As of this moment, the ice on Rainy is not out. However, it is very close. I have been able to get out on two bays on which I usually have good luck catching pike. So far, not much to report.
The water level is very low and the water temperature as of today, way back in the bays, is only 41 degrees.
Low water levels are going to make trouble for spawning fish. I'll keep on plugging. I am sure as soon as the water warms up a bit and the perch move shallow, the bite will start.
Yesterday Kelly Blome, my grandson, Erik Faue and I fished the Rainy River near its junction with the Littlefork Rver. We fished for sturgeon for a couple of hours. We caught two small sturgeon and six suckers on crawlers. We then decided to give that up and go home.
During the boat ride back we decided to cast the shoreline and see what would happen so we stopped and fished a good looking shoreline. Kelly put on an XRap and Erik and I used a jig and plastic combination. In one hour (all the time we had left), we caught six pike, one walleye, and one 3-1/2 lb smallmouth--Kelly caught that. The river is low and the water temp was 40 degrees.
Lesson learned: Even in very cold water, hard baits and plastic work. Walleye fishing on the river is starting to pick up especially in the Birchdale area. Best bet for sturgeon is near the mouth at four mile bay, Some of the bays on Rainy Lake are ice free.
Everyone knows the Rainy River walleye run is about to start. The sturgeon run is about to commence as well.
The Rainy River offers you one of your best chances to catch the largest fish of your life. From the mouth of the river at 4-mile bay (Lake of the Woods) all the way up to the dam at International Falls. I, personally, believe the lake sturgeon to be much stronger and just as acrobatic as the musky. The best fishing is usually had starting with ice out at 4-mile bay as the fish come in from the lake to start their spawning run. Although there are more sturgeon in the river during the spawn, the river offers good action all summer and fall along its full length.
Tools required: long rods with good backbone, reels filled with 50 lb braided line with a swivel and 3 feet of 20 lb mono leader, a number 1 circle hook, heavy sinkers, and lots of nghtcrawlers.