Anglers planning a trip to the beautiful Rainy River area this year would be wise to buy a Sturgeon tag when they purchase their fishing license just in case they catch the next record. The Sturgeon population has thrived to the point that many are caught by Walleye anglers by accident! Without a Sturgeon tag the only option is to take a quick photo and release what might be the next state record. In fact, the state record Sturgeon is still in the waters of Rainy River as it was released after the duel was won by Jack Burke from Stillwater on May 4, 2018. That monster has most likely put on a little more weight from the approximate 105 pounds it weighed last year. If you are planning to catch a Sturgeon on purpose, it is recommended to use a circle hook to allow for easy release so others can enjoy the experience of landing one of the most iconic and amazing fresh water fish in the world.
(Photo by Full Throttle Guiding)
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 International Falls Journal)