Late Fall on the borders of Minnesota and Ontario out of Baudette Minnesota means one thing for the serious angler...Rainy River Walleyes! The river runs along the border, and divides the State of Minnesota and the Province of Ontario. In the Fall, millions of Emerald Shiners run up the river out of giant Lake of the Woods into the Rainy river. The fishing can be absolutely incredible, and at worst is extremely good for Walleyes. Big Pike, Smallmouth Bass, and Perch are also common, but not much sought after.
There are numbers of access points scattered along the Rainy from 20 miles East of Baudette to the big public access west of Baudette. As the river necks down East of town, the scenery and wildlife increase, and the structural elements become more interesting. The river offers multiple challenges for the wandering angler, including a rapids one can shoot if properly equipped. The most popular areas are near Baudette, a mid sized Minnesota tourism based community featuring multipe resorts, hotels, motels, and target rich shopping opportunities. One can select a resort offering Charter Boat trips, and worry only about what to wear and what to eat, including the opportunity to have the day's catch prepared at the Resort restauraunt. Family activities are not lacking all season long, including the Winter.
The current in the Rainy cooks along at a decent clip this time of year, but is easy to control and anchor in. The lure of chioce is a 3/4 to 1 ounce jig, brightly colored and tipped with an emerald shiner. The accepted technique is vertical jigging with 10# Berkley Fireline spooled on a spinning reel matched with a medium heavy 6.5 to 7' rod. The Walleyes move up and down on the shoreline shelves from 35' deep to quite shallow, but the average zone one should find numbers of good fish inhabiting is from 13' to 25'. Drop shotting, lead core trolling, and other methods also produce well. Crankbaits and spinnerbiats will put nice Pike and Smallmouth in the net.
A 'slot limit' is in effect protecting all Walleyes between 19.5" and 28". The limit is 6, with 4 Walleyes and two Saugers allowed; only one Walleye can be over 28". It's usually no problem to catch a limit of 18 to 19" 'Eyes, and the huge numbers of fish 'in the slot' make for tremendous action. 30" fish are not at all uncommon. Bonus Perch up to 15" are an unexpected treat for some, and a target for others.
The beauty of the Rainy River out of Baudette (other than the obvious scenery) is one doesn't need a large boat, and no matter what the winds do, one can find a great place to fish and enjoy a World Class fishery literally a few blocks from the docks. Or...one may wander, explore the river, or head out onto the big water of huge Lake of the Woods through the Gap. The Fall rainy River fishing remians excellent all the way to ice up!
Check the Emerald Shiner run out at the area's Facebook page.