With water temperatures on the rise walleye have turned on. They are holding near shallow windblown structure such as points, inside turns and weedy bays. Most walleyes are being caught in the three to ten foot range with a wide variety of techniques. The go-to choice has been jigs (casted or trolled) and spinners tipped with minnows or worms. Long lining crankbaits or twitching jerk baits have been effective options when covering water is important, and last but not least, don’t overlook the ever-underestimated slip bobber tipped with a minnow or leech. Areas of current have proved successful especially on low wind days. In these areas deeper holes (20 to 35 feet) with ¼ to 3/8 oz jigs have been good places to focus. A few fish are being caught on break lines and shallow reefs (17 to 25 feet) directly adjacent to spawning areas.
Most of the lake is now seeing at least some bass guarding their nests. This has been a moving target this season with different parts of the lake warming at different rates and often cooling just as fast with roller-coaster forecasts. Recently however; things appear to have stabilized and the bass are moving up. Deeper parts of the lake are seeing bass just starting to bed while shallower areas have experienced bedding bass for over a week now. Look for bass on shorelines in and around shallow boulders. Top water lures, stick baits, and plastics have been catching fish.
Crappies continue to be shallow in the three to six foot range. Most crappies are being caught using a slip bobber and a minnow. Turns and points in bull rushes as well as on and around sunken rocks have been the key.
With the warming bays baitfish have moved in and the predators have followed. Look for pike to be moving into shallow warming waters. They are well past spawn now and are feeding heavily. Windy shorelines and bays where other fish and minnows are schooling is a good place to start. Water temperature is often the key to spring pike but remember the actual temperature is not as important as the direction it is going. Rising water temps throughout the day can often bring pike into small areas in big numbers. Spoons, larger jerk baits, and twitch baits are drawing strikes.
This post was brought to you by Rainy Lake Guide Association.
Suspending twitch baits can bring some of the most exciting spring action with nearly every species Rainy Lake has to offer. Often however; these baits are fished too fast when the water is cold and fish are not in an aggressive mood. The key to more strikes is in the pause. Even a pause of five to ten seconds is not too long, but to a waiting angler that feels like eternity. Counting the seconds on each pause can help you force yourself to wait. And don’t be afraid to change it up, Jerk-Jerk-Pause two seconds, Jerk-Jerk Pause five seconds. When you get a strike remember what you did and repeat it.
With water temperatures in the high forties to mid-fifties walleyes have remained slightly behind in their traditional movements. They are being caught in bays where water temperatures are slightly above that of the main lake. Windblown shorelines and points have been most productive. 1/16 to 1/8th ounce jigs tipped with a minnow or plastic have been effective. With the cold weather the need to slow down and be methodical can’t be understated. Action on spinner rigs is starting to pick up. With warmer weather in the forecast the bite is only expected to get better.
Due to the cold temperatures Smallmouth have yet to begin nesting. Most fish are being caught near their traditional spawning area staging up on windy points, large boulders or any other significant structure near potential spawning sites. Suspending twitch baits have worked great. A long pause is the key to more strikes. As always plastics and hair jigs are great go-to options.
Crappies are shallow in the three to five-foot range. Most crappies are being caught using a slip bobber and a minnow. Turns and points in bull rushes as well as on and around sunken rocks have been the key.
Pike have finished their spawning weeks ago but remain shallow and near spawning areas. Bays protected from larger bodies where water has had a chance to warm faster are a good place to start. Spinner baits, spoons and most significantly suspending twitch baits have been most productive.
-Our fishing report is courtesy the Rainy Lake Guide Association.
-Photo Courtesy Minnesota Arrowhead Association
-This post was brought to you by Rainy Lake Guide Association.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (Photos courtesy of Elisa Winterland, Burgess Eberhardt and Pete Schultz)
International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau