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Rainy Lake Fishing Reports by Capt John


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Thanks for the tips. So how do you usually fish those jig n flukes? Do you fish them just like a jig and minnow or do you swim them, shallow or deep water? I'm heading up there on Sunday for a week. I can't wait it will be my first houseboat trip. Any recent reports?

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Sometimes I just vertical jig them if I am marking fish under boat. I use em ice fishing as well and then you have no choice. I rarely swim them but should do that more often. One day last week I was moving the boat and my jig was in the water. Once you start moving, the jig comes off the bottom and starts "swimming". I caught two big walleyes that day when the jig was far from bottom and dragging along behind the boat. I tried some crank baits for these high riders but no luck.

Most of the time I cast jigs. Many of the bites come on the drop and you must watch the line for any indication of a hit. You will rarely feel the bite unless conditions are ideal. Once they hit bottom I give a hard jerk. This helps prevent snags and often what you thought was bottom turns out to be a fish. Most fishermen get way more bites than they realize on jigs. You must set the hook when ANYTHING looks or feels different. They ain't going to hang on like a live minnow.

Fishing slowed way down for me Sunday afternoon. All I could catch were a dozen small walleyes and one big pike. I had been getting some big walleyes on every trip for over a week but not Sunday. Yesterday, I had motor problems so didn't get to fish and today big storms are predicted so I am staying on shore again.

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Captain John

Love reading your stuff. Great pictures too. Your techniqes remind me of dry fly fishing when I used to live in Montana. Forces you to really pay attention.

Was wondering how many days a season do you get out on the water? Also, when you're fishing other lakes do you find the same techniqes work?

Thanks again for your postings. I've really learned a lot.

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I probably spend 125- 150 days on water. No more ice fishing as we now winter in Texas. But my days on the water tend to be loooong - which is one reason it is hard to find fishing partners. Most think 6 hours is long enuf. I do stay home if high winds or storms are predicted. Missed Tuesday because they were predicting bad storms and radar looked ugly. But we never had any bad weather so I was kicking myself.

Yes, my teckniques work anywhere. I perfected them while guiding full time on Wisconsin river. Fish run smaller there so I used smaller lures but fish them the same way. I little trickier telling when you get a hit in current. But that gold line I like makes it easier to see when something odd is happening - SET the hook!

I guess I started using the dead drifting technique when I read some articles about Charlie Brewer and his Slider worms. Only he did not advocate snapping the lure when it touched bottom. That slow coasting to the bottom is hard for most fish to resist.

I'd rather catch fish on a Zara Spook, but how often does that work? When you want action from bigger fish, a jig head and plastic tail (or feathers) is hard to beat.

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Capt. John... Where did you live in wisconsin? How long ago did you move to i falls. I have lived within a couple blocks of the river all my life, some pretty good fishin there if i dont say so myself.

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I have been up here going on four years.

Stevens Point was where I lived and guided. Did a bunch of shows with John Gillespie. We always killed em when he showed up - luckiest guy I've ever seen. I call and tell him don't come, they are not biting. But he would tell me "it's tomorrow or not at all" And of course they would turn on big time when he showed up.

The flowage there in town had the best crappie fishing of anyplace I have ever been. One year we got 5,000 and nearly all 11-13" and thick. Great channel cats too but nobody fishes for them. Everybody chases the walleyes so they get culled out in a hurry. Tons of 14-inchers but very few over 20". They did put a slot on my last year there so that should make a big difference.

Bass fishing was my favorite. Much action but again not much for size. I did work for, and get passed a strict limit of one a day 18" or bigger on the stretch south of the Point Dam. Trouble is they didn't enact that rule until I was leaving. Oh well, there should be lots of nice ones by now.

For muskies I took my customers between the dams at Brokaw and Merrill. Had to buy a jet boat so I could get around on that stretch. You may have a better shot at a trophy "up north" but none of those lakes can touch the overall numbers and size that the river produces. And not so crowded either.

I am really spoiled up here. I fished the North Arm for three hours this morning and before I saw another boat. I only saw one other boat fishing all day and he was a mile from me. Well OK, I did see some anglers after I quit and was on my way home.

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Nice run down John. If you ever come to wausau let me know. I dont do much open water fishing 5-6 times a year. But i ice fish 5-6 times a week. Just a better time of year for me. Have a permanent shack up on big arb. Other wise we fish anywhere from lake wausau to point.

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I was born in Wausau. We had two ice fishing shacks on Lake wausau for many years. Send me an email direct and I will pass on some more stories.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Walleye fishing has gotten much tougher for me the last two weeks. Still getting numbers of fish but average size is way down. And they are not on every reef like they were a few weeiks back. Did manage to get a few nice fish lately including some big pike I got fishing alone so no pictures of those.

Rainy2010-8-14.jpg

Rainy2010-8-14.jpg

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Captain John,

On your 29 1/2 on a crankbait were you trolling the crank or casting? I'll be up there in one month and I'm must curious. Thanks

Champs

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trolling deep about 25 feet of water. But I caught some nice ones a few days earlier casting X-Raps in 5 feet of water.

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  • 1 month later...

After a long summer of mostly bottom feeders, the good fish are starting to bite. Paul and I got a double on our first cast of the day. Banged a dozen more in short order. Had to work a little harder the rest of the day but ended up with over 50 good fish and a bunch of bottom feeders.

And of course we did not use any stinkin minnows. Most caught on soft plastics but a few on spoons.

Rainy2010-9-25.jpg

Rainy2010-9-25.jpg

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looks like you had a good day fishing wife dragged me to duluth for the day.. Went out this morning and it was a little tough did get a 34 in northern and 6 walleyes but no size tried using plastic but to no luck I think live bait makes it easy not easy but easier

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Hey Cat,

Your very right, sometimes plastic does work...BUT I have saw where you can't catch squat on plastics... so don't let anyone ever tell you that you can always catch more fish on plastics...thats a FAIRY TALE.

Sincerely,

Fishmeister

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so don't let anyone ever tell you that you can always catch more fish on plastics...thats a FAIRY TALE.

You can say that about any technique. No bait "always" catches the most fish.

Minnows will outfish lures nearly every time on dink and eater walleyes by a huge margin. I have never seen anything fussier than 10-15 inch walleyes on Rainy. I have been in the same boat where guys were catching one every time down on minnows and I got zip on lures. On my very first trip to Rainy (Devil's Cascade), I caught hundreds of nice bass and walleyes on live nitecrawlers and split shot rig. Other guys in the camp were struggling just to catch anything. I was the only one that had crawlers and that was what they wanted.

After you have been anchored in the same spot for a while, live bait will often catch you some more fish after they quit on lures. Ice fishing same thing. Lures do take more practice to get the hang of than live bait. So guys that only get to fish once a year are probably going to catch more fish on minnows.

But in my opinion, if you are after big fish, over the course of a year a skillful angler will catch more per hour using lures than he would using live bait.

I will start a new thread listing the advantages of lures.

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Hi Moosefart,

A split shot & leech is also a great bait for those brown rough fish!!! Bronze Carp...very funny!!!

Sincerely,

Fishmeister

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But some of us are to goofy to care when "the gamest fish inch for inch and pound for pound" are snapping. Did have to wade through some bottom feeders to catch these bronze beauties. Didn't need no stinkin minnows, leeches or crawlers. As usual, all released to fight another day.

Rainy2010-9-27.jpg

Rainy2010-9-27.jpg

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well wait a minute - I guess those are flukes hanging out of the kissers of those bronze beauties Jeff And I got today. Of course we had to put up with some of those pesky golden bottom feeders.

Weather and company were great. And I think Jeff may be in the market for one of Wes Peterson's ultralite rods.

Fish were much shallower today than they have been. Most taken 10-15 feet deep. A few of the bass hit almost as soon as lure touched down.

Jeff did have some stinkin minnows but they were the ones he forget he had in his live well THREE weeks ago. We left them in his boat and used my boat.

Rainy2010-9-28.jpg

Rainy2010-9-28.jpg

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Hey Cap,

You went with one of the best walleye fisherman on Rainy, I have fished alot with Hammy & he is a good stick. He fishes alot with Joel Pagnac who I would rate as 1 of the top 5 walleye & crappie fisherman in this area. Both their wives are good fisherwomen also. Both great guys!!!

Sincerely,

Fisherman

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eight more of his buddies following along!

Fishing slow all day but finally found the mother load a 5:10 p.m. - doubled my catch in the final hour.

Rainy2010-10-2.jpg

Rainy2010-10-2.jpg

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nice catch looked like a nice day and even a better evening to be on the lake. Wish I could have been out there but work got in the way. Did get the i pilot and got it all hooked works great in the garage up hopefully monday put that thing to use on some crappies.

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Hi F.Mers,

Fishing is still excellent, on Sat. & Sun. we had 21 walleyes in the slot & kept 12 from 13 to 16 inchers for the 3 guys leaving that night, next morning I took my nephew back there, and in about 3 hours we had 13 slots up to 25" & a nice 8 limit to bring home. Sorry I don't have some pictures, but just never been much on bringing the camera.

We fished current 34 to 38 feet, anchored using jigs with both shinners & chubs. Tried plastics, but no hits. Water temp was still 57 degrees. Fish were stacked!!!

The boys also caught 1 crappie- 2.25.

I also have heard some excellent reports on the river., one guy said he had 2 limits in 20 minutes in 5 foot of water.

Sincerely,

Fishmeister

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Nice reports boys! Sonds like the fall bite is on...

fish-34fow is deep, makes me re-think my strategy on the lake I fish.

Capt.- were those just fish stacked on top of eachother on the sonar? How do you know what's "fishy" on the sonar and whats not?

LOVE reading yout guys' upddates on this thread. One of my favorite things to peep at!

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Nice reports boys! Sonds like the fall bite is on...

How do you know what's "fishy" on the sonar and whats not?

They were a bunch of bass following in the one I was fighting. You just have to practice with the sonar. But big arcs almost always mean big fish - I guess a big tree with branches could fool me but not many of those in Rainy and I would shortly be snagged to it if a tree.

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    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      By LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...  Another really strong week of walleye fishing.  
      One of the main areas to fish is still deep mud.  Basically 28 - 34 feet of water.  Various schools of walleyes move around the basin relating to different kinds of forage.  
      Big walleyes eat a lot of everything but really key in on tullibees (ciscos) who live primarily in the basin.  Other forage can be perch, perch minnows, emerald shiners, blood worms, crayfish, and the list goes on.  
      Various schools holding shallower, over rocks or sand, based on bait options in that area.  Reefs are still holding fish, normally on the sides and base where rock meets the mud.   
      Drifting or trolling spinners with crawlers and trolling crankbaits are still very effective for catching walleyes this week.
      As we approach mid to late September and October, the jig bite will fire back up!
      On the Rainy River...   Walleyes hanging out in some of the deeper holes throughout the river.  Moving up and down the river, hitting numerous spots until you find which areas have walleyes is a good method for success.
      Some anglers trolling crankbaits to cover water.  Oftentimes, walleyes won't show up on electronics if they are laying in a depression in the river bottom.  Only way to know is to fish the area.
      Bass and pike are plentiful on structure, docks and weed edges.  Hitting various "goto" spots up and down the river is a fun and normally productive day.    
      The sturgeon "keep" season continues through Sep. 30.  Catch and release Oct 1 - April 23, 2022.
      Up at the NW Angle...  
      Great fishing continues on both sides of the border.  In U.S. waters, deep mud of Little Traverse Bay continues producing walleyes in 28 - 33 feet.  Gold, white and orange spinners with a crawler is effective.
      Underwater points, sunken islands and neck down areas with a bit of current in 18 - 27 feet holding fish.  These areas are good areas to jig.
      Pike and muskie anglers are still finding good fish on weedy points using jerkbaits and topwater. 
      Travel via vehicle through Canada to the Angle is open.  Boating into Canadian waters is now open.  Contact a NW Angle resort for details.
      Charter boat transport and float planes are still available through the LOW Passenger Service and Lake Country Air.  
      A complete list of lodging and fishing packages around LOW, the NW Angle, Baudette and the Rainy River at www.fishingminnesota.com/Lodging.  


  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • gimruis
      I went fishing for the final time this season yesterday.  It was not very good.  Its the latest I've fished in a season for many years though because its been so warm out.   I decided not to duck hunt again this season based on the lack of success I've had in recent years.  By the reports I've heard locally, I made the right decision.   Between a full time job, yard work, going to the gym, and being a responsible Father/Husband, I don't get as much time to do what I want to anymore.  That's just the reality of it.  Sometimes I regret the decisions I've made on that, but now I'm stuck with it and its a necessary evil.  Retirement is still 20+ years away.  But I did go fishing 31 times this past season and I'm taking the whole week off to deer hunt.  After deer hunting I'll be pheasant hunting until the end of the year.   I'm grateful for my health and my mental ability that allow me to continue to do the things I enjoy, albeit not as much as I used to.   I try to post on here when I have successful days of fishing or hunting.  Sometimes it seems like the only fishing updates for weeks on end come from Vermilion.
    • smurfy
      🤣 neighbors don't bow hunt and they might just get a deer iffin a deer happens to run over them.😉   Thanks!!👍
    • Wanderer
      Is that that little guy at the feeder with the cr*ppy rack?    Your neighbor got the ‘tirdy pointer last weekend with his bow. 😉😝   Good luck Smurfy!
    • smurfy
      To the original intent of the post, I fished about 10 days ago and now done. Time to play with guns. Got the home front and cabin pretty much all set up for winter. Next up go get dat turdy pointer.
    • smurfy
      I hear ya bud, just pulling your chain a bit .😉
    • smurfy
      My in-laws used to live just down from morning star. They weren't on the lake but they supposedly had access to the lake near morning star, some lake easement for residents living on the opposite side of the lake.
    • deanbaron1990
      One last morning on the water this past Saturday before we took the docks and lifts out in the afternoon. Trolled the Morning Star bay for crappies. It was slow with just 2 or 3 crappies, although they were big ones. We could have kept them but chose to release. Also got a couple of northerns. I got skunked but my girlfriend got a good size northern. Biggest fish that any of the four of us caught on Saturday.
    • leech~~
      Well, actually going on family life expectancy.  Not many man on my dad's side made it past their late 60's.  On the other hand my wife's side most lived to late 80's into 90's.  So again, I really don't want to leave me wife in an area she is unfamiliar with or know anyone.  If she should pass away before me for some unknown reason.  Yes, they will find me dead in a cabin in the woods. 
    • ozzie
      Well I had to go north this weekend with the predicted weather and boy did it not disappoint!   What a great weekend of perfect weather!!  Hit up Gull Lake Saturday afternoon equipped with a dozen lite pike minnows and a plan to move until we graphed fish and move if they don't bite.  First stop we searched and found one spot with bait balls and a few fish but nothing was biting so we went searching.  Searched alot of ground over the next hour and half and didn't mark a fish, so we went back to the spot with fish marked and as we pulled up there was one boat right on the spot...catching a fish!!  We trolled around with this boat exchanging information and catching fish for the next 2 hours.  We ended up catching 9 throwing back a 25" and keeping 8 from 13" up to 23" that was gut hooked.  Fished in 20-32' of water using lindy rigs with lite pike minnows.  Some fish we would give a lot of line to and they would have the bait swallowed and other times we would give line and find the hook just barely in the lip!  Missed a lot of hook sets but could not beat what was possibly the last fishing trip of the year for me...GOOD LUCK 
    • ozzie
      I have been gearing up getting ready to walk again after 10 weeks!  I have been lucky enough to get out fishing a few times and can't wait to get out in the deer stand...bad thing is I have a basketball tournament for my 4th grade son on opening weekend of deer season and I am the coach!  Oh well I have used enough patience getting this far, what are another few days!  Otherwise not much for me to do...
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