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Another question (or two)

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I have never been to the Rainy, but I am planning on going the 6th of april. I have heard that fishing can be bad if the water gets muddy. I have caught walleyes in the Red River, which is always muddy. Can't a person just use brighter lures with more vibration? What about sturgeon? Do they shut off like the walleyes if the water gets cloudy? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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The problem with the Rainy is that often it's one extreme or the other. This is a huge watershed. Lots of snow. And now, lots of rain. Lots of tributaries dumping into the Rainy. When it goes muddy, it usually happens very fast. I have seen it happen overnight many times. Catch a hundred plus walleyes one day, come back the next and get nothing.

So what I am saying is that it is usually not "cloudy". It is either clear, or it is muddy. And when it is muddy, the bottom is rolling with mud, sticks, pine needles, leaves and all kinds of debris. It becomes difficult for the fish to find your bait, but even if they do find it, odds are that it will be fouled within a few seconds of being down there anyway.

I have seen the cloudiness that you are asking about. It usually doesn't last more than a day or two. It is usually the precursor to the mud and debris that I was talking about.

Hopefully you will be ok on the 6th, but with all the rain we are getting right now, I am beginning to get a little worried. Sounds like the river is opening very fast according to reports. We'll just have to watch and see what happens.

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Tim, thanks for the update. if the water is muddy, would it be worth trying to fish for sturgeon? or is debris still the major issue?

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Tim, if it were to turn really muddy, can it clear after a week or so? If so, would the Walleye fishing pickup again? Thanks!


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If the water is just muddy, you can still catch a few eyes and sturgies, but usually with the mud comes debris. Usually it's a waste of time to try and fish either species under those conditions. Just my opinion. I go up there to really whack the fish, rack up some numbers, and catch some hogs. If there's lots of mud and debris, I would tend to just skip it.

And to answer the other question, when it gets so it's muddy and the debris is rolling on the bottom, it usually takes at least a week or two to clear...that's been my experience. More rain and runoff complicates things further, and lets face it, that's what April is known for.

In the past ten years, I have seen lots of different scenarios, but I have never seen a year where I just plain never went up there because it was muddy from the get-go. I sure hope this ain't the first!

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Hey tim, if i went up there and the water is muddy, is there any other options for open water in the area? I'd just hate to drive all the way up from the cities and have to turn around and drive back!

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You should be able to keep up by watching this area. Fishermen should be posting reports as to their fishing success and river conditions. If you're really wondering, call me as I'll be up there as long as the fishing is decent. If I've got tower, I'll give you the report.

But if you should get up there and find it muddy, you may find it less muddy the farther east you go. There is an access at Pelland, and another below the dam in IFalls. These two accesses will get you upstream of the Little and Big Fork rivers, and should get you some clearer water.

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I was just reading that Birchdale is open to big boats now. But they also commented on the Little Fork river being weak and ready to give. If that happends, is Birchdale and Frontier gonna be wreacked for the season? I have been up there the past 3 seasons and done very well each time, but I have never really dealt with the water getting muddy yet or the forks giving out while I was there. Plus they also commented on 2 more gates opening at International Falls, whats that gonna do for river conditions? To me it starting to sound like its gonna be over before it gets going!!! IDK Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank You

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Rick G
      St Cloud has a good access at Wilson park,  Sartell has a nice access off NE River Rd,  another access above Blanchard dam on East side off Hilton Rd  and at Lindbergh state park...Little Falls  has a access right above the dam.   Water is pretty high and dirty.  Crayfish colors have been good again this week.  Smallies have been using anything available that breaks the current so finding them most days has been pretty easy
    • Brianf.
      Interesting...   You're doing better than most.  The biggest bass weighed-in during the recent MN Bass Federation tourney was only 4.33lbs.   The winning bag was less then 20lbs.  To have several over 5lbs during your trip is pretty special.   Congrats!  
    • Jetsky
      Question.  I have guests coming who may want to fish for muskies.  I've cast for them in August along shorelines and at rock piles.   Do I fish for them that way in June?   Should I troll shorelines or drop offs for them?  Thanks.
    • partyonpine
      Yeah was up for a week.   As other alluded to the weather was brutal.  Did catch some larger walleyes on slip bobbers on windy points in under 5 feet of water.  As for minnows they were at Lucky seven in Virginia and Grubens has some nice minnows as well.  Smallmouth fishing was terrific given the circumstances.  
    • partyonpine
      Brian   That is funny and shows how things are anecdotal.  Just got back from a week we caught as many fish as we wanted, however our average size was 16.5-17 inches.  While no 6 pounders we did score several 5 pounders.  We did not catch any or very few fish under 14  inches all week.  I was just commenting that the average size has increased substantially.  We were throwing larger artificial and live bait but again did not really catch any small smallmouth.  Fished smallies for 5-6 hours each day and walleyes at night.  Overall was slow but the weather was horrendous.  Did go home with enough walleye to satisfy me.  
    • Brianf.
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    • SkunkedAgain
      Don't forget about the times that they unwittingly fly into your fishing line.   Normally I would say that ebbs and flows in food source would be a good sign. However, even with this bountiful mosquito population available there just really aren't enough bats around for the natural cycle to capitalize on it to any noticeable degree. The DNR says that roughly 90% of the bat population in the Soudan mine has died off. If that 90% is representative of the entire area, even a mosquito all-you-can-eat-buffet will not bring the bats back for many years.   Hopefully the little guys can make a comeback.
    • Dash 1
      Made it back to the chain today. Sunfish are spawning but finding them in the thick weeds is nearly impossible. My main reason to get out was to test my minnkota after rewiring it. It definitely made the difference. Never shut down once and I ran it for several hours.  Now I just need to relearn how to catch fish.😂
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...   A good week of walleye fishing with some big fish caught along with good eaters.  All of that despite some fronts that came through and lots of wind.  Being in a charter boat a few days this week was an advantage for sure.     Wherever you fish, there are days the wind will blow.  Here are some good options for anglers when the wind blows on LOW.   -Fish on a big charter boat -Fish the 42 miles of navigable Rainy River -Bays such as Four Mile, Bostic and Zippel Bay -Slide behind one of the thousands of islands that being up at the NW Angle -Trailer your boat to a leeward boat ramp and fish that shoreline A jig and frozen emerald shiner was the go to presentation for walleyes.  Most boats are anchored up and vertically jigging.  Some are starting to use spinners and minnows or crawlers with success.  This pattern will pick up steam as the walleyes are starting to transition with warming waters. Walleyes have been caught this week in various depths.  As a rule, 21 - 32 feet of water was still the range.  Again, various areas across the lake are holding fish.   Various rock reefs have been good.  Fish are transitioning to mud as the season progresses. On the Rainy River...  The river is flowing strong right now as water is being released from the dam which controls its flow.  With the heavier current, fish are being found in areas with a current break.  Even a slight break that still has current is a fish attractor when the water is moving.   Jigging with a minnow, pulling spinners and trolling crankbaits along shoreline breaks against the current in 6 - 12' of water is producing a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, pike, smallmouth bass and an occasional crappie.   Casting to shoreline structure and even docks is also an effective method.   For those who like fishing for dinosaurs, the sturgeon season opens July 1st. Up at the NW Angle...  A great week of fishing amongst the island area of Lake of the Woods.  Guides fishing the Canada side of LOW reported big numbers of walleyes along with a mixed bag.   Minnesota waters also produced good fish.  Many of the walleyes are being found in deeper than normal water for this time of year, in that 22 - 28 feet.  As hatches begin and shiners begin to spawn, there will be some shallow water opportunities as well. The goto presentation continues to be a jig and minnow.  Pulling spinners with shiners or crawlers and trolling crankbaits also putting walleyes in the fry pan.     As is common in these parts, a mixed bag of walleyes, saugers, pike, jumbo perch, crappies, pike and smallmouth bass being caught.   Muskie anglers, the season opens on both sides of the lake Saturday, June 15th.  A glorious day for those who target the almighty predators!  
    • leech~~
      Over the years the only sure time I have been able to see bats or know their around.  Is sitting by a fire or down by a dock at sun down when there's just a bit of light left when looking up, and seeing them diving in and out.  
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