Voyageurs National Park has opened the Rainy Lake Ice Road as far as the Black Bay Ski Trail and is working on extending the road east to Cranberry Bay and Back. That provides a lot more access for ice fishing, or sightseeing and skiing for that matter.
As far as Ice fishing goes, the brutally cold snap kept a lot of people off the ice, but those that ventured out report the walleye bite was fair around Sand Bay and you could use a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow, or just place a minnow under a bobber and do okay.
Meanwhile, back at trails, the Park Service is working on staking and grooming all the trails in the Park, and the trails outside of the park have been well maintained by the International Voyageurs Snowmobile Club. We are getting a break from the frigid temps, so get out and enjoy.
International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau
Walleye fishing has been pretty good on Rainy Lake and Rainy River lately. On the Lake, anglers are still finding walleye in about 20 feet of water near the rocky shorelines, but they are also starting to show up around the submerged structures in a little deeper water. The shoals east of Brule Narrows are likely spots.On Rainy river the walleye fishing has been best in areas with stronger current like above and below the Ranier Rapids and below the dam at International Falls. Some northern pike and smallmouth bass are being pulled from the same areas in the river.
The fishing focus in International Falls has shifted to the Rainy River. All the nearby launches are open and the spring walleye run is underway. Anglers are pulling in quite a few large walleye by anchoring over about 15 feet of water and jigging with a minnow. Word is the preferred bait is an emerald shiner. The Ron Hall Access on Shorewood Drive is just below the dam at International Falls, and the swifter waters and structure there are almost always good for a few walleye and smallmouth bass.
The National Park has closed all winter trails and ice roads. The Oberholtzer and Rainy Lake Recreation trails provide some access to park. You might encounter wildlife on either trail. Some migratory birds are starting to arrive as spring progresses.