Big Fall Walleyes in the Rainy River

There has been a trend over the past few years, maybe longer.  Right before and during the traditional MN Gun Deer Season, which this year is November 9th, big fall walleyes are in the Rainy River and often time, big walleyes.  This past week proved it again.  Some reports of 100 fish days for those who were on them.  Many other anglers spoke about catching numerous trophy walleyes all in the same day.  This message isn’t a one off, but rather, common place.  The bottom line, if you are willing to brave the cold temps, there are big fall walleyes in the Rainy River.Rainy River walleye in net

Yep, this time of year, many outdoors-people minds turns to hunting.  Very understandable.  With that being said, having the chance to hit the river just one more time before ice up could be the best and most memorable trip of the year for big fall walleyes.

There is a lot of current in the Rainy River this year with one of the wettest falls and wettest years in history.  That hasn’t deterred the walleyes, in fact, it might actually attract them pumping river water throughout Lake of the Woods.  Nobody really knows, but I have spoken to many seasoned river anglers who believe with stronger current in the fall, the fish will be there.

What is the go to presentation.  No surprise to many, it is jigging.   With increased current, it is important to have heavier jigs.  With the stained water, the walleyes don’t seem to mind.  When we mention heavier jigs, it is good to have them up to 1.5 ounces just in case.  In most cases, a smaller jig will suffice if you are fishing out of the current.  The boy scout motto, “Always be Prepared”.

Rainy River walleye on jig and minnowJig colors?  With the stained waters of Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River, big walleyes are typically interested in gold, orange, chartreuse, and glow or a combo of such.  There are other nuances some use for jigging.  In the stained water, noise can be helpful.  Rattles, blades and spinners all add not only sound but also in some cases, extra flash.

As far as the bait on the jig, emerald shiners are the go to.  Emeralds are native to the Rainy and is one main reason the walleyes are there.  Emeralds run up the river in the fall.  There is no for sure reasoning why they run.  I have heard theories such as it is food related or the shiners are running to toughen up for the winter, getting re-slimed in the big schools.  Nobody really know.  What we do know, big fall walleyes love them and stay close.

Yep, it is a bit cold outside.  If you can handle the weather, the reward could be massive numbers of big fall walleyes and perhaps that fish of a lifetime!


To learn more about Lake of the Woods, check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism website.

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