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.
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.
Ice anglers are preparing for the upcoming Rainy Lake Sport Fishing Club Derby, and are targeting all types of species. Word is the walleye are responding to live bait whether you are jigging or using a bobber. Crappie are also responding to minnows but have not been very consistent. Most of this fishing has been going on around Sand Bay.
Some people are getting out further east, like around the mouths of Black and Cranberry Bays, but they are targeting Northern Pike.
Access to that area greatly improved when the Park Service completed the Rainy Lake Ice Road between the two bays. Along that road you might find some structure holding walleye like around the east end of Dryweed Island, try to get into about 25 to 30 feet of water.
Meanwhile, we've been running into snowmobilers from all over the state, they are finding our trails in excellent condition, The groomers have been out regularly as we have had some six inches of new snow fairly frequently. The trails in Voyageurs National Park are well marked and make some nice loops between the gateway communities. Need a map? Contact us and we'll put one in the mail!