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.
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.