Birding is a hobby you can take with you anywhere. Even some of the coldest, most remote places in the world have various types of birds that live or migrate there seasonally. It’s a hobby you can bundle into two: hiking and birding, boating and birding, four-wheeling and birding, to name a few. If you’re outside, look to the sky and listen carefully. This hobby changes with the seasons, bringing new species of birds to new locations for an array of colors, sizes, and sounds.
At Rainy Lake, it’s easy to slow down and notice the sounds and sights you might otherwise miss. The warmer temperatures in the spring mean birds that migrate south return to mate, nest, and settle in for a beautiful summer. With more bird activity and a greater chance to see rare birds that are out to socialize, April is a great time to hone your birding technique. Grab a pair of binoculars, get outside, and look or listen for a few of our favorites.
We’ve named just a few common spring-time birds here at Rainy Lake, but consider taking our birding challenge and download a printable list of birds you can scout for next time you’re outside. Want to encourage birds to visit your yard? Check out these tips from Minnesota DNR for bird feeding in the spring!
One of the best tasting fish in Minnesota is the Black Crappie, which are plentiful in the vast Rainy Lake waters. To eat them, you must first catch them. It's always a good idea to check with local bait stores on the best lures for crappies, but most crappie fishers get a supply of live minnows as they are the natural food source and crappie's favorite meal.
It's best to go with ultra light rods and 2-6# line which helps in feeling the "light bite." Bobbers are a good idea for younger anglers, but not necessary. While the world record crappie is 6 pounds, the typical "keeper" in Minnesota lakes is under 1 pound. Spring fishing is perfect for crappie fishing as they can be found along shorelines where there are fallen trees or sharp drop offs. They prefer structure such as weed beds, humps or holes under the water and wind-protected coves with good cover. Early morning yields the best chance of success, and once you find one, there is most likely a school of them at the same spot.
“Before going fishing, anglers should be sure to check page seven of the fishing regulations that details what’s new for 2019,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Department of Natural Resources." The current limit of crappies to have in possession is 10 per licensed angler. And that would make an awesome fish fry!
ATV's and OHV (all terrain vehicles and off highway vehicles) are fun and powerful. Trail riding is exciting and a great way to spend time in the great outdoors. Safety is critical to make sure the fun doesn't end up with someone getting injured. Combining the power and speed these machines are capable of can spell disaster if one doesn't have the proper training or experience to operate safely. Matching the size of the machine to the rider is critical. For example, a 12 year old may not have the physical characteristics needed to be able to control an ATV meant for a larger, stronger adult.
That's why State regulations have been put in place to give guidance on who is eligible to ride. These statutes and rules can be found at the DNR website and should be reviewed carefully by anyone planning to go trail riding this year. A rule that was added in 2018 makes ATV/OHV riding unlawful to anyone that has a revoked or suspended drivers license due to DWI offense.
The DNR has a brochure that can be obtained at any Department of Motor Vehicles license bureau and should be reviewed thoroughly before loading up for the weekend trail ride. The rules have been designed to help riders have a safe and enjoyable experience. Like any sport activity, the more time spent doing it will increase your skill and understanding of the limits to the machine and your own ability.