Rainy River boat launches downstream from International Falls are all open and the walleye are biting! Anglers are looking forward to sturgeon season opening on April 24th. The Rainy Lake ice road is closed and lake access is becoming increasingly difficult.
The border water walleye season remains open until April 14. Sand Bay is the most popular area and walleye are hitting on live bait throughout the daylight hours. We suggest using a bright colored jig. The bright color allows the fish to see it from a long distance. Other areas on /rainy are seeing angler traffic, like Black Bay, where walleye and crappie are possible, but so are large northern pike and they will respond to larger minnows on a bare hook. Use weights to keep your bait around 6 inches from the bottom.
Rainy River is also a spring option, but for now the ice is not stable enough and the launches are not clear of that ice yet, so be patient. The warmer weather will probably result in the accesses being cleared soon. If you do want to try some of the earlies open water fishing in the region remember to practice social distancing while launching, respect the parking regulations and the area residents driveways and accesses and do not stray into Canadian waters, that border is closed.
The warmer weather is expected to result in more action for ice anglers. The walleye and crappie bite has been strongest in the morning and evening hours. Jigging with live bait is most effective and the advice is that a bright color, or even a jig that produces some noise attracts more attention. Most areas of Rainy Lake are accessible for folks with snowmobiles and portable gear. The usual ice road to Sand Bay and the short roads to the east are available for light vehicles and the National Park ice road is open to Rainy Lake City.
The border waters will remain open to walleye fishing after this weekend which always allows for the latest ice fishing in the region. The earliest open water walleye fishing is usually available on Rainy River and the accesses will be open as soon as the weather and safety permits. The border waters walleye season extends to mid-April.