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Tim_Anderson

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Tim_Anderson

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!

Tim

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Wensel

WOW!

Thanks Tim sleep well tonight!

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Royal Dutchman

Tim,

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!

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Tim_Anderson

Doug,

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.

Tim

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