Welcome to our Rainy Lake Fishing Home Page
Rainy Lake is located along the border of Minnesota and Canada near International Falls. A large portion of the lake surrounds Voyageurs National Park. Rainy Lake is a popular vacation destination for people that enjoy the outdoors. There aren’t a ton of places to stay here, but there are just enough to service the people who come here for a vacation.
Learn About the Fish
Primary Species of Fish
Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye
Rainy Lake has some excellent fishing opportunities for northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass. All 3 species of fish are here in good numbers and trophy fish are available too.
Secondary Species of Fish
Crappie, Sauger, Perch
Some anglers do target crappie and perch on Rainy Lake. Anglers usually catch some sauger mixed in while fishing for walleye. These fish are here, but don’t expect to consistently catch them unless you know how to target them. There have been some very nice reports of some unbelievable crappie fishing here, but you have to do your homework to score big here consistently for crappie.
Learn About The Lake
Fishing the Bays on Rainy Lake
Rainy Lake has tons of bays. Most of them will have some weed growth somewhere in the bay. Finding the weeds is important to finding crappie early in the season and of course northern pike. While walleye can often be found relating to the rock on Rainy Lake, you will also find some walleye around the deeper weed edges too.
The bays are great for the spring time when you can catch every species of fish. From northern pike to smallmouth bass to walleye and crappie, during the spring, fish move into the bays to find warmer water. In the summer and fall, the fishing may be better in deeper water, however, the bays will hold some fish through the entire open water fishing season.
The biggest thing with the bays on Rainy Lake is whether or not they are going to hold more weeds or more rock. The bays that hold more rock will almost always be better spots to fish for smallmouth bass and you will most likely also find some northern pike and even some walleye mixed in too. The bays that hold more weeds are going to hold a lot more northern pike. If you are just looking to catch pike, just fish around the deep weeds in the bays and you’ll catch a lot of fish. Most fish will run smaller in the summer, but in the spring and fall, you can find a lot of big fish in the bays around the weeds.
Fishing the Creeks, Spillways & Waterfalls on Rainy Lake
There are some creeks, spillways and/or waterfalls that feed into Rainy Lake. These spots provide for some excellent fishing, especially in the spring time when fish move into the shallows. The running water attracts bait fish which then attracts game fish to these areas. At times, the fishing can be quite good for smallmouth bass, walleye and northern pike. Early and late in the year, you may even find some crappie around these spots.
Fishing the Islands on Rainy Lake
There are so many islands on this lake that you couldn’t fish them all if you wanted to. It would take years. The islands may be somewhat similar in that you are going to find plenty of rocks, however, each island may be different as far as attracting fish. The location of the islands in relation to the main lake can make a difference. Also, the depths around these islands will dictate what you usually find around them. All rock and no weeds and you may find more smallmouth bass and walleye. Rock with some weeds mixed in and you will most likely find some smallmouth bass and walleye here too, however, the weeds will usually attract the pike too. Pike will be found around the islands with just rock as well, however, the if you hit enough islands that just have rock, you’re going have a better chance of finding smallmouth bass and walleye.
Fishing the Points on Rainy Lake
There are so many points on Rainy Lake. While most smallmouth bass anglers would think the bass fishing would be super easy by just going from point to point to point, it isn’t always that easy on Rainy. There are a lot of smallmouth bass that will use the points, however, a huge number of smallmouth bass prefer the reefs out in open water. Maybe that is because of all the northern pike that roam the shallows. We’re not sure exactly why, however, just targeting the points isn’t a sure-fire way to target smallies on this lake. At times, it can be very productive though.
Early in the year, you can often find some good walleye fishing year the points. The deeper points produce well in the summer and fall as well. On Rainy lake, the one thing you can consistently find on the points is pike. There are so many pike in this lake and they search out the points for an easy meal, so while that spot may seem like a perfect-looking smallie spot, you may want to get ready for a hit from a northern pike.
Fishing the Reefs on Rainy Lake
Once water temperatures warm and summer patterns set in, the best action will usually be found on the reefs, especially for bigger fish. Anglers target walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike, but you may also catch perch and crappie in these same areas. The deeper water will usually hold most of the better-sized fish. Fish 20 to 30 feet down along the reefs with live baits and a variety of soft plastics and other lures and you should be able to catch plenty of fish. However, don’t rule out the shallower parts of the reefs as well. Sometimes, you will find fish sitting right on top of the reef in water just 3 to 8 feet deep. During low light conditions, you may find some walleye and smallmouth bass in the shallower water around these reefs.
Fishing the Rocks on Rainy Lake
This lake is loaded with rocks. It can be annoying trying to fish the rocks though because the lake is full of snags. Smallmouth bass love the rocks, but it’s not as easy as finding the rocks and finding the bass because the rocks are all over the place. Find rock with some weeds mixed in or around a nice drop-off and you have a better chance to catch fish. The islands, shorelines and reefs are loaded with rocks.
Fishing the Weeds on Rainy Lake
The weeds are available throughout the lake. The bays are where you need to search for them. From bulrushes to cabbage, there is plenty of green stuff to fish here. Find water in the 6 to 10 range with some weeds and you’ll find the better pike. Fish the shallower weeds and you’ll catch a lot of smaller pike. You may also find walleye, smallmouth bass and crappie mixed in the weeds as well, but you’re going to find a lot more northern pike the majority of the time.
Popular Fishing Techniques on Rainy Lake
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.
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 to maximize that one spot.