The short spring sturgeon tag season closes after this weekend. Anglers have been hitting Rainy River in search of a keeper. The slot is 45-50 inches and a trophy fish must be over 75 inches. Those are pretty big fish.
Kuttes Landing is a popular access for sturgeon as it is just above the confluence of the Little Fork river, which is a sturgeon hot spot. The photo is from Kuttes Landing, which is roughly where US 71 meets MN 11.
The Ron Hall access in International Falls is just below the dam, and that too is a sturgeon hot spot.
Fishing for sturgeon can be as simple as dropping a strong circle hook and leader baited with a few worms and a minnow upstream from a deeper area. Use a fairly heavy roll sinker to keep the rig in place. The sturgeon will be lured upstream from the deeper holes where they tend to congregate.
If you'd rather learn the tips and tricks from a pro, check the guide services listed here: https://www.rainylake.org/guides--outfitter-services.html
Migratory birds are all arriving to begin their nesting processes and some trees are starting to show buds. We have excellent weather forecast for the weekend. Hiking trails around Rainy Lake go through varied habitats and you will spot some wildlife.
Fishing focus around International Falls has been on the Sturgeon in Rainy River. These fish can grow to 100 pounds or more and the brief spring tag season will soon end. You can keep one sturgeon per year and it must be 45-50 inches inclusive, or over 75 inches. Those are pretty big fish.
To fish for sturgeon, find a deeper hole in the river and anchor a bit upstream. then drop of solid leader and circle hook baited with some crawlers or minnows, or both, with a weight heavy enough to hold it just off the bottom. Sturgeon will come to investigate from downstream.
There will be another tag season on Rainy River, that will run from July 1 to September 30. The season shuts down to allow for spawning. However, you can fish Rainy River for northern pike and smallmouth bass at any time.
photo by Full Throttle Guiding
International Falls area anglers are focusing on the sturgeon that lurk the waters of Rainy River. These are very large, slow growing fish and a small one might be one of the biggest fish you ever catch. Right now,m sturgeon fishing is strictly catch-and-release. You can also fish our border waters for northern pike and smallmouth bass.
For Sturgeon, locate a deeper hole then drop your bait upstream a bit. Thread a couple worms and a minnow on a circle hook with a fair amount of weight. Sturgeon will be lured from the deeper hole to check out the bait. Handle sturgeon with care, the Rainy river is an example of a river experience great recovery of a fishery and it's to everyone's benefit to keep it that way.
Song birds and waterfowl are starting to return to the forests and wetlands, meanwhile ruffed grouse are drumming in their spring mating ritual. These are all reliable signs that spring is now winning the weather war against winter.