The ice is out on Rainy Lake so walleye anglers will be able to boat to the best potential spots with ease. The trick will be knowing where those spots are. The usual advice after ice out is to seek a rocky shoreline near one of the larger sand bottom bays. Troll the windward shoreline with a minnow on a spinner rig, that should help you establish the depth where the walleye are congregating, then anchor and jig with a minnow at that depth.
You might also come across schools of crappie and they will respond to smaller minnows on jigs or even bare hooks. Around the weedy edges of the bays, you can also encounter northern pike.
If you are planning to fish Rainy River for the opener, you should try the wide side of larger bends. You will do best with live bait and in the River, emerald shiners are always the favorite.
There are other outdoor recreations to enjoy. The "Bog walk" at the north end of the Tilson Creek Ski Trails will provide access to the trail system where you can hike with a good chance of seeing wildlife from the birds in the process of nesting to various forest animals that will be a little easier to spot with fewer leaves on the trees.
If you're not up to a hike, how about a drive, the forestry roads will also offer a good chance to spot wildlife and some will encounter fun points of interest. An example is the Flowing Well Road in southwestern Koochiching County. The flowing well has been running steady since the early 1900's. A pipe was sunk hundreds of feet deep to tap an underground source and supply water to ice the trails used to skid enormous loads of timber out of the forest each winter.
Speaking of big timber, you can follow a forestry road to the "Lost 40" hiking trails. the Lost 40 is neither lost, or 40 acres. It is really around 120 acres that was never logged due to a survey error. Some of the pine there have been growing for hundreds of years and are huge.
If you'd like directions to any of these sites, just ask! Email the Convention and Visitors Bureau at email@example.com (Photos courtesy of Elisa Winterland, Burgess Eberhardt and Pete Schultz)
International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau
There is nothing quite like the fresh taste of a fish caught just minutes before frying it up on shore. While some people are happy to catch and release their fish, others prefer to catch and eat their fish! If your weekend plan includes a fish fry using the fish you catch, there are a few tips on making sure you don't go hungry.
First, have a back-up plan. What if the weather keeps you from getting out on the water at all? Or, your success is less than what is needed to feed your group? So, pack up some food just in case. Second, figure out what you will need in the way of batter supplies and cooking utensils you will need to pack.Third, think about the fuel source for your make-shift stove. Will you need to bring some dry pre-split wood, or do you have a gas-fired portable stove? What about matches, kindling or paper for fire starting material? It would be sad to catch the fish and then not be able to start a fire to cook them on due to a failure to plan ahead.
Finally, what goes good with fish? Be sure to pack your favorite side dishes. (oh, that reminds me, pack some dishes too!) Shore lunches provide an opportunity to get out of the boat, stretch your legs, enjoy the scenery and make some memories with friends and family. Good luck and good fishing!
ATV's and OHV (all terrain vehicles and off highway vehicles) are fun and powerful. Trail riding is exciting and a great way to spend time in the great outdoors. Safety is critical to make sure the fun doesn't end up with someone getting injured. Combining the power and speed these machines are capable of can spell disaster if one doesn't have the proper training or experience to operate safely. Matching the size of the machine to the rider is critical. For example, a 12 year old may not have the physical characteristics needed to be able to control an ATV meant for a larger, stronger adult.
That's why State regulations have been put in place to give guidance on who is eligible to ride. These statutes and rules can be found at the DNR website and should be reviewed carefully by anyone planning to go trail riding this year. A rule that was added in 2018 makes ATV/OHV riding unlawful to anyone that has a revoked or suspended drivers license due to DWI offense.
The DNR has a brochure that can be obtained at any Department of Motor Vehicles license bureau and should be reviewed thoroughly before loading up for the weekend trail ride. The rules have been designed to help riders have a safe and enjoyable experience. Like any sport activity, the more time spent doing it will increase your skill and understanding of the limits to the machine and your own ability.