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by Sandee Anderson

Rainy River Smallie At 5 o'clock today Rick went down to bale out one of our boats down in the bay. Thinking it would take some time for the pump to empty the rain water, he picked up his rod and began to cast out using a rapala.

Within 10 minutes he had caught 2 northern pike and 2 smallmouth bass. Being the smart man he is, he put down his rod and came back to the house to get me. With no arm twisting, I joined him in the trek back down to the bay.

Within the first 15 minutes Rick caught a nice northern and smallmouth bass, and I caught 2 smallies. We fished for little more than an hour and ended up with a total of 9 smallmouth and a couple more northern, all released.

The smallmouth were 1-2 pounders. I was using a #5 deep-diver rapala perch in color, Rick was using a #5 deep-diver black and silver.

My technique was cast out, rod tip low, pulling on the line, feeling the rapala diving, then slowly reeling in. Pull and reel, pull and reel.

I was hunting smallies, not northern, so I kept the retrieve slow, like an injured bait fish. It worked, I didn't catch any northern and my total was 5 smallmouth.

This is the second time in 2 days that we have caught 8-9 smallmouth in less than 2 hours. The bass season looks promising over the next 3-4 weeks. We believe the temperature is 50 - 55 degrees in the bay.

Our water is naturally stained from the Rapid River, as it flows through Tamarac swamps. Some will say you can't catch smallmouth in muddy water, which could be compared to stained water, but dark water makes the bass less spooked and dark water bass are more likely to attack a lure invading their territory. The season last about 3-4 weeks in the bay, then they migrate into the river.

We have a sandbar near the rapids which is home to many crayfish in the late spring, early summer, and smallmouth are heavy crayfish feeders.

Fishing for smallies during this time is casting floating rapalas. We have found the discarded shells of the crayfish to be blue in color, which is one of our favorite colors to use with good results.

In our bay, the temperature may rise 10 degrees from morning, a change that encourages bass to bite. Water warming into the upper 50's, spurs bass into a faster bite, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and worms work well.

Fishing soft stickbaits and tubes more actively remains a solid option. Just cast and reel, keeping the rod tip low during the retrieve, so hooksets are more certain, and misses are few.

Sandee & Rick Anderson
Fishing The Rainy River
Lake of the Woods, Minnesota
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