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Any of you guys on here go up and fish the river when it opens up. I have been going for the last 12 years and consider it the best trip of the year when we hit it at the right time. Last year we caught it right before it muddied up and two of us caught over 100 walleyes in a day and over 30 of them were 26". It's a blast when you catch it at the right time. Clementson resort is the best site to watch and Rick and Sandee are great people to stay with. Nothing fancy but just perfect. I highly recommend their place. I can't wait!!!

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Biffle - when is it usually the best time to go? My buddy went last year I think at the end of March, however, I have a hard time believing the ice will be off by then... I want to go this year - my buddy has said the same thing about how awesome it is. He talked about how 2 and 3 lb walleyes were common placeand were just the average!

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Bifflefan,

I am very interested in trying this type of fihing this spring. I understand the dates can be hit or miss with clean or dirty water. I have heard that you may have to push the boat over ice to get on the water. Can you elaborate on this? I assume you need a pretty small boat, but how do you get it back on the trailer. I also hear the lines at the landings can be several hours long, is it true? What landing do you put in at? Thanks for any info you can provide.

Spudhauler

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I have heard things like the spudhauler heard as well. It sounds fun. I have talked about going many times, but never made it.

What else can people tell us?

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It's been maybe six years or so since I've been up on the river, but I had a string of about four or five consecutive years going while we were at it.

If I recall correctly, vertical jigging is the most common method for catching Rainy River walleyes. it seems most people put the bow of their boats into the current and slip back while using the bowmount trolling motor.

Of course, there are lots of methods that work. Some cast, others drift and you'll see people anchoring and even trolling. I think the key is to look for fish where there is some kind of barrier...you know, dips, holes, mid-river humps, the rapids at Birchdale, etc.

We used to put in at Frontier. And yes, if you go on the weekend prepare for a looong wait to get in. If I were to start going again I'd definitely plan on a weekday trip.

We've never had to slide across the ice with a boat. One year we fished the last week of March and the others were the first week of April. I think the popular access's get cut out or something.

Loading was a little tricky. I remember the current wanting to slide the back of the boat by the awaiting trailer as you hurry to get the bow up on the rollers. It wasn't too bad though.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how fun those trips were. LOL If you go, don't forget the sunglasses and bring lots of sunblock too. Oh man...I used to get so fried from the sun coming off that water. Definitely worth it though....and now that I have my own rig, I may go up again this year!!

Oh.....and like BF mentioned, if you need some more info to help get you fevered up a bit...just do a search for clementson resort and you'll find lots to look at. I think they're a sponsor so it should be ok to say that. wink.gif

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You guys just have to watch the web. Once it starts the ice goes quick. The county usually cuts the access with a trackhoe then its easy. Otherwise you go with a lighter boat and skid it over shore ice or back trailer up to edge and have a good strap to crank on. Jigging is the main way to go. I have seen up to 400 boats in a ten mile stretch or better before. Don't forget about dumbing into one of those great big sturgeons either. Biggest one I have pulled in was about 55" but Iv'e seen bigger, If you do be prepared to go to town for up to an hour or so. Usually one will get your bait if you get caught sleeping and you will wonder how that 300#snag can allofasudden cut across the river on you!! It's best if you can be flexible and go when conditions are right, just when ice out gets to the ramp you want and before there is a huge thaw that opens up the Bigfork and muddies it up. Just watch the rainy river thread. laugh.gif

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The coldest I have ever been while fishing was on the rainy. Wet cold stinging hands from baiting hooks with wind in the early morning. Different from sitting in a heated fish house when it is -25. It hasnt stopped me yet though for some of my best walleye fishing has been up there.

About 10 years ago I watched a new pickup with a new four wheeler in the back go for a swim while trying to load their boat. When it was all done only 6 inches of the tailgate was sticking out of the water with the boat trailer cocked sideways as far as it could go. Somehow they got the four wheeler pulled to shore because it didnt immediately sink. The whole ordeal caused about 200 boats to wait in line for one landing. It was well past dark when I finally got off the river. Tough break for that guy!!! blush.gif

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Last year when we launched at Vidas one morning the Temp was about 29 degrees. A few rigs had launched before us, and caused some ice to form on the ramp. I backed my buddy's Suburban to where the back wheels were about 10 feet from the water so he could unload his boat. As he was unloading the boat, the Suburban started to SLIDE down the ramp! The E-brake was on, but all 4 wheels were sliding. I was standing at the back of the truck, but managed to jump in quick and stomp on the brakes to get it stopped about when the back wheels got to the water. This was at Vidas access, where there's a 20 foot hole right off the access. I was SHAKIN! AND NOT FROM THE COLD! You see some interesting things at those accesses. We saw a guy drop his trailer off the cement slab, then try to just gun it to get the trailer back up.... well he bent the axle on his trailer 90 degrees! That trailer wasn't going anywhere!!

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Hey Spudhauler,

Maybe you and I should plan a "Contracting meeting" in that area mid week in late March early April???? Make it a 2 day trip?????? 1 day for business and 1 day for big piggy walleyes!!!!

J

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I'm all for it to. Anyone wants to go let me know. I'm all for going in the mid-week.

I hate crowds. cool.gif

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I grew up in int'l falls and have fished it every spring for 20 years......if you want a trophy walleye thats the place to be.....gotta hit it right after ice out on the main river cause when the tributaries start icing out the water gets cloudy and the fish stop biting.....Ice usually goes out on the river enough to get a boat on the end of march......bring lots of bait cause it is non stop action.

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Well then, here's a question for somebody to answer - My Dad and I are thinking about fishing the river April 8th and 9th. Would that typically be too late? Also, he has a 19 foot Ranger - would it even be possible to get that boat in at this time of year?

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Bison, The first time I fished the rainy it was near that time or later, We were fishing in a 16' I think there were four of us. I remember it was one of those spring days when it hit close to 70 degrees and we were in shorts. The fishing wasn't as good as it gets but at that time you could keep 6 and they could be bigger than now. We still caught a limit and more. Ya never know. cool.gif It shouldn't be a problem getting big boat in at that time.

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Jay R,

Sounds good to me, except I don't have any varieties that work that far North. Oh well those are just details. Actually, I may be heading up there the April 1 weekend, if conditions look good. I may have room for 1 more if you are interested, or bring your boat and another guy. I have found a local guy who goes every year, and is willing to show me the ropes. He is the farmer by Wolverton, whose wife works with me that I was telling you about. Let me know.

Spudhauler

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Thanks for the info Biffle!

Its funny because with this mild weather this winter, I wouldn't be surprised if the river started opening up as early as next week - that's just my theory anyways for this coming Spring...

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Hey Spudhauler,

Sounds like a good trip you have planned and thanks for the offer, but my chances of passing that through the home front are slim to none and slim just left town so to speak. Probably would be different if I didn't already have a trip planned two weeks before on the big lake ice fishing. Hey if i dont talk to you before see you in RLF march 16,

Jay

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright all - I'm excited for a report on the Rainy River. Is it fishable yet, or not even close? Any answers would be greatly appreciated!

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they are sliding small boats over the ice but nothing is biting yet......another week or two and fishing will pick up.....above the rapids seems to be better than below right now.

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Hitman....I live just north of Breckenridge right now.....I'm originally from Int'l Falls....thats where all my friends and family are at.....I've lived down here for 9 years.

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I believe I have lodging for the 3rd 4th&5th tentatively, If any onecan go at that time. I have a friend that has a trailer reserved at that time and we can pile guys on the floor. Hopefully we don't get a huge warm up before then otherwise we may have to go earlier. All depends on the weather. cool.gif

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Biffle - I have been following the clementson resort sight hot and heavy for the past week. The guy who posts on that sight says that the river is open down to mile marker #150. He also says that there's there's two more miles to go until Frontier opens up. Is Frontier the hot place to go or something? I ask because I have no idea where guys like to fish up there during this time. I'm sure it can't be that hard to figure out right?

Also, I still am thinking about hitting it up there the 8th and 9th of April - I think if the weather stays in this cold pattern, it could get hot right around that time... What do you think?

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I will be going up tomorrow afternoon to fish over the weekend. It looks like I will be able to put in my 16.5 with a 70hp at birchdale without too much trouble. I was told from someone that lives on the river that there is open water at frontier access now, but it is only a narrow channel in the middle. Bring the duckboats for that one. cool.gif

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Sounds like the county is going to open the ramp @ Birchdale this week sometime. Meaning clear the shore of ice and this would allow big boats to access with out a problem. My dad and I are heading up the March 31st for a couple of days. Hopefully Frontier will be open by then also. Nothing like getting back into the boat after a long winter. The chance of catching a monster keeps me going back year after year.

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Bison: Depends on a big warm up wether or not 8th and 9th is too late or not. If this weather pattern sticks that might be perfect. Frontier Vidas Birchdale, whichever has room, depends on when you get there. Iv'e caught them near all of them. You just want to get on it before it muds up, if it does. If it don't it sounds like anytime can be great. Good Luck. grin.gif

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The big pigs are biting in the river boys!!! I'm going soon, will give report. Either thu. or Fri. or the 3rd 4th or 5th. On the 3 4 5th we got floor space. Any one interested call me 701 371 4902. Krebsy

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I will be up there the middle of this week I will keep you everyone posted on how the ramps look and how the walleye action is doing smile.gif

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I made it out on the river on saturday afternoon and sunday morning.....2 guys.....about 25-30 fish each time out...biggest was only 23".....all the rest were around the 16-18" range...It was a blast but a little slower than usual....Another week and it should be rockin.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • redlabguy
      Mark, Glad your crew had another great outing. It’s always good to read your reports. Just wish there were more of them like the old days. Sorry you hit the storm. One of the worst in our 14 years. We’ll be dealing with dock issues for a long time but nothing like the good folks in Cook have.  The fishing has come around a little since the storm. Definitely nightcrawler now. I don’t get far out of Frazer but the reefs are where the action is. Looking forward to hearing from you in September.  My best to you and Linda, RLG p.s. Our good old red lab, Ole, cashed it in last summer, but we have a 6 month old lab now who is learning the ropes up here (and teaching us we’re older than we think we are!)
    • Mike89
    • leech~~
      No can see?  
    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
      Heard that too. Also heard 38 was closed for a but north of rapids due to flooding.    I know the water really came up when I was up last week compared to when I was there in April. 
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