Strong Finish to Spring Walleye Season

Joe Henry, spring walleye, 2016, Rainy RiverThere is no doubt, the Lake of the Woods area is fortunate to have the extended walleye season on the Rainy River. The ability to fish walleyes in the open water of the Rainy River to April 14th is a bonus.

Walleye fishing this spring started out hot for the first week. Then once the Little Fork river broke loose upstream and dirtied up the waters, things slowed significantly. After about 5 – 7 days, the water began to clear and walleye fishing once again began to pick up.

I had the chance to get out the last two days of the season. They were the kind of days you dream about when you think about spring fishing on the Rainy River. Above average temps and the river loaded with walleyes.

It wasn’t just me that had this good fortune. Everywhere you looked the nets were dipping. The walleyes were of all sizes. Lots of eaters, slots and trophies. I heard of a good number of big females over 30 inches caught and released.

The spring season allows anglers to keep two walleyes under 19.5″. Everything else must be returned to the water. Due to the shallower water and ice cold water, mortality in releasing walleyes caught is very low.

Most anglers were jig fishing, however others had great success pulling spinners with a bottom bouncer and using crankbaits with a bouncer or a 3 way rig.

Regardless of what your technique, the fishing was what you think about in your dreams. Some boats reported 80+ fish days with numerous big fish. Everywhere you looked across the river, there was almost always an angler posing with a nice walleye that was sure to make it on social media somewhere.

With a healthy walleye population, the expectations for good success on the MN Fishing Opener (May 14th) are high. Some fish should be left in the river, others will be spread out along shorelines across the lake.

May is a wonderful time to catch walleyes on The Walleye Capital of the World. Whether you bring your own boat or jump on a charter or with a guide, the fishing is typically stellar.

For more info on booking lodging, a charter or a guide, check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism website at

Boats on Rainy River spring fishing, 2016Greg Mortenson, Rainy River, Spring, 2016 Joe Henry, Spring Walleye, 2016_low res

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