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.