Everyone will want to make the best of the last long weekend of the summer and it looks like the weather will cooperate for Labor Day. Right now, it looks like pretty moderate temperatures and a fairly low chance of rain or thunderstorms. Maybe this is you chance to fit in a little more canoeing or kayaking, or hike into the forest to see if any leaves are starting to turn. If you’re thinking of a fishing excursion, the walleye are hitting from 30 feet around the submerged reefs and around 20 feet along the rocky windward shorelines. Crappie have been hanging around the mouth of Black Bay and around the crappie cribs. Northern Pike are hitting from the weedy edges of the bays.
For you smallmouth bass anglers, the bite must have been good considering the success of the International Falls Bass Championship. Nathan Brigham and Brett Meyers posted a two day total of 36.04 pounds to win. The Bass Championship is the premier bass tournament in Minnesota and fills Smokey Bear Park with fun for three days every August. If you want to plan on being here next year, plan on the last weekend before Labor Day.
If you just want to get out for a drive, we can provide some ideas. The key to finding really colorful splashes as the leaves turn is to encounter a variety of mixed hardwoods. That mixed variety also means traveling through subtle changes in the eco-system that can increase the odds of encountering wildlife, bring a camera. If you are a hunter, bring a shotgun. There are vast tracts of public land open to the public, however, hunting is not allowed within the National Park.
If you’re wondering what sort of Labor Day Celebrations will be going on, check our calendar. Click on the “Events” tab at the top of the page menu bar. If you have questions, feel free to mail, the address is just below along with alternative contact information.
There will be some serious fishing going on as 60 teams try to win the $10,000.00 grand prize in the International Falls Bass Championship. Half the teams fish Rainy Lake the first day and Rainy River the second and the other half does the opposite. The weigh-ins are at Smokey Bear Park in downtown International Falls. The Park is Bass Central for now and there’s lots going on, including craft and food vendors, entertainment, kids and adult games and more.
For the just plain old fisherman, the walleye bite should be pretty good this weekend. Water temperatures have started to cool which usually triggers a stronger bite as all game fish prepare for the winter months. The best bet for walleye is still to jig with live bait in about 30 feet of water near the submerged structures. The crappie bite has been good in Black Bay, particularly around the cribs. Northern Pike are being caught regularly along the weedy shores lines of Black, Cranberry and Jackfish Bays.
More into taking a hike, I’m told there are some shrubs starting to turn color and little splashes of color are showing up in the general backdrop of green throughout northern Minnesota. If riding an ATV is what you want to do, you should know that Koochiching County and neighboring St. Louis County allow ATV travel on county roads outside of incorporated cities, so there are lots of options to ride.
It is the middle of August and the end of summer looms, but there’s still time. Anglers say the walleye are still in a summery mode and are most likely to be found around the submerged humps in 25 to 35 feet of water. Walleye are responding best to jigs tipped with live bait and it apparently doesn’t matter if it’s a leech, crawler or minnow. there have also been reports of crappie around the reefs and of large northern pike in the bays and around the weed beds. Anyone fishing smallmouth bass is being tight-lipped about where and how, and any success. That’s because the International Falls Bass Championship is less than a week away, pros will be pre-fishing to see if they can’t peg the best time and place to stand a chance at winning the grand prize.
We’ve seen quite a few hikers bragging about finding nice ripe berries not far from the trails and that’s about right, any late blueberries or raspberries are certainly ripe by now. Hikers are also seeing subtle signs of coming changes as fall sets in. Songbirds are done nesting and are trying to build reserves for the long migration. Forest creatures are starting to look for mast in the forest, think acorns or hazelnuts. Waterfowl and other broods are nearing adult size so they will be able to join the migration or gain the size and skills needed to winter here.
Fall will be here before you know it. The Voyageur Tour Boat will make three September trips to Kettle Falls, you can learn more by checking the events tab at the top of this page. This is a “must do” trip in Voyageurs National Park, if you have not done it…..Do It