Rainy River: Sturgeon Management and How to Catch Them Webinar

Sportsman's Lodge Charter FishingHave you ever wanted to catch Minnesota’s largest growing fish? Brett Nelson, DNR large lake specialist in the Baudette fisheries office, will cover how the DNR manages sturgeon fishing and the success story of the recovery of this important fishery. Nelson will also cover the basics of how to fish for sturgeon in Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.

This seminar is virtual, meaning it is being held online.  That means, depending upon your schedule, you can take a one hour break and really gain some insight on the success story of Lake Sturgeon on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods.

The sturgeon seminar is on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at noon.  You can sign up for free by clicking here.

The sturgeon seminar will be a three part session.  First, all about sturgeon and what they face.  Second, what the MN DNR does for sturgeon management.  Third, some good helpful tips on fishing for and catching sturgeon.

The incredible natural resource we call the Rainy River today has great water quality and is not only home to world class sturgeon, but also walleyes, bass, pike and many other fish species.  That is not the way things were back in the 1950’s.

MPCA photo, digging through wood waste on Rainy River

MPCA photo. A researcher digging through 3 feet of wood waste to find the river.

“In the 1950s, standing on the banks of the Rainy River, one would see 3-4 foot mats of fiber from the paper mills, floating globules of stuff from wastewater plants that didn’t have very good treatment back then,” Mike Kennedy, a project manager with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said.

Historic photos show researchers standing in 3 feet of wood waste, digging to find the river.

Many talk about the Clean Water Act and specifically, when there was some teeth put into enforcement of the act the point when the river started coming back.

Kennedy traces the river’s turnaround back to the 1970s. In 1971, Canada passed its Environmental Protection Act in 1971, and Congress approved the United States’ Clean Water Act in 1972. Kennedy says that allowed for more permitting and regulations and for the two countries to work with industry to clean things up.


MPCA photo. Bark and fiber deposits behind the Mando Paper Plant

Sturgeon that had sought refuge in the tributaries off the Rainy River started to return, and so did anglers and other recreation.

There are great opportunities to sturgeon fish on the Rainy River this spring.  Whether you bring your own boat and give it a whirl or jump in with a local fishing guide or on a resort charter boat, the options are many.

The 2022 Lake Sturgeon Season on the Minnesota side of the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods is as follows.

-Catch and Release Only:  October 1, 2021 – April 23, 2022

-Harvest Season:  April 24, 2022 – May 7, 2022

-Catch and Release Only:  May 8, 2022 – May 15, 2022

-Closed:  May 16, 2022 – June 30, 2022

-Harvest Season:  July 1, 2022 – September 30, 2022Rainy River, Lake of the Woods

mpca rainy river graphicIn today’s world when it comes to natural resources, it is good to hear of a great success story.  This story of the Rainy River and the exploding population of Lake Sturgeon is certainly in that category.


General Info about Lake of the Woods / Rainy River Area

Area Lodging, Charters and Guides

Information about fishing the Rainy River, Boat Ramps, Etc.


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