Boats are now launching onto Rainy River from Nelson Park at Birchdale, and Koochiching County officials say the Frontier Access will soon be open too. People flock to Rainy River for some of the earliest open water fishing in the state. The border waters remain open to walleye fishing until April 14, however, Rainy River is catch-and-release only. You can reel in a big Walleye, snap a few photos and release a breeder back into the system.
If you're looking to keep a fish, Northern Pike, Crappie and Smallmouth Bass are open continuous but there are size restrictions on the Northern Pike.
On April 24, the first Sturgeon tag season opens on Rainy River. You are allowed one per year with a tag, and it must be 45-50 inches inclusive, or larger than 75 inches. The tag season will remain open until May 7th with a catch-and-release period to follow from May 8-15 and it is closed entirely to allow for spawning from May 15-July 1.
Rainy River is a recovering Sturgeon fishery and doing very well. Do your part if you fish for these monsters, use barbless hooks and keep the fish in a horizontal orientation during any handling, holding fish this large in a vertical orientation can cause damage to internal organs.
International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau