During the last few weeks many experts are giving opening day forecasts and tips. Most are making their guess based on the early ice out. Some have even predicted the walleyes will be deeper than normal. I can only tell you this much--it will all depend on the week before. If we have warm stable weather, we should then have good fishing.
On Rainy Lake as of today, the main lake temperatures are in the 40's even up in the shallows. Our openers up here are usually not as good as they are in central and southern Minnesota.
My prediction is simple: If you are on a good walleye lake and the weather has been good, your opener should be the same.
The last four times I've fished have been real good. The smallies are starting to go shallow just to put on the feed bag. It seems that early season smallies are all big. We're catching lots of fish from 18 to 19 inches.
My son, Erik spent a day with me and weighed a 19 incher that was 5 lbs 4 oz. The water temp has been up and down because of the cold nights. Last Saturday the water temp way back in a bay was 55 degrees so I started to throw a spinner bait with good success catching both pike and smallies on it. Two days ago in the same bay, the water temp was 48 degrees. We were not doing so well and I thought I would try the spinner bait. Even though it went against the commonly held belief that the best spinner bait temp starts at about 55 degrees. We caught fish all day almost at will. Smallmouth and northern pike plus three nice walleyes all on spinner baits.
Lesson learned: The fish do not read books.
All fish were released
The last four days have been pretty good. The water temperature is still averaging about 48 degrees in the bays.
Last Sunday I caught a 44 incher that was a bruiser. Again I was alone so no picture. Caught that baby on fluke in two feet of water casting up in the reeds. Man that was quite a thrill.
Yesterday I went out and caught three 38 inch fish that were fat and sassy. All of them caught on a flat rap, worked real slow, It's a floater so I can keep it up a little higher than the standard suspending jerk bait.
The smallies are starting to go as well. The big ones come in to feed right along side the pike. I once had a four lb. smallie try to take a spinner bait away from a 15 lb. pike (no fear).
All fish were released.
I had a pretty good day finally!! The water temperature at the back of the bays is still around 45 degrees. I managed to get ten pike today--one was a little over 40 inches long. I was alone so I couldn't take a picture. The next largest was a 36 incher. The big one was caught on the new flat rap. All the rest caught on Xraps.
Most of the fish including the two biggest, were caught in a small depression which was five feet deep with shallower water with reeds surrounding it.
Not the best day but it proves you can catch big pike even in very cold waters on artificial baits. Would live suckers work better? Probably, but you cannot always have them with you.
As of today, I still am having trouble catching big pike. The water temperature is still in the 40's even way back in the bays.
It has been very windy causing the shallows to be turbid making it even more difficult. The pike will have a hard time getting to the vegetation they need for spawning this year -- another good reason for releasing those good sized pike.
Low water is bad for all species when it comes to spawning.
Oh, by the way, pike season is continuous on Rainy Lake.