Lake of the Woods Water Levels Coming Back Up

Water levels at Manitou Rapids_042822Mother Nature is reversing course from a couple of low water years with some significant rain in the areas this past week.  With 3.5 inches in some areas around the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods in a single rainfall along with others, water levels on the Rainy River actually went up five feet in three days.  With the ground still frozen, it does not have the capacity to soak up much of the water and runoff into the river is even heavier.  Combine all of this with the Little Fork and Big Fork letting loose and it has been quite a week on the Rainy River.

There has been some flooding along the Rainy River this past week.  Lake of the Woods, however, not only had some capacity to make up, the dam in Kenora was opened to release water as well.

Both the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods have been very low for the past couple of years.  This had been causing some issues in getting into shallow harbors,  difficulty in navigating through areas otherwise safe, concerns over fish spawning habitat and it even makes it difficult getting in or out of a boat on some docks.

The level of Lake of the Woods rose 20 cm (7.87 inch.) in the past week and is expected to rise another 25-30 cm (9-12 inch.) over the next week, according to the Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB).

lwcb precip on lake of the woods 2 year 042822The LWCB says, Lake of the Woods is quickly approaching the top of the operating level range for the lake and once it is, fully opening the dams in Kenora will be required.

The outflow from Lake of the Woods is scheduled to be increased from 725 m³/s to 825 m³/s today (Wednesday, April 27) and the LWCB has tentatively scheduled outflow increases for Friday and Sunday.

Once the land thaws out making it able to absorb future rainfalls and the initial flow of water subsides, the river should make it’s way to a more normal level, barring no other significant rain events.  The lake is slowly filling up to more normal levels and will be in good shape this summer, again, barring unique rain events.  lwcb water levels 042722

The Minnesota fishing opener is Saturday, May 14th and a very much anticipated event by many who love walleye fishing and Lake of the Woods.  Based on some very much needed spring rains, water levels are looking up!  Will the lake be free of ice this year?  Well, only Mother Nature truly knows, but thankfully, there will be walleyes in the Rainy River which has been open for weeks.  The lake is open where tributaries like the Rainy River and Bostick Creek are flowing in.  And finally, bays are open, which offer some nice opportunities as they are the size sometimes of inland lakes.

One of the interesting things about the spring melt is it is never the same.  There are always twists and turns when it come to Mother Nature, especially in the north country.

Bret Amundson, Sporting Journal Radio, spring Rainy River walleyeThis year’s spring walleye season on the river was dotted with cold weather and various storm systems that rolled through.  It sure didn’t help out the fishing although many anglers caught some good walleyes and sturgeon.  They are still catching good sturgeon but most have taken a little break to let all of the debris from the Big Fork and Little Fork rivers push through.

Like anything in life, the same situation can be looked at negatively by some, positively by others.  Some are grumbling the lake may have some ice patches on it on the fishing opener.  Others are hoping it does as they know fully well the Rainy River and Four Mile Bay will be full of walleyes.  Other fish along the entire south shore are typically hanging out close to shore in good numbers.

And of course up at the NW Angle, walleye anglers know current areas and structure off of the various points in the area will produce some early season walleyes.

It is an interesting time up around Lake of the Woods.  Mother Nature is filling her back up as we await the almighty walleye season opener!


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