Ultimate Guide to Walleye Fishing on the Rainy River in MN

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Planning your next walleye fishing adventure? The Rainy River in Minnesota is a world-renowned hotspot for walleye, especially during the spring run. Our Ultimate Guide to Walleye Fishing on the Rainy River will equip you with everything from prime timings and essential gears to tried-and-true techniques.

Dive in and discover how to turn your trip into an unforgettable trophy catch experience!

Key Takeaways

  • The Rainy River in Minnesota is a world – renowned hotspot for walleye fishing, especially during the spring run.
  • Timing your trip accurately is important for a successful walleye fishing adventure on the Rainy River. Opting for weekdays or adverse weather days can result in smaller crowds and better fishing opportunities.
  • Choosing the right gear, such as medium to medium-light spinning or casting rods, quality reels with smooth drag systems, 6-10 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon lines, and a variety of lures and baits, is essential for catching walleye on the Rainy River.
  • Mastering presentation techniques like jigging and drop-shotting can significantly increase your chances of catching trophy-class walleye. It’s also crucial to pay attention to structure, current breaks, and experiment with different retrieves.

Overview of Rainy River

Situated between Lake of the Woods County, MN and Ontario, the Rainy River is a highly sought-after fishing destination renowned for its trophy-class walleye. This prolific waterbody attracts anglers from across the country, drawn by epic tales of multiple high-quality catches in a single day during the spring and traditional fall walleye run.

The richness of Rainy River lies not only in its abundance but also in its biodiversity. Aside from walleyes, it’s no stranger to Northern Pike that slide into back bays during their annual spawning ritual every spring.

Furthermore, boasts an excellent sturgeon fishery attracting anglers yearning for diverse angling experiences under one sky. With spinning emerald shiners or dead bait on your line, this marvel of Minnesota presents unmatched opportunities for you to reel in your dream catch! Whether you’re jigging with minnows or trolling crankbaits, each cast could potentially yield a thrilling fishing victory on any given day at Rainy River.

Ideal Timing for Walleye Fishing on Rainy River

Hitting the Rainy River for walleye fishing during the spring season can be an exhilarating experience, especially right after ice-out but before “the forks” break. This period presents anglers with a golden opportunity to hook trophy-class walleyes in plentiful quantities, with some lucky fishermen even managing to reel in multiple prized catches within a single day.

Weather and ice conditions play pivotal roles in ensuring a successful trip; therefore, keeping an eye out for accurate forecasts is beneficial.

However, timing your trip accurately requires more than just following weather updates. Opting for weekdays or adverse weather days often results in smaller crowds on the river and at public accesses, facilitating hassle-free fishing.

Additionally, arriving early ensures prime spots aren’t overrun by other eager anglers , providing further accessibility and enhancing chances of success.

Careful planning also extends beyond selecting suitable dates for your excursion. The spring walleye run lures throngs of passionate anglers from far and wide to Rainy River every year resulting in rapid accommodation bookings.

Play it safe by finalising several lodging alternatives ahead of time which will not only guarantee you have somewhere to rest your hat but also contribute significantly towards making your walleye adventure on Rainy River stress-free and truly memorable.

Planning Your Rainy River Walleye Trip

When planning your Rainy River walleye trip, make sure to choose a comfortable and convenient place to stay near the river. Don’t forget to find a suitable spot to launch your boat for easy access to the fishing grounds.

Start preparing now for an unforgettable angling adventure!

Where to Stay

For the ultimate walleye fishing adventure on the Rainy River, your accommodation plays a big role. Border View Lodge, situated at the river’s mouth in Baudette, MN is an excellent choice for avid fishermen.

This renowned lodge caters specifically to angling enthusiasts and provides quick access to prime fishing spots on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. It’s not just about a comfortable bed; you’ll also get invaluable local tips from seasoned guides, making it easier for you to grab that trophy-class walleye or even venture into sturgeon fishing.

Plus, after an exciting day out chasing walleyes during their annual spawning ritual or spring ice out periods, nothing beats relaxing by the lodge’s cozy fireplace. With its focus on catering to your fishing needs – right down to equipment rentals – Border View Lodge truly enhances your Minnesota Fishing experience.

Where to Launch

Launching your boat in the right spot is crucial for a successful walleye fishing adventure on the Rainy River. Luckily, there are several great options available to anglers. The Four Mile Bay area near Baudette, MN is a popular choice, offering easy access and excellent fishing opportunities.

Another option is Birchdale Landing, located about 25 miles east of Baudette. This public boat ramp provides convenient access to prime walleye hotspots. Lastly, Wheeler’s Point is another popular launching spot favored by many anglers due to its proximity to Lake of the Woods and its abundance of trophy-class walleye.

Whichever launching point you choose, be sure to plan ahead and arrive early to secure a good spot on the water.

Essential Gear for Walleye Fishing

To have a successful walleye fishing trip on the Rainy River, it’s important to have the right gear. Here are five essential pieces of gear you’ll need:

  1. Fishing Rod: Choose a medium to medium-light spinning or casting rod that is 6 to 7 feet long. This length will give you enough sensitivity to feel the walleye bites while providing enough power to reel them in.
  2. Fishing Reel: Pair your rod with a quality spinning or baitcasting reel that has a smooth drag system. A reel with a high gear ratio will help you quickly retrieve your line when necessary.
  3. Fishing Line: Opt for a 6-10 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line. These lines are strong enough to handle walleye, but still offer good sensitivity and low visibility in the water.
  4. Lures and Baits: Stock up on a variety of lures and baits that are proven to attract walleye. Some popular options include jigs (in various colors and weights), crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and live bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers.
  5. Tackle Box: Keep all your fishing gear organized in a tackle box that has compartments for different types of lures, hooks, weights, and other accessories. This will make it easier for you to find what you need when out on the water.

Techniques to Target Rainy River Walleye

When targeting walleye on the Rainy River, it’s essential to focus on effective presentation techniques.


To increase your chances of catching walleye on the Rainy River, mastering the art of presentation is key. These elusive fish are notorious for their sensitivity to bait movement, so it’s crucial to keep your presentation pinned to the riverbed.

Use a 3/4 to 1-ounce jig and cast it upstream at a slight angle, allowing it to drift downstream naturally with the current. Maintaining contact with your line is essential as this will help you detect any subtle bites from walleye lurking near the riverbed.

Make sure to experiment with different colors and sizes of jigs until you find what works best for enticing these prized fish into biting. Remember, patience and finesse are virtues when it comes to presenting your bait effectively for successful walleye fishing on Rainy River.

Drop-Shot Tips

Drop-shotting is a highly effective technique for targeting walleye on the Rainy River. Here are some tips to help you maximize your success:

  1. Choose the right setup: Use a sensitive spinning rod and reel combo with 6-8 lb test line. This will allow you to detect subtle bites and provide the finesse necessary for drop-shot fishing.
  2. Select the right weight: Opt for a 1/4 to 3/8 oz drop-shot weight, depending on the current and depth you are fishing in. Adjust the weight accordingly to keep your bait near the bottom while still maintaining control.
  3. Utilize finesse baits: Small soft plastic baits work best for drop-shotting walleye. Try using finesse worms, minnow imitations, or small paddle-tail grubs in natural colors like green pumpkin or watermelon.
  4. Hook placement: With drop-shotting, it’s important to hook your bait correctly. Thread your hook through the nose or middle of the bait, leaving enough of the hook exposed for good hooksets.
  5. Experiment with leader length: Start with a 12-18 inch leader between your weight and hook, but don’t be afraid to adjust it based on fish activity and water conditions.
  6. Vary your retrieves: Once you’ve found a productive spot, experiment with different retrieves to entice walleye into biting. Try slow lifts and drops of your rod tip or subtle shaking motions to mimic injured prey.
  7. Pay attention to structure and current breaks: Walleye often position themselves near current breaks or around submerged structures such as rock piles or weed beds. Keep an eye out for these spots and target them when drop-shotting.
  8. Stay mobile: Walleye can be constantly on the move, so if you’re not getting any bites after a reasonable amount of time, don’t be afraid to relocate and try a different spot.

Rigging and Boating Tips

Are you ready to maximize your walleye fishing success on the Rainy River? Here are some essential rigging and boating tips that will help you reel in those trophy fish:

  1. Use a slip sinker rig: This classic setup is perfect for targeting walleye on the Rainy River. Attach a slip sinker to your mainline, followed by a bead and a swivel. Then, tie on a fluorocarbon leader with a small hook or jig. This rig allows your bait to move naturally in the water, enticing those hungry walleye.
  2. Opt for live bait: While artificial lures can be effective, nothing beats live bait when it comes to enticing walleye. Use minnows or nightcrawlers as your go-to baits. Hook them through the lips or behind the dorsal fin for optimal presentation.
  3. Experiment with different colors: Walleye can be picky eaters at times, so don’t be afraid to switch up your bait colors until you find what they’re craving. Chartreuse, orange, and pink are popular choices on the Rainy River.
  4. Slow down your presentation: Walleye are known for their stealthy strikes, so slow down your retrieval speed when using artificial lures like crankbaits or spinnerbaits. A steady and deliberate retrieve will entice more bites.
  5. Explore different depths: Walleye can be found at various depths throughout the day, so it’s important to experiment and find where they’re holding. Start by fishing around 18 inches deep with a slip bobber setup and adjust from there based on their activity level.
  6. Pay attention to structure: Walleye love hiding around structure such as rocks, fallen trees, or weed beds along the Rainy River. Keep an eye out for these potential hotspots while navigating in your boat.
  7. Practice catch-and-release: The Rainy River is a prime fishing destination, and sustainable practices are essential for the long-term health of the walleye population. Follow local regulations, handle fish gently, and consider releasing larger walleye to ensure their continued growth.

Sturgeon Fishing on Rainy River: A Bonus Treat

The Rainy River not only offers exceptional walleye fishing opportunities but also provides anglers with a thrilling bonus treat – sturgeon fishing. This renowned fishery attracts anglers from all over the world seeking to catch these prehistoric giants.

With multiple sturgeon catches per day being the norm, it’s no wonder why the Rainy River is a popular destination.

When targeting sturgeon in the Rainy River, it’s essential to focus on deeper holes in the river and anchor upstream from them. These bottom feeders can reach weights well over 100 lbs, so it’s recommended to use heavier rods, reels, and tackle for a successful fight.

A tried and true technique involves using a 4/0 – 6/0 circle hook loaded with nightcrawlers and frozen emerald shiners fished on the riverbed.

Sturgeon are not just impressive in size; they can live for more than half a century! Inhabiting the deepest sections of the river that range from 15-30 feet deep, these remarkable creatures offer an electrifying angling experience you won’t soon forget.

So while you’re enjoying your walleye fishing adventure on Rainy River, be sure to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to reel in one of these ancient beasts.

Remember: Sturgeon fishing is regulated by certain restrictions imposed by MN DNR regulations, so make sure to familiarize yourself with those guidelines before embarking on your sturgeon-fishing journey along the Rainy River.

Conservation and Regulations

Conservation and regulations play a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability of the walleye fishery on Rainy River. It is important for anglers to be aware of and abide by these rules to protect the ecosystem and maintain healthy populations of walleye.

One key consideration is understanding the international boundaries that run through Rainy River, as this affects fishing regulations. Anglers need to know their location on the river to comply with both US and Canadian fishing laws.

In addition to following regulations, practicing proper fish handling techniques is essential. This is particularly important during catch and release seasons when anglers are encouraged to release their catch unharmed.

Handling fish with care minimizes stress and potential injury, increasing their chances of survival after being released back into the water.

By staying informed about current fishing regulations and actively supporting conservation efforts, anglers can contribute to preserving Rainy River’s walleye population for future generations.

It’s a responsibility we all share in maintaining this incredible resource.


In conclusion, the Rainy River in MN offers an incredible walleye fishing experience that will leave any angler thrilled. From timing your trip right to choosing the best gear and techniquesthis guide has provided all the essential information you need for a successful adventure on the water.

And don’t forget about the bonus treat of sturgeon fishing! So grab your gear, head out to Rainy River, and get ready for an unforgettable walleye fishing experience. Tight lines!


1. Where is the Rainy River located in Minnesota?

The Rainy River is located on the border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. It flows into Lake of the Woods and offers excellent walleye fishing opportunities.

2. What is the best time to go walleye fishing on the Rainy River?

The best time to go walleye fishing on the Rainy River is during spring and fall when the water temperature is cooler and walleye are more active near river mouths and deeper holes.

3. What techniques work well for catching walleye on the Rainy River?

Some effective techniques for catching walleye on the Rainy River include jigging with live bait or soft plastics, trolling with crankbaits or spinners, and casting with jerkbaits or swimbaits.

4. Do I need a fishing license to fish on the Rainy River in MN?

Yes, you will need a valid Minnesota fishing license to fish on the Rainy River in MN. Licenses can be purchased online or at authorized retailers throughout the state.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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