Fewer folks have been getting out due to the wet weather lately. There aren’t a lot of reports to go by, but walleye can be found around the submerged structure in 25 feet of water and around the edges of weed beds in the shallower water. Some large northern pike and crappie are being caught in Black Bay.
Grouse hunters have had to contend with rain and drizzle too. Hunters with dogs will do best to flush birds early in the season while there are still a lot of leaves providing thick cover. Maples are showing splashes of red and orange through a forest that is changing from green to gold.
For the most up-to-date information you can call the International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1 800 325 5766.
Rainy Lake has been living up to that name, the daily rain and drizzle lately has kept most anglers on dry land. However, some are getting out. It appears to be hit and miss but you can hook a walleye or two on the reefs. The crappie bite in Black Bay has picked up, the best action has been on the west end.
Grouse hunters have not been venturing out in the rain very much either. Hunters with dogs have an advantage flushing birds in the wet weather while there's still a lot of cover. The underbrush has turned for the most part and started dropping leaves. Larger trees like aspen are still mostly green. Most maples have turned with some very colorful orange and red splashes in the forest.
ATV riders have been out for fall color tours. In our area, the Blue Ox Trail starting in International Falls, provides access to a number of county forestry roads where the colorful mixed hardwoods blend in with the evergreen conifers. Some people ask about the fir trees they believe are dying off because they have turned a soft rusty color. Those are tamarack, which are a hardwood with leaf structures that mimic needles. Tamarack turn color in the fall and drop their leaves for the winter. Be around in the spring when new growth shows as a distinct shade of green
Fall patterns are settled in on Rainy Lake following an unusually warm start to September. Big northern pike are becoming quite aggressive as the days grow shorter and the water temperature cools. Try the weedy edges of the bays casting a large flashy lure or trolling a spinner rig with a large minnow.
Anglers continue to find walleye on submerged structures throughout the lake. Smallmouth bass are also in the mix. Look for a depth of about 35 feet and put your live bait a foot or two off the bottom. Use a jig if it's calm, or troll the live bait if there's some chop.
Ruffed grouse hunting started last Saturday and although the weather was not great, hunters did get out and flushed quite a few birds. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources predicts the best season in years because of the great weather for brood survival and the increase in drumming counts last spring. There's still a great deal of underbrush in the forest so the birds can disappear in seconds. However, the colors are showing and the leaves will be coming down as fall progresses.
The Voyageur tour boat continues to operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the end of September. The 2:00 pm cruise is an excellent way to take in the spectacular scenery of Voyageurs National Park while the fall colors are showing.