Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published October 30, 2017
It is that time of the year. Each fall, the Rainy River experiences a right of nature, a tradition of sorts for outdoors minded anglers who don't mind fishing in chilly fall temperatures for the chance at a walleye of a lifetime. The emerald shiners run up the Rainy River. We really don't know why they swim up river but we believe in search of food. With that being said, we do know why the walleyes enter the river, to eat one of their favorite forage, the emerald shiners.
The thought is as the water cools into the low and mid 40's (it was 48-51 degrees this week) the larger emerald shiners will begin to run as will the larger walleyes. The walleyes are starting to show up and if this year is like most other years, it should only get better if you like big walleyes.Emerald shiners, Rainy River, Lake of the Woods
Bait dealers have had a tough time finding shiners this past week so the run is definitely intermittent. These sleep deprived entrepreneurs work very hard and are often out all night in search of shiners. Anglers love nothing more than having fresh live shiners to tip their jig with. Most don't realize the efforts bait dealers go through to actually catch them this time of year, checking nets and key shiner areas often three or more times throughout the night.
Some big walleyes have been showing up this past week. The fishing on the river started out HOT in September with a lot of shiners and good numbers of walleyes. With that being said, the action didn't produce the big trophies during the warmer weather in September. There were some trophies caught, but not like we are seeing this week.
Gregg Kraemer, Rainy River WalleyeNow that it is October pushing into November, the days are getting shorter and the water colder, things are starting to shift. The last couple of weeks has not produced big numbers of walleyes but more average numbers. With that being said, bigger fish are showing up. It is common to hear about huge walleyes being caught during the weeks most are sitting in tree stands looking for venison or horns. It is definitely a tough choice as the deer hunting season is short.
Most anglers are targeting walleyes jigging. Typically a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce jig will give you control in the current of the Rainy River. If water is really rolling, don't be afraid to go to a 3/4 or even ounce. It is important to maintain control and feel the jig occasionally bounce off of the bottom. The walleyes don't mind a larger jig.
Colors vary but you can't go too wrong with colors like gold, orange, glow, pink, white, peacock or combinations of such. Area resorts and bait shops have a good selection of heavier jigs in the good Lake of the Woods colors. The local tackle company, Tom's Tackle, has a wide selection of jigs that just work on these waters.
Jigs, Lake of the WoodsI am a big believer in stinger hooks this time of year. Hook a stinger up to the hook of your jig. This 2″ line attached to a small treble hook can be the difference between a so-so day and a great day. Hook the small treble just in front of the tail of the shiner. It amazes me how big of fish can be taken on the small treble.
Work holes, current breaks or even flats. Anchor up in a spot and wait for walleyes to move through or slowly motor up current and down current with a controlled drift. Change colors of jigs until you find out which color is preferred that day.
One method of fishing on the Rainy River one shouldn't overlook is trolling crankbaits. This past week was a perfect example. Although I stuck a big 30″ walleye on a jig and emerald shiner, we actually caught more walleyes trolling that given day. In our case, on that day, we targeted 9′ of water and caught keepers and a 20″ and 26″ throwback. We did hear of a couple of big fish taken trolling as well.
Leadcore line will allow you to troll the deeper holes in addition to the shallow stretches. When fishing the shallow water, we simply long lined Rapala Shad Raps and Wally Divers.
It is a special window to fish right now. If you aren't an avid deer hunter or perhaps get your deer early, you may want to consider a trip to the river. Dress warm, be safe and make some memories that only can be made late fall.