Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.


    You know what we all love...

    When you enchant people, you fill them with delight and yourself in return. Have Fun!!!

Sign in to follow this  

Latest Conditions

Recommended Posts


Just got back from the river last night. Figured I would update all the best I can. The news is not great, but will help with decision making, which is what we all are looking for here right now.

I was there for Friday and Saturday. I had Paul Schreiber with me, who had never been to the Rainy before. Paul didn't have any other opportunities to go this year, plus, we had rooms set up, Canadian licenses, and RABC passes done through the mail. With that invested, and a couple of hard-core fishermen with good attitudes, we decided to make the best of it and go.

Friday morning was really cold! I think we woke up to 5 degrees above, with a 25 mph northwest wind, wind chill about -25. We lounged around at our room till about 10:00 or so, killing time and waiting for it to warm up a bit. Then the trip to Birchdale, and not the Birchdale I am used to seeing this time of year. Boats breaking ice out to mid river. Floating ice/ice jams everywhere. Folks with engines that wouldn't start, me being one of them. We tripped back to Baudette, bought a fresh battery, and were in business. Landed again at Birchdale (1:30 pm), and headed downstream. The only fishing I saw Friday was from just above Birchdale, down to the island on the Canadian side...perhaps a couple of miles of river is all. Noone was getting West of there. We caught about a dozen walleyes, the biggest being 27 inches. We found a small pool of slack water about 10 feet deep where the walleyes were holding. What worked for us was pulling upstream very slowly with trolling motor, and long-lining a 3/8 oz. fireball jig with stinger hook and rainbow minnow behind the boat. A few fish chomped it, but most of the time, it just went heavy...very subtle bites.

Late in the evening, we anchored in the deepest water we could find and pulled in 5 sturgies in short order. Biggest was in the low forties.

Water clarity was at 6-8 inches. No debris on the bottom. Water temp. was at 31/32 all afternoon.

Getting a big ranger back up the ramp was a challenge as we were the last boat out (If you're going, you're better off with a smaller boat). With rapidly falling temps, the ramp turned to an iceberg, which made pulling a heavy, ice coated boat and trailer out pretty difficult. Big chunks of ice wedged between the boat and the bunks. Birchdale is steep, and with the boat on the trailer, at one point, everything started sliding back down, truck, boat and all. Thanks to the U.S. Border Patrol Officer, who cabled up to us and made all the difference we needed to get out. Kind of a spooky experience though.

Saturday morning was more of the same. Birchdale was completely locked up in ice, but a few brave guys were breaking out and fishing some very small pockets of open water just downstream. I didn't feel like putting my boat through any more of that, and worried about getting it out again at the end of the day. I suspected that Pelland and I-Falls would be very busy as it seemed just about everyone was headed that way. Guys staying next to us at the Royal Dutchman reported catching some eaters below the dam, but that it was slow, and very subtle bites. We elected to ice fish for a few hours and head home. I can tell you this, there's still about three feet of ice in the pinewood area, where we tried some sturgeon fishing.

When it gets that cold, stuff tends to either break or simply quits working. Motors quit peeing. My thanks to Doug at The Royal Dutchman, who went way above the call of duty to help Paul and I with some boat issues. We will definitely be back. And like Doug said in an earlier post, there was a good group of fishermen up there. Hard core, good attitudes, and willing to do whatever it takes to make the best out of a tough situation. Paul and I were not sorry that we went. Paul first trip was a challenging one....things can only get better.

Looking at the weather, looks like the tail end of the week will be the ticket, right before the season closes. If the river opens again between Birchdale and Frontier, and doesn't muddy up, I will definitely be back up for another go at it.

I realize this is long, but hopefully it will help as I know folks are always wondering about accurate info on the conditions up there. It's not great news, but there's still lots of fun to be had this year up on the rainy for those who are up to a good challenge. Just don't expect too much, do your best, and you'll catch fish. Who knows, maybe you'll even stick a hog or two!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thanks Tim sleep well tonight!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Royal Dutchman


More than happy to assist anyone who will endure the conditions you guys did to fish! Definitely hardcore.

Sorry to say, you missed it by a day. I know a fisherman of your caliber knows exactly how that works. I saw how ugly Birchdale was on Friday and heard Saturday might have been worse but we definitely turned the corner today.

Thaw that Ranger and get back up here man!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Yep...boat is in the garage and pretty much thawed out. One pretty good divet in my keel-guard from breaking ice, some frozen chunks of minnow and crawler stuck here and there, otherwise, none the worse for wear.

We got up in the 30's today. I actually wondered how it would be up there? Crossing my fingers to be up there this Thursday/Friday....that'll be my last chance as I have commitments for the weekend. One thing's for sure, Thursday and Friday may not be ideal, but it'll be a cakewalk compared to the past few days. I could use some of that, and a few more sow walleyes on the end of my line.

I have friends fishing up there the next few days. Will keep an eye on the reports, and will be in touch.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • leech~~
      Thanks, for the info.  I'll just look at the Steelhead and Looper on my wall to refresh my memory!
    • oilandwater
      Have heard of very few.  An occasional rainbow (looper and steelhead, make sure to learn the difference) mixed in with the catch in Two Harbors, along with lake trout near the bottom on the right day.  I've seen a few cruising under the ice in McQuade, but pretty slow there.  Rainbow action will pick up as spring progresses. 
    • smurfy
      sheez got that right!!!!!!!!!
    • hunterdown
      I might be able to make this, I think Jr. will have the time off as, maybe him and I?
    • Rick
      Spring turkey hunters hoping to bag a tom during the first two weeks of the season have until Friday, Jan. 26, to apply for a lottery permit. The season runs from April 18 to May 31 and is divided into six hunt periods, A through F (see table below). Hunt A and B licenses for firearms hunters age 18 and older are limited in availability and assigned via lottery drawing. Turkey lottery applications cost $5 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 888-665-4236, or in person from a license agent. Successful applicants will receive a postcard in the mail by mid-February and can purchase their hunting license starting March 1. Firearms licenses for hunts C, D, E and F are not lottery-limited and will be available for purchase over-the-counter beginning March 1. All licensed turkey hunters can participate in Hunt F if they have an unused tag from one of the earlier hunt periods. Archery and youth hunters (under 18) are exempt from the lottery and may purchase a spring turkey license valid during all hunt periods, including hunts A and B. Surplus lottery licenses from hunts A and B, if available, will be sold over-the-counter starting in mid-March. Visit for more information about turkey hunting in Minnesota. 2018 Spring Turkey Hunt Periods
      Hunt A: April 18 – 24
      Hunt B: April 25 – May 1
      Hunt C: May 2 – 8
      Hunt D: May 9 – 15
      Hunt E: May 16-22
      Hunt F: May 23-31 Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Youth and adults can learn to hunt turkeys this April with experienced volunteers who will cover safe hunting techniques, how to call-in turkeys, hunting tactics and field dressing a bird. “We teach the skills and techniques that allow new turkey hunters to become lifelong hunters,” said Mike Kurre, learn-to-hunt program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “This has been a successful program and as a bonus, we love hearing how former participants go full circle to teach others how to hunt.” Participants can apply through Monday, Feb. 12. The hunts are Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, and provide opportunities to access locations that may otherwise be closed to hunting. “We get volunteers from the National Wild Turkey Federation and this is the 16th year we’ve cooperated for these hunts,” Kurre said. “Over the years we’ve introduced more than 5,000 people to these hunting experiences. We also work with the Minnesota National Guard to get military adults and their families into turkey hunting.” Details about how to apply and costs to participate are available at A pre-hunt orientation is required and all participants will need to have a valid firearms safety certificate or its equivalent. Youth must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Overall participation in the hunts is restricted by the number of volunteers and private lands that are available. Anyone interested in providing turkey hunting land for the mentored youth hunts should contact the Keith Carlson, Save the Habitat Save the Hunt coordinator for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Minnesota at   Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed Jan. 20-28 as Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week in Minnesota. This an opportunity for the Department of Natural Resources, volunteer safety instructors, the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MNUSA) and its 250 member snowmobile clubs to join together to recognize the importance of safe, responsible snowmobiling. “It’s a fun and exciting activity, but snowmobilers should always remember to make safety a top priority,” said Conservation Officer Bruce Lawrence, DNR recreational vehicle coordinator. “They should also always use common sense and keep a clear head when riding.” Here are some other key safety points: Snowmobiling and alcohol don’t mix – don’t drink and ride. Smart riders are safe riders – take a snowmobile safety training course. Always wear a helmet and adequate clothing. When night riding slow down – expect the unexpected. Know before the ride  – always check local trail and ice conditions. Cross with care. Know risks and be prepared – make every trip a round trip. One is the loneliest number – never ride alone. Ride safe, stay on the trail – respect private property. To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 need a valid snowmobile safety certificate. Options for both classroom and online classes can be found at People can find Minnesota snowmobiling events and activities on the MNUSA webpage: Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • eyeguy 54
      sounds like a hoot. hope to get there. 
    • Roscoe010
      Hi Wanderer, I am going up this weekend too.  Glad the weather will be warm! I will try a different pit this time, but had good luck last year.  I hope the fish will be active and hungry.
    • IceHawk
      Thanks Rick! Jeff hope to make it always a good time and laughs when you get a group of great people together. I usally do more jaw jacking  then fishing at these things but for me its just as much fun 
  • Share & Have Fun