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LEECH21

Thinkin' Spring!!!

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Hello neighbors to the north!

Just thinking about the spring sturgeon trip we annually take in April. This year we want to get into some of that early walleye action as well. I looked on the DNR website but couldn't find the specifics on when the season actually opens and ends up on the Rainy. Any help would be awesome!

Thanks, Jesse

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Rainydaze    0
Rainydaze

I guess I'll refer this to Fisky.

RD

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Royal Dutchman    0
Royal Dutchman

Hey Jesse,

I believe the river limit changes on March 1. The walleye "season" opens as soon as the river ice breaks and runs until midnight on April 14th. Sturgeon catch and release runs through April 23rd.

Every year people want us to tell them what day the river ice will break and some actually get angry when we can't do that. It is not a scheduled event! To many factors to do more than guess as even the weather man is only about 50% correct.

Some years we have some great river fishing the last week of March and some years it's the 2nd week of April, like last year, but what an incredible week that was! We did have some good fishing right around the 1st then a cold snap froze it up again.

We always walk a tightrope to get the river open without having it "mud up".

One of our guys put it well when he said " reserving a room for ice-out is an investment in the fishing opportunity of a lifetime" and most of our guys that book from the last week of March through the 1st week of April, bring both ice gear and open water gear.

Last April I drove my pickup out on the ice 2 miles from Graceton beach and hammered eyes 1 day and the next day I dropped my boat in at Birchdale and hammered eyes on the river.

I really wish you had waited a month or so before starting this thread! Ice out is our most stressfull time but also our most rewarding and I now will start loosing sleep for both reasons!

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fiskyknut    0
fiskyknut

Leech you're coming up again? Go figure!! You got bit hard by the Sturgeon bug eh!

What is this your 4th year coming for them Sturgeonfish?

Howdy Doug....Ah yes those predictions you get to make, ya know maybe you should've gotten ahold of Sandee's crystal ball before they left!

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Hey thanks Doug for the info! Looks like the first 2 weeks in April is gonna be the only time I can make it up. Family things going on the later part of the month. The weekend of the 12th might work then.....Sorry Doug for bringing this up so soon, but I have the open water "itch" already! Time to start planning.

And...Yes Fisky, this is my fourth year now. Pretty impressive you knew that.....should I be scared?!? \:\)

I believe it was you that was telling me about them big pike being caught in Lake of the Woods by a river that dumps in? Perhaps by Warroad, if my memory is correct. Does this take part into May usually? Maybe a early May sturgeon/pike trip isn't out of the question!

I'm so jealous of you guys that live in the North Country! You guys Stink!!! \:\)

Thanks again fellas

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fiskyknut    0
fiskyknut

Scared? Naw I'm just scarey looking! But I'm a watchin ya!!! Seriously though I remember you guys on account of your major enthusiasm each spring....Man you are better than that putuxy phil critter at predicting spring! Beat him to the punch anyhow.

Openwater Pike bite starts right at ice out. Peaks probably last 10 days of April most years, first week of May darn good too but it's usually dropping off day by day in May. Really depends on temps and flows in the creeks and ditches as to just when they move.

All the tribs see a Pike run. Mouth of the Warroad river is pretty popular. Lot's of folks on weekends when they're moving thru. If you wanted to do Sturgeon and Pike early May you could do your Pike fishing at Zippel or Bostic bays as they see good fishing there too and it'd be closer for you if your staying somewhere near the river for them Sturgeonfish. Warroad you can fish them from shore, Bostic and Zbay ones better off in a boat though Zbay has a couple of areas to fish from shore too.

How about a triple bagger? You could do it in April, fish the openwater on the river for Walleye and Sturgeon, hit the lake ice with the tip ups for some Pike.

Your jealous? Heck we got plenty of room so move on up!!!!

Did you pick up any kind of sonar unit over the summer? I got a memory like an Eelpout...Scarey huh!

Regards....fiskyknut

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Royal Dutchman    0
Royal Dutchman

Even the legendary Sandee's Crystal Ball clouded up from time to time!

An early ice out works well for me this year so I am thinking happy warm thoughts!

Maybe if you click your heels or something Fisky?

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Thanks again fellas.

I have not picked up any sonar unit "yet". I plan on purchasing a boat sometime here in the spring, but I don't think I'll have her by the trip. Next year, I'll be set!

Both early April and early May sound good. The weather would be better in May for sure, plus I can round up my own crawlers by then. I remember last year, I pretty much gave Lucky my mortgage payment for some worms! Plus in May we'll be able to hopefully rent a boat from Adrian's. Last year the river was still locked up (thanks again Doug!)

I guess my main goal this year is to at least beat one of my personal bests; 24.5" walleye, 58" sturgeon; and 32" pike. Right now the pike and eye are nothing to brag to much about.

This is gonna be the year....I can feel it! \:\)

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Rainydaze    0
Rainydaze

Hey Leech,

Those are all nice fish!

Chances are you will get even some bigger fish. Hope you tie into the 30 inch Pig this year.

RD

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Royal Dutchman    0
Royal Dutchman

Jesse,

It's always a little bitter-sweet when a 14 year old bags a 30" eye 'cause it makes me wonder when he will ever top it.

I think the perfect progression is topping your personal best a 1/2" at a time. That way you've got 10 or eleven more thrills before you hit 30! I'm stuck on 29 1/2 myself.

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Well said Doug.

I put in a lot of hours largemouth bass fishing to get one for the wall at 22". Then one late summer evening muskie fishing she hit. 22 inches exactly (the picture in my avatar). The replica should be done in about a week. I can't hardly wait.

I haven't put in nearly as many hours walleye fishing. So, I guess, 24.5 inches isn't all that bad.......but, I do have to agree with Rainydaze. I wouldn't complain if that 30 incher decided to bite my line!

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Talked it over with the wife and it looks like my options are probably going to be the weekends of April 5-6th, April 12-13th, and May 3-4th.

I know you guys can't predict the future.....but, if you were in my shoes which weekend would be the best bet for pike, walleye and sturgeon?

I now that its early yet, but there is a bunch of guys that are probably gonna be going with this year, so the earlier the planning the better.

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Oh yea, and again thanks ahead of time!

Jesse

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fiskyknut    0
fiskyknut

River Walleye bite in April can be great on any of your dates Jesse. That muddy water thing could throw wrench in spokes possibly on the later date, who knows maybe even the early date?

Pike fishing would be thru the ice then in early April too, may have some openwater spots on the later April date a guy could fish.

The later date in April probably better for Sturgeon but those May dates would be even better yet for them I'd say as it just seems to get better and better thru April and downstream reaches open up. I really have'nt targeted the Sturgeon much until after the Walleye season, catch em jiggin eyes though! My Bday is in early May and I've caught alot of Sturgeon round then, kind of a tradition for alot of years to fish em in the bay on my bday!

May dates you'll have open water on good areas for Pike fishing.

Whatever dates you pick just make sure the weather is nice!

Groundhog Day coming up!

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tearin' lips    0
tearin' lips

If I may pitch in. The early the better for walleyes as Dutchman mentioned. The water can get pretty dirty when the Bigfork, Littlefork, and Black rivers open up...not to mention just natural runoff.

I have also caught quite a few really nice northern around this time as well, however the middle date and later dates that you were looking are are probably better. Bucktails in shallow water is always a deadly combo. Remember all pike 30-40 inches must be immediately released into the h20.

The middle date and the early may date will be best for sturgeon.

Harvest season(should you be interested in smoking or grilling one) runs April 24th-May 7th. Other than that your April 5-6 and 12-13 dates would be a catch and release only on these prehistoric beasts.

Not sure if you know, but if it's walleyes you are after you won't be fishing them on May 3-4. Season closes for them on April 14th, but you can fish for pike and sturgeon all you want then.

Take Care!

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Hey thanks for the info tearin' lips!

The May date would be just sturgeon and maybe pike. This is our 4th year up in the area and sturgeon will again be the main focus. A trophy walleye or pike would just be an added bonus.

Hey Doug, if we decide on the middle date, April 12th weekend, how soon do we have to make reservations to stay at your place again?

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Royal Dutchman    0
Royal Dutchman

Jesse,

That's about as tough to answer as the ice out question.

It will fill in slowly until they play a clip of spring fishing on one of the fishing shows and then the phone will go crazy!

Actually the last W/E in March is filling up pretty good right now, only 1 kitchenette left for the April 5th W/E, but several left for the 12th W/E.

Some guys are reserving their October trips now to make sure they get in. There's no such thing as booking too early, just booking too late.

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

I better get things squared away with the other fellas then in a hurry!

Tell me again, how many does that kitchenette sleep?

Thanks, Jesse

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Northlander    71
Northlander

You guys are killing me with this Spring Rainy River talk alreday. Like winter isnt long enough you have to make it longer for me. grin.gif

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Royal Dutchman    0
Royal Dutchman

Sorry for the sloooow reply! Been off doin' the sport show thing. Kitchenettes have 2 full beds and a couch. Depends on how you want to stack 'em. Sleeping bags, cots, air mattresses, etc.....

I think the record is something unnatural & immoral, like 8 guys! Give us a call.

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sal    0
sal

Just got the dates cleared Now I hope the river opens by 3/31

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Wow! I can't believe the number of views this thread has on it.....well over 1,000!

Looks like I'm not the only one excited about open water! grin.gif

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goose89    0
goose89

Hey Leech,

I usually "bump" into you in the Willmar area forum. I've been lurking around here the last couple weeks, itching to get up there. I just booked a kitchette at the Royal Dutchman for April 10-13th. You decided when you're going yet? If around the same time, let me know. Like to "bump" into you in person sometime. If the Rainy isn't cooperating for walleyes, I might need a little direction in catching a steurgon or 2. Have caught them fishing for walleyes. Awesome fish. Would like to tackle them with gear that gives me a chance without a 1-2 hr battle. Later....

goose

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

I'm thinking we'll be up there the same time. Just waiting on a few guys yet.

Sure I can give ya a tip or two on sturgeon fishing! I'm no pro, but I think I've done pretty well in the first three years trying for them. last year we boated a 65 incher! What a rush!

Just let me know what kinda questions you have.

Leech

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LEECH21    1
LEECH21

Oh yea, Doug and Marilyn are first class at the Dutchman. You won't be disappointed.

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