Good Strategies for Fishing Rainy Lake

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Jigging & Drop Shotting

Jigging and/or drop shotting with live baits and soft plastics can be very effective on Rainy Lake.  You will find plenty of deep water and plenty of rocky areas or open water areas with no weeds so you can easily jig or drop shot without worrying about getting hung up on weeds.  However, some of the boulders can be flat out huge on this lake and you’re most likely going to need a lot of jigs, hooks and drop shot weights if you choose to fish this way.


Casting is one of the more popular ways to fish Rainy Lake due to the enormous amount of Rock that would love to steal your jigs.  Anglers cast all types of lures around weeds and rock and do very well.  By choosing to use lures that stay higher up in the water column or just above the rocks, you will spend more time fishing and less time re-tying.

Live Baiting

Depending on where you are fishing on Rainy Lake, getting live bait may not be super easy.  It’s easier in Minnesota than in Canada, however, if you want to fish with live bait, make sure you do your homework so you have plenty of nightcrawlers, leeches or minnows.  If you use live bait, you should be able to catch a lot of fish, especially if you use minnows.  There are so many pike in the lake and walleye and smallmouth bass will hit the minnows too.

Run & Gun

This is a very popular technique, especially for anglers that are fishing for one specific species of fish.  Because this lake is so big, you can literally find dozens if not hundreds of spots that may feature what you want to fish.  For example, if you are fishing for smallmouth bass, you may be fishing the points and reefs and by going from spot to spot, you can cover 20 to 30 highly productive spots in a day easily because there are so many productive-looking spots on this lake.  For pike anglers, it would most likely be the bays with vegetation and some deep water areas too for the bigger fish.  For walleye, it could be the reefs, deep shorelines, deep parts of the bays.

Trolling with the Big Motor

Some anglers choose to troll here to cover water and there is a lot of water to cover.  Trolling the reefs can be a very productive way to present your baits to as many fish as possible.  When fishing deeper water, trolling becomes a more popular technique for many anglers.

Slow Trolling with the Trolling Motor

This is a great way to cover some of these deep water spots while targeting walleye, smallmouth bass and even northern pike.


When the wind blows, drifting may be one of the better ways to fish, especially when fishing deeper water.  Drift along while keeping your baits in productive spots and you can catch some nice fish.


Some of these spots will hold a large amount of fish.  When you find a school of fish in one area, you may be better off anchoring up to maximize that one spot.


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