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!
At last word, the ice in the Little Fork River had pushed north to White's Bridge just outside of Littlefork. That means it will push into the Rainy River very soon, and the Big Fork River will do the same. When the Forks break out, water clarity in Rainy River drops and there will be debris and ice floes to dodge. That usually means a bit less fishing pressure for a few days.
Meanwhile, ramps on the Rainy have been busy and word is the walleye fishing is very good. This spring, it is a catch-and-release extended walleye season on Rainy River, but you can still keep some fish.
Northern Pike, crappie and smallmouth bass seasons are open continuous on our border waters. On Rainy River, all northern pike between 30 and 40 inches must be released immediately. You can keep a total of three and one can be over 40 inches. You can keep 10 crappie and 6 smallmouth bass.
It's worth checking out the forest at this time of year too, the forestry roads are generally open and wildlife is stirring. If you listen, you can hear grouse drumming to attract a mate. Songbirds are arriving from the south as are all sorts of waterfowl.
Birders will have improved access this summer. the Polar Polers Ski Club has started construction on a boardwalk over the wetland at the head of their Tilson Creek Trail system. That will provide access to several miles of trails through quite a bit of varied habitat. The likelihood of spotting wildlife is pretty good, especially at this time when the trees have not yet filled out creating dense cover.
Another option for getting out into nature is to check on the waterfalls, where spring runoff is thundering through with a roar, and providing great photo opportunities. I suggest hiking around the hundreds of yards long cascades on the Big Fork at Big Falls, or checking the narrow restriction of Vermilion Falls just south of Crane Lake. Both have great trails and adequate parking areas.
This post was brought to you by Rainy Lake Guide Association.
Eagles and birds take on a new meaning when the snow melts and reveals the greens of golf courses. Golfing in the Rainy Lake area provides plenty of opportunities to experience wildlife. In fact, it's the only time that shooting an "Eagle" is legal. Here is one of the few places in North America that you can golf in two countries in the same day! The River Golf Course is on the US side of the Rainy River while Kitchen Creek and Heron Landing are a short hop across the border. Grab your passport and some buddies to make up an International golfing team and plan on having a great time in one of North America's most pristine locations.