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Lostbay

rainy river question

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Lostbay

I have just missed the great fishing on the river a few times in the past and am going to try again this year the first few days of April. Am I correct in assuming that the goal is to get as far downstream as the ice will let you for the best fishing?

Also what makes one spot better than another on the river? Are you looking for riffles, stream entrances or holes? Do you stick close to shore or out in the middle?

Thanks for any help, I am a novice.

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Effie07

I have never fished the river with a depth finder, and as long as other people were catching fish on the river, it seemed like we were. Once the Forks break loose, the river gets muddy and the fish stop biting. If you are thinking of fishing near the middle of the river, be sure to have your RABC in case you drift into the Queens Territory to the North.

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Tim_Anderson

Many guys like to follow the ice pack. There's usually a crowd there though. My advice...I wouldn't assume that you need to go there. The walleyes are where you find them. The first couple of weeks of April, there is good fishing to be had along most of the open water stretch. Some of our best fishing last year was right near the Birchdale access, and the water was open way down near Frontier.

I am not a fan of fishing the deep holes. And, I tend to go through the hoops so that I can fish the entire river...Canada and Minnesota. My most consistent fishing usually comes on the long straightaways, in 8-15 feet of water. I like areas where the bottom consists of gravel and small rubble. The same spots produce every year.

I have seen it many times where these fish travel in size specific schools. You catch a big one, and if you can stay on them and keep duplicating what you just did (boat control and presentation), you can catch a bunch. The smaller ones often run together as well. It is fun to catch a pile of fish and rack up some numbers, but I often find myself leaving the small fish to try and find that pack of big fish. You need to keep moving and searching to find what you want.

Good luck up there. If you see me in the green Ranger, stop and say "Hi". I'll help you out if I can.

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Effie07

If you try to fish in front of a huge log home on the MN side of the river, you will find that the bottom is littered with huge bolder. We tried drifting with 1 oz. jigs but kept breaking off. Anchoring seemed like the only logical thing to do, atleast while we were catching pigs, long story short we ended up leaving our anchor on the bottom when all was said and done.

I agree with Tim on the gravel straightaways and the crowd near the ice pack. I personally like the gravel bottome because you aren't spending half your day tieing new jigs on.

The last weekend in March I'll be in a 16' red lund w/ two tone brown 25 merc. and a german wirehair who gets very excited about fihing.

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Lostbay

Thanks for the great info guys, I really appreciate it.

Can you tell me the process and cost for getting one of the Canadian licenses? Should we venture onto the northern half of the river.

Also I am coming from Kabetogama, bypassing International Falls, what bait shop do you recommend for minnows?

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Effie07

Not exactly sure the roads you will be driving, but I assume you will be bypassing Pelland as well if you are bypassing I'Falls. Birchdale has a small store, but when I stopped in there a few years back they only had chubs. I come from the west through Baudette, and typically stop at a bait store east of town a few miles on the North side of the road.

If you want to fish with Shiners, be prepared to spend a little more than the $3-6 you might be used to back home. For a weekend, 3 guys, we spend $30 on average.

Tim, maybe you can help me out with the name of the bait store.

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gregg52

I 've never been there either i was thinkin more mid april

maybe alittle nicer

is it a jig bite...i heard maybe spinners ???/

do the sturgeon han in the same water ?? and tend to bite

about the same time of year??

birchdale ladun is the close to that walleye inn motel??/

Is one minnow better than another ??/ fat heads..rainbows??/

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Tim_Anderson

Go to the border crossing at Rainy River or Fort Frances and you can get your RABC permit there at Canadian Customs. Then you can proceed into town to get a fishing license and outdoor card. The whole deal is about $80 bucks. You should have a drivers license and a passport. Canadians usually like to see your drivers license. US customs like a passport.

I can't remember the name of the bait shops up there either. I think one of them is called Lucky Bait? Anyway, there are several places where you can get bait up there. The most popular is just a half a click east of Baudette.

I like big rainbows along with plastics. It is definitely a jig bite. The walleye and sturgies are caught in the same neighborhoods. Birchdale access is the first to open, and is the farthest from Baudette. Frontier is next closest. Then Vidas.

To keep an eye on the progress of the melt, keep your eye on these forums.

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Effie07

Walleye Inn is located in Baudette, approx. 30 miles west of Birchdale. The closest accomodations you can get to Birchdale

If you haven't been to the rainy in the spring before, be prepared when you set the hook and it feels like a slow moving bolder. My biggest sturgie when fishing for walleyes was in 03' when I hooked a 48" on an ultralite with 6lb test. Caught on a floating jig head a foot off the bottom while I was napping to recover from the night before.

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fishing-g

actually there are more landings to the east. pelland is at marker 187 just east of hwy 71 intersection. there also is mone in I falls behind hardees of burgerking on the west end of town. I have used both. pellend is kind steep. the one in the falls i used to fish just below the [PoorWordUsage]. real shallow travel in the river to get there.

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The Hammer

If you are planning on going into Canada and getting a RABC permit and a fishing license if you fish live bait and fish on the Canada side of the river you legally should have a receipt for your bait from Canada. It is a joke because you can't bring live bait across the border. I don't use bait anymore but when I did I would buy some in Canada and leave it at the bait shop and then buy it in Minnesota. We have been checked on this before.

I will be in a maroon and gold Skeeter with a grey 250hpdi Yamaha. Stop and say hi and I will show you what we use.

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Lostbay

Can someone clarify why we need the RABC permit for fishing the river? If you are fishing just north of Birchdale, or whatever landing, in Canadian water my understanding is that you need a Outdoors Card and an Ontario license. It seems you need the RABC permit for LOTW, and not the river. Can anyone help me with this?

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The Hammer

You do need a RABC if you are fishing on the Canada side of the river. You technically are entering Canada without going to Customs. I get checked every year for the RABC.

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Tim_Anderson

Imagine that the center of the river (roughly) is the border. While in your boat, you are going in and out of Canada on a remote basis (having nothing to do with the road system). You must have this permit. Fines are incredibly stiff (thousands). I have seen it happen. And yeah, you will most likely get checked. The vast majority of the fishermen are state side, so the Canadian CO's go up and down their side, from boat to boat, making sure everyone is legit.

In addition, you need an Ontario fishing license, and new this year, an outdoor card that goes along with it.

Make sure and be familiar with the bait regs, fish limits, size limits, etc. too. It's a hassle for sure, but if you do it all right, it's worth it.

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Lostbay

How do the seasoned Rainy River fishermen tell where the international border is on the river? Is it just half-way across? I have a hand-held gps and it doesn't make the border clear. I imagine the Canadians aren't too kind to ignorance on this matter.

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Traxxx

Ask yourslf: If I fall in would it be closer to swim to Canada or Minnesota?

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Tim_Anderson

The guys at Canadian customs claim that it is not necessarily the center of the river, but that it goes geographically instead.

But, the Canadian CO's, from my observations, patrol the north half of the river. They ignore most of the guys hugging the center, but I have heard of a few horror stories where guys in the middle got tickets to their surprise. I have also heard of the Canadian CO's just coming up and in a friendly way, ask folks to "back off" a bit, then go along their way.

Bottom line is that if you are hugging the center, or if you are on the Canada side, you are at their mercy.

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Fishing Realtor

Along with the live bait thing - make sure you don't have any booze in your boat either...that's why we always just stay on the American side! Catch just as many fish...

Oh, and remember your fire extinguisher, coast guard certified PFD, flare gun and flares, ect...they'll be looking.

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Effie07

Beer cans means the empty ones too. I heard last year the fine was around $25 per empty and a whole lot more for the full ones.

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BrettH

I've fished the river many times and have never found it hard to stay on the Minnesota side or to catch enough fish. If you have a GPS it will keep you honest (specially if you have the new LOW chip). The Canadians have made it such a pain in the you know what, why bother, the Minnesota side produces in a big way.

If you're really itchin to get up there pay attention to when the river opens to Manitou Rapids. You have to portage your small boat down to the river and maybe across some shore ice but the last couple of years the fish have just been stacked in there. So thick at times you can actually feel your jig bouncing off fish before it hits the bottom. Also, because it's a little harder to access there aren't many people. Based on where the river is now it could be fishable by next weekend or earlier.

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shamrock7

Parking area is plowed out also.

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BrettH

Manitou Rapids is part of a park system. Everytime I've been there it's been plowed down to the parking area. From the parking area there is a path approximately 50yds long that goes downhill to the river. Early on it's covered with snow which makes it easy to drag a small boat(10' - 12')down, comming up I drag it with a wheeler. A lot of guys including myself will drag the boat up on shore and tie it to a tree overnight so you only have to make the drag uphill once. There maybe as many as ten boats tied up overnight. Last year one guy put his 18' Tyee in at Pelland and drove down the river and thru the rapids, it's a long ride though and through some shallow spots too? It's more work than normal but fun as heck.

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goingdeep

I was one of the guys that put my boat in the water at pelland.. The drive down can get a little hairy, but well worth it when you get to the rapids.... Lots of fish stacked up there last year....

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Bassboy1645

Can a guy fish around baudette first week of april usually or is the ice still on then?? This will be our first time up this yr as well...Our strategy soo far is vertical jigging with 3/8 ounce and bigger jigs and just go with the current. Well try hitting eddies, islands, and hole edges and I think we should do allright if this is anything like river fishing anywhere else...I really want to get a sturgeon THOUGH!!!!! that would be something!!! crazy

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Tim_Anderson

Baudette will still be iced up the first part of April. Most likely you will need to be farther to the east between the Birchdale and Frontier accesses. Worst case scenario, if they are still frozen, then you can go farther east yet to the Manitou Rapids, Franze Jevne, or Pelland Landings.

You should be ok with 3/8 and SMALLER jigs. Vertical can be productive. Pitching/casting can be really good as well. If drifting isn't working, try pulling upstream. Wind and boat control really has alot to do with your presentation, so just keep trying different things.

To get one of those sturgies, anchor up in a hole with one of your heavier duty bass'n baitcasters, or better yet, a musky sized outfit if you have one. Put some meat on the bottom and watch your rod tip. Long gravel straightaways are a great place to try too. Hook into one and you'll love it!

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