Big Fall Walleyes on the Rainy River

Category: article

 Oct 11th, 2020 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Oct 11th, 2020 at 9:26 AM

Big Fall Walleyes in the Rainy River

There has been a trend over the past few years, maybe longer. Right before and during the traditional MN Gun Deer Season, big fall walleyes are in the Rainy River and often time, big walleyes. This past week proved it again. Some reports of 100 fish days for those who were on them. Many other anglers spoke about catching numerous trophy walleyes all in the same day. This message isn’t a one off, but rather, common place. The bottom line, if you are willing to brave the cold temps, there are big fall walleyes in the Rainy River.

Yep, this time of year, many outdoors-people minds turns to hunting. Very understandable. With that being said, having the chance to hit the river just one more time before ice up could be the best and most memorable trip of the year for big fall walleyes.

Every year the river is different. Some years, there is a lot of current. Other years, hardly any. An angler has to adapt.

The fall of 2020 has been dry. The river is low as is the current. There are still walleyes in the river and this week there was a good run of shiners again. Only Mother Nature knows, but things could be shaping up for some great late fall walleye fishing.

What is the go to presentation. No surprise to many, it is jigging. When the current is low, anglers can use 1/4 – 1/2 ounce jigs. When increased current, it is important to have heavier jigs. With the stained water, the walleyes don’t seem to mind. When we mention heavier jigs, it is good to have them up to 1.5 ounces just in case. In most cases, a smaller jig will suffice if you are fishing out of the current. The boy scout motto, “Always be Prepared”.

There are a number of jigging techniques on the Rainy River that can be effective. One technique is to anchor up and vertically jig over the side of the boat. Depending upon the current, your line may be a bit downstream, but that can be ok. It is good to use a jig that can “thunk” the bottom once in a while, which can attract walleyes.

Another technique is to purposely have a bit more angle in your line. Especially in current, pull the jig forward in the current and let it drop back until you feel it hit bottom. Lift it off a bit sharper next time. Maybe shake the jig, hold it steady. It is up to us as anglers to figure out what the walleyes want.

Jig colors? With the stained waters of Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River, big walleyes are typically interested in gold, orange, chartreuse, and glow or a combo of such. There are other nuances some use for jigging. In the stained water, noise can be helpful. Rattles, blades and spinners all add not only sound but also in some cases, extra flash.

As far as the bait on the jig, emerald shiners are the go to. Emeralds are native to the Rainy and is one main reason the walleyes are there. Emeralds run up the river in the fall. There is no for sure reasoning why they run. I have heard theories such as it is food related or the shiners are running to toughen up for the winter, getting re-slimed in the big schools. Nobody really know. What we do know, big fall walleyes love them and stay close.

Yep, it is a bit cold outside. If you can handle the weather, the reward could be massive numbers of big fall walleyes and perhaps that fish of a lifetime!

To learn more about the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods, check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism website.

To find a guide, charter boat or lodging, check out our lodging page.

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