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July 4th Dinosaurs and Some River Walleyes

Abundant sturgeon and walleye fishing await up North.

July 4th Dinosaurs and Some River Walleyes

It’s that time of year again—summer sturgeon fishing opener (July 1st) on the Rainy River in northern Minnesota—just in time for a great Independence Day celebration. For anglers looking for the shot at some epic fight potential, photos, and the chance to see true-to-life aquatic dinosaurs close-up, it’s not to be missed. And if you’re taking kids fishing over the holiday, the chance of hooking into a fish nearly boat-size has turned many kids into fishing fanatics.

Plus, the scenery is pretty hard to beat—and there really aren’t any crowds to content with, given so many anglers are on Rainy Lake itself or LOTW fishing walleyes. “Soaking worms for sturgeon in the summertime and kicking back with a cold one on the river is a pretty fun time,” said LOTW Tourism Director, Joe Henry.

Fisheries researchers estimate there are over 100,000 sturgeon swimming between the Northwest Angle, LOTW’s Big Traverse Bay, and the Rainy River. Those numbers are incredible!

The other great thing about sturgeon fishing is it’s pretty simple. Repurposed catfish or muskie gear works great—or any heavier fiberglass rod which you can pick up for under $100 at most shops, like at nearby Tom’s Tackle. Sixty-pound test, some heavy fluoro or mono for 18-inch leaders, heavy “No Roll” sinkers, some size 3 or 4 circle hooks, and a bunch of ‘crawlers—and you’re set!

So, where do you catch Rainy River sturgeon?

Simple; seek out current seams, break-waters, and holes—especially the latter.

“I like to drop the rig into the hole and let it soak for 30 to 35 minutes,” said Henry. “And if you don't get anything, maybe slide to a different part of the hole. And if there's no fish in that hole, go to another part of the river, and sooner or later you’re going to run into a sturgeon or two—sometimes even more!”

01-rainy-lake-61-inch-sturgeon

Summer Rainy Walleyes

Besides a good shot at a monster fish—you can take a break from heavy lead and gobs of ‘crawlers and catch resident river walleyes that haven’t been targeted since the mad, bumper boat rush of early spring.

“Because there are millions of walleyes in LOTW, most anglers bee-line there after the spring Rainy River run,” he said. “But if it’s really blowing on LOTW or you’re already on the river fishing sturgeon, you can catch resident river walleyes pulling spinners, cranks, jigging, or pitching just moving from spot-to-spot until you find fish.”

Henry said that when the water’s high—like this year—besides covering water with cranks or ‘crawlers are really deadly program is pitching swimbaits or a jig and live bait along shore, feeder creeks, and even docks—almost like you’re bass fishing.

01-lotw-report-rainy_walleyes

“The nice thing about that is you’ll catch walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike, even big crappies—pretty much everything! While there aren’t as many fish in the river as there are in the lake, there’s still plenty of fish to have a good day.”

Lastly, there are a lot less people to contend with, given there are so many folks fishing Rainy Lake and LOTW. And you’ve got 42 miles of navigable Rainy River to fish, which is actually a lot.

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“For the most part, you’re going to have most of the river yourself,” concluded Henry.




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