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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators
On 9/19/2019 at 9:39 AM, smalljaw said:

Thanks Wanderer.  Fall fishing on Rainy Lake is special.

You nailed that one. Great video too.

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Thanks Rick.  With the forecast calling for several days of rain and dropping temp, it was time yesterday to pull the boat lift.  Sad day on Rainy Lake.  

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Thanks for the video. Rainy is my favorite lake. My first trip I was probably about 14yrs old. I think 1973.



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Thanks Bill.  You should post your experience about fishing Rainy in the early 70’s.  We would all enjoy hearing the history.


My first trip was July 4, 1998.  I grew up in KY fishing local lakes and boat traffic on the 4th holiday made fishing near impossible.  On Rainy, I could fish with no other boat in sight and enjoy my favorite fish, the smallmouth.  I had found heaven.  Have not missed a season since.

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I will take you up on that soon. Back then we fished out of LaBelle's in NW bay. Lots of memories, my 8yr old brother catching a 12# pike off gusty point. Portaging into Mainville Lake and the boat was leaking but we were catching so many walleyes we just baled out the water, ha. There was a down turn on Rainey as I recall (I was a kid)  commercial fishing needed restrictions. They did that and it bounced back.



Edited by bfisherman11
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Great story Bill.  Yes, Rainy has bounced back.  I have talked with locals who were active in commercial fishing and at the time they thought the resource would never end.  Sadly it did and now we understand the necessity of prudent regulations to protect the lake.


This forum used to be quite active with entertaining stories from local and visitors.  It would be great if that got going again.  Come on guys.  Let’s hear your fish story.

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I thought I would give a bit of an intro to this thread. 

I was lucky enough to grow up fishing rainy in an old 14 foot skiff with a 9.9 motor. In the early 70’s I was taught to fish shore lines with June being the best month then I learned about reefs in sand bay. A fellow from Illinois, John Retoff, would come up every summer and fish every day. He had a green box flasher unit that would show the depth of water and if there were  fish around. It was the first depth finder I ever saw. It was like magic how it made looking for reefs so easy. He hooked me on using electronics to find active fish.  John would be fishing a reef and allowed me to fish near enough to locate the reef. Now back then I couldn’t afford one so used land marks to help find the reefs by triangulation. We mostly trolled spinners with either minnows or night crawlers or cast Mr twisters... my introduction to jig fishing. Back then if you caught 2-3 walleyes in 3-4 hours in the morning or evenings you were doing well. We would only fish north of the Causeway to go to stangi to fish crappies and northerns. There were very few walleyes in the north arm at that time. By the early eighties seemed the farther east you went the better the fishing. Like was stated in earlier posts, the MNR and DNR introduced reduced limits and slot sizes along with buying out most commercial fishing licenses in the early 90’s.Because of this and a strong local catch and release campaign the fishing on rainy is what it is today.   Picture is the last fish this year...26” ...pulled the boat out this past weekend... 


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Great story about the famous green box.  I never had one but did build several fish finders for myself and friends from a parts kit by Heathkit.  What a thrill it was to see a fish flash on the unit then get a strike.  


Got any Muskie stories for us?

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The most memorable to me was back in the early 90’s. I was guiding a group of plumbers from southern Minnesota. We were fishing for walleyes trolling the north shore east of  Brule narrows on a cloudy day with a light on and off mist in June. Now two of the gentlemen were not very experienced fisherman and were using zebco 202 rod combinations. Before starting out I stripped out 20 yards of old line  and reset the drags so they could reel in the fish they caught without breaking the lines. Everyone in the boat was able to reel in a few walleyes then the real action started. One on the fellows with the 202 combo thought he was snagged on the bottom. As he was pulling on his line his snag started moving. We were fishing in less than 10’ and the water is stained with only 12 to 18 inches of clarity. The fisherman set the hook( the best he could with the wippy rod) and held on as the drag squealed stripping out line. I was thinking it was a large northern but then it came straight out of the water not 10’ away from the boat ( I’m guessing 40” long give or take) I told him he had a Muskie on. The fish ran again but this time toward the boat as the line went a bit slack. He thought he had lost the fish but I told him to keep reeling the slack when the fish ran away again making the plastic gears of the drag of the 202 to scream. Needless to say that was the end of the fight as the fish broke off and was gone. Everyone on the boat looked at each other and smiled and laughed. None of the fishermen had even seen a Muskie let alone expected to have one this close on the line coming completely straight out of the water. Listening to the fisherman tell the story at shore lunch was priceless. Even though we didn’t catch the fish it showed me that the having a great adventure is why we fish because you never know what might be on the other end of the line.

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As I sit here looking out on Hopkins Bay at yet another cold, rain day; your story reminds me of my experience with a Zebco 202.  I was about age 10 when my parents, both non fishermen, treated me to a weekend trip to Kentucky Lake.  I tried fishing from shore with no luck.  On the way home, we stopped at a marina and I noticed an elderly lady fishing off the dock.  As I got closer, she reeled in the largest fish (carp) I had ever seen!  Meet my new best friend. I gave her my best smile and asked her how she caught such a large fish.  She said the secret was her special dough ball recipe. She pulled a dough ball from her stash and I formed it onto my hook.  A quick cast and I was ready for action.  Within minutes I had a bite. The huge carp took off like a Sherman tank and the solid fiberglass rod snapped at the wooden handle.  Then the line broke.  The old lady had a good laugh and I was left to explain to my parents how a big fish had broken my rod.  To this day, I don’t think either parent believed my fish story.

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  • Rick changed the title to Spoon Jigging For Smallmouth And Walleye - Rainy Lake

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