River Walleyes Poised for Strong Finish
It didn’t take long for the ice to go out. Once things started happening on the Rainy River, they happened fast.
After the Birchdale access was cleared of ice, within days, Frontier and Vidas were cleared. Now, the entire river is open and the access at Timber Mill Park in Baudette is clear as is the Wheeler’s Point access at the mouth of the river. It is nice to have five ramps open as it takes the pressure off of just one landing and it also allows anglers to dock at closer the the area of the river they prefer to fish.
Fishing has started out on fire. The water had good clarity and walleyes are present in good numbers. Then some cold weather rolled in changing water temps in the river from 40 degrees down to around 34 degrees. On top of that, spring river anglers know to watch for the Big Fork and Little Fork Rivers to bust loose and send debris and dirty water into the Rainy River.
This year, anglers didn’t know how much it would affect the Rainy as water levels are very low. Well, it did affect the Rainy but after a number of days now, the water is clearing up. In addition, the warmer weather is warming water temps to around 40 degrees or higher which is optimal for walleye fishing. Reports in the past day have been excellent. The thought is the last week of the season could be most epic.
The go to presentation has been a 3/8 – 1/2 ounce jig (gold, orange or pink) along with your favorite minnow or plastic. Some anglers have been anchoring up on key river spots such as holes, current seams or humps and letting the walleyes swim to them. Others have been using their electric trolling motor to slowly work their way upstream and then do a controlled drift with the help of their motor back downstream.
Each day is different, some walleyes want the presentation vertical whereas some days they prefer it horizontal.
Some anglers actually do very well pulling crankbaits this time of year. If you are trolling in shallower water, often times pulling into the current allows you to get action on your crank while moving slower which is typically most conducive to cold water walleyes. Others will use a three way rig or bottom bouncer and a shallow diving crankbait to fish various depths of the river.
One of the great things about spring fishing on the river is anglers can use a 12′ boat or a 30′ boat. The river is small enough water that even on a windy day, waves don’t whip up too bad.
The walleye season from Four Mile Bay (located at the mouth of the Rainy River) and up the Rainy River on the MN side lasts through April 14th. From March 1 – April 14, this is a catch and release season only for walleyes and saugers. Have your camera ready as many anglers come for the chance for a giant.
It is hard to mention the Rainy River without mentioning sturgeon. Dinosaurs are certainly being caught, some by anglers targeting them and others by unsuspecting walleye anglers. Our website has some good information about sturgeon fishing if you are new to it. There are a lot of sturgeon in the Rainy River and to feel the power this fish with prehistoric history is special.
Lodging can be found just east of Baudette on the river (Royal Dutchman) into Baudette, north of Baudette along the river and on the south shore of the lake. There is a wide variety of places to stay depending upon where you want to fish and whether you want a full service resort or prefer a hotel room.
The season is finishing up very strong, don’t miss out!