls. There’s no shortage of things to do.
Anglers say the walleye have gathered around the submerged structures in Rainy Lake, which usually means you’ll find the best fishing east of Brule Narrows. Word is crawlers are working better than other baits and the best bet is jigging with a crawler. Crappie can be pulled in around the Rat Root River and west end of Black Bay. Northern Pike are being caught in the warmer and weedier bays like Jackfish Bay and Cranberry Bay.
Smallmouth Bass will be the focus with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship taking place this week. Don’t expect to many of the pros to say anything about where or how they caught their bass. However, folks fishing Rainy River have mentioned a good smallmouth bite as well as mention of some large sturgeon. The sturgeon tag season ends in September. Anglers say they are catching sturgeon larger than the 45-to-50 inchers allowe3d for a tag.
Meanwhile, it will be getting hot in borderland with temperatures in the high 80’s and high humidity levels. It should be a perfect time to get out and enjoy water skiing, swimming or just sitting on a beach. If you don’t have a boat, be sure to check out the International Falls city Beach Park and Ranier Beach, the are both just off county road 20 east of International Falls on Rainy Lake.