Rainy River access in International Falls, Pelland Junction, and Birchdale are all open.
Rainy River provides some of the earliest and best open water fishing in the upper midwest as walleye head upstream from Lake of the Woods. Walleye season on our border weaters remains open until April 14, and you might also pull in one of the huge sturgeon lurking in the river. The swifter waters below the dam at International Falls are almost always good for a few walleye and smallmouth bass. Kuttes Landing at Pelland Junction is just upstream from the confluence of the Little Fork River, which is another great hot spot. Nelson Park at Birchdale is just below the Long Sault Rapids where you can find concentrations of walleye and sturgeon.
Related: What Fishing On Rainy River is like.
The shorter days and cooler weather usually trigger more aggressive feeding among our gamefish. Anglers are finding more smallmouth bass along with walleye on the submerged structure. The walleye are a little deeper and the shoals east of Grindstone Island have been the hottest spots. Use bright colored jigs and live bait to target walleye and colorful lures for the bass. The crappie bite has been pretty good in Black Bay and into the Rat Root River.
Walleye are starting to show up more frequently in Rainy River as the annual fall run appears to have started. River anglers are also still trying for some trophy sturgeon and the tag season will close at the end of the month.
Even though it’s early September, some maple trees are showing red so fall colors could be showing a little early this year.
Photo by Full Throttle Guiding.
Walleye, smallmouth bass and crappie have all been more active in the late afternoon and into the evening. Walleye have transitioned to the submerged reefs that are around 30 feet deep. There are several of these humps east of the islands north of Jackfish Bay. There are also some hot spots in Sand Bay. Jigging with a bright colored jig and live bait will do the trick. Smallmouth bass have been hanging near the rocky shorelines and weedy edges of the bays. Crappie fishing has been best in Black Bay and back into the Rat Root River on the west end of the Bay.
In Rainy River, walleye are being pulled from the faster waters and structure below the dam at International Falls and sturgeon anglers are checking the wider bends downstream. The North American Sturgeon Championships will be held Saturday at Nelson Park in Birchdale.
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.
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