One of the best tasting fish in Minnesota is the Black Crappie, which are plentiful in the vast Rainy Lake waters. To eat them, you must first catch them. It's always a good idea to check with local bait stores on the best lures for crappies, but most crappie fishers get a supply of live minnows as they are the natural food source and crappie's favorite meal.
It's best to go with ultra light rods and 2-6# line which helps in feeling the "light bite." Bobbers are a good idea for younger anglers, but not necessary. While the world record crappie is 6 pounds, the typical "keeper" in Minnesota lakes is under 1 pound. Spring fishing is perfect for crappie fishing as they can be found along shorelines where there are fallen trees or sharp drop offs. They prefer structure such as weed beds, humps or holes under the water and wind-protected coves with good cover. Early morning yields the best chance of success, and once you find one, there is most likely a school of them at the same spot.
“Before going fishing, anglers should be sure to check page seven of the fishing regulations that details what’s new for 2019,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Department of Natural Resources." The current limit of crappies to have in possession is 10 per licensed angler. And that would make an awesome fish fry!
Ice anglers are preparing for the upcoming Rainy Lake Sport Fishing Club Derby, and are targeting all types of species. Word is the walleye are responding to live bait whether you are jigging or using a bobber. Crappie are also responding to minnows but have not been very consistent. Most of this fishing has been going on around Sand Bay.
Some people are getting out further east, like around the mouths of Black and Cranberry Bays, but they are targeting Northern Pike.
Access to that area greatly improved when the Park Service completed the Rainy Lake Ice Road between the two bays. Along that road you might find some structure holding walleye like around the east end of Dryweed Island, try to get into about 25 to 30 feet of water.
Meanwhile, we've been running into snowmobilers from all over the state, they are finding our trails in excellent condition, The groomers have been out regularly as we have had some six inches of new snow fairly frequently. The trails in Voyageurs National Park are well marked and make some nice loops between the gateway communities. Need a map? Contact us and we'll put one in the mail!
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.