Rainy Lake Fishing Guide: License, Fishing Calendar, Tips – Minnesota


Are you a passionate fishing enthusiast looking for your next adventure? Look no further than Lake Rainy, one of Minnesota’s best-kept secrets for walleye catching. Located near International Falls, Lake Rainy offers a paradise for anglers seeking thrilling fishing experiences.

Lake Rainy is known for its abundant walleye population, making it a prime destination for those eager to reel in these prized fish. Whether you’re an experienced fishing enthusiast or a novice, Lake Rainy provides an excellent opportunity to catch this species. With its vast waters and diverse habitats, this lake offers a variety of fishing spots, from shallow areas to deeper sections, ensuring an exciting and fruitful fishing expedition.

Rainy Lake Fishing Guide: License, Fishing Calendar, Tips - Minnesota

Lake Rainy is also home to other popular game fish species. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy the thrill of chasing after these species while taking in the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding the lake.

To make the most of your Lake Rainy catching trip, consider staying at one of the many lodging options available in the area. From cozy cabins to luxurious resorts, you’ll find accommodations that suit your preferences and provide a comfortable base for your fishing adventures. Many lodges and resorts offer marina rentals, ensuring convenient access to the lake and all the fishing action it has to offer.

If you’re planning a visit during the fishing season, which typically runs from May to October, you’re in for a treat. This is the time when walleye catching is at its best, providing fishing enthusiasts with ample opportunities to land these elusive and prized fish. Whether you prefer casting from a boat or fishing from the shores, Lake Rainy offers a range of catching experiences to cater to your preferences.

When you fish in Lake Rainy, you not only get to enjoy exceptional fishing but also immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding area. Take in the stunning landscapes, breathe in the fresh air, and create lasting memories with your fellow fishing enthusiasts. Lake Rainy is more than just a fishing destination; it’s an experience that will leave you longing to return for more.

So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable fishing adventure, consider planning your next vacation to Lake Rainy near International Falls. With its abundance of fish species and picturesque scenery, this hidden gem is a must-visit for any fishing enthusiast. Get ready to cast your line and experience the thrill of fishing on Lake Rainy!

Rainy Lake Overview

Rainy Lake Overview

Lake Rainy Information

Lake Rainy is one of the large freshwater lakes located on the border of Ontario, Canada and Minnesota, USA. It covers an area of approximately 360 square miles and has a maximum depth of 160 feet. The lake is known for its extensive shoreline, stretching over 2,000 miles, providing ample space for fishing enthusiasts.

The water temperature on Lake Rainy varies throughout the fishing seasons. During the spring and fall, when fishing is at its prime, the water temperature ranges from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, the temperature can reach up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the winter, it can drop below freezing.

Key Areas on Lake Rainy

Lake Rainy offers a variety of key areas that are perfect for fishing. One of the popular spots is the area around International Falls, which is known for its abundant game fish population. Anglers can also explore the Ontario side of the lake, where they can find excellent fishing opportunities for different fish species.

Why Choose Lake Rainy for Fishing

When it comes to planning a catching trip, look no further than Lake Rainy. With its diverse fish population, scenic beauty, and easy access from both states, Lake Rainy is a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, the lake offers something for everyone.

Rainy Lake Fishing Species

Rainy Lake Fishing Species


This species is one of the most sought-after species in Lake Rainy. Known for its delicious taste and challenging fight, it attracts fishing enthusiasts from far and wide. These elusive creatures are often found near rocky structures and weed beds, particularly during dawn and dusk. Fishing enthusiasts commonly employ techniques such as jigging, trolling, and live attractor presentations to entice these prized fish.

Smallmouth Bass

Another popular species in Lake Rainy is the smallmouth bass. With their aggressive nature and acrobatic leaps, this bass species provides thrilling action on the end of a fishing line. These feisty fish prefer rocky areas, submerged logs, and drop-offs. Fishing enthusiasts often use crank attractors, soft plastics, and topwater attractors to entice this bass species into striking.


This species, a popular freshwater game fish, is known for their tasty white flesh and challenging fight. There are two main species of this fish found in Rainy Lake: the black crappie and the white crappie. These fish prefer different habitats and have slightly different behaviors, but both can be targeted successfully with the right techniques.

Northern Pike

For those seeking an exhilarating and aggressive catching experience, targeting this species in Lake Rainy is a must. These fish, often referred to as “water wolves,” are known for their voracious appetites and powerful strikes. These apex predators are typically found in weedy areas and near shallow bays. Fishing enthusiasts commonly use large spoons, spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits to entice these toothy predators.

Other fish species

Lake Rainy offers a variety of other fish species, such as largemouth bass, muskie, and perch, providing fishing enthusiasts with endless opportunities to explore and test their skills.

Rainy Lake Fishing Seasons

Rainy Lake Fishing Seasons


During the spring season, which typically spans from April to June, Lake Rainy becomes a haven for fishing. The walleye population in the lake is abundant, making it an ideal time for fishing enthusiasts to pursue this prized fish species. Anglers often use a variety of techniques, including casting crank attractors and trolling with live attractors, to lure these fish out of their hiding spots.


As summer arrives, the fishing opportunities on Lake Rainy continue to thrive. Anglers can target a variety of fish species. The warm weather and longer days provide ample time for fishing excursions and exploring the lake’s vast waters. From casting attractors near the shore to trolling with artificial attractors, fishing enthusiasts can enjoy a diverse range of fishing techniques during the summer season.

Read more: Lake Texoma Fishing Guide: License, Spots, Tips


Fall on Lake Rainy brings a sense of tranquility and breathtaking beauty. The changing colors of the surrounding foliage create a picturesque backdrop for fishing enthusiasts seeking a memorable catching trip. During this season, the walleye catching remains excellent, and the cooler temperatures make for comfortable fishing conditions. Anglers can reel in trophy-sized fish while enjoying the peacefulness of the lake.


As the lake freezes over, Lake Rainy transforms into a winter wonderland, offering unique ice fishing opportunities. Anglers drill holes in the ice and set up their ice fishing shanties to brave the cold temperatures and catch fish such as walleye. Ice fishing on Lake Rainy provides a different perspective and allows fishing enthusiasts to experience the thrill of fishing in a frozen landscape.

Rainy Lake Walleye Fishing

Rainy Lake Walleye Fishing

Best Bait & Tackle

Bait Selection

When it comes to fishing on Lake Rainy, choosing the right attractor can make all the difference. One of the most effective attractors for walleyes is the trusty minnow. Whether you opt for live minnows or artificial ones, these fish are known to be attracted to the realistic movement of these attractors. Other popular attractor options include nightcrawlers and leeches. Experiment with different types of attractors to see what species in Lake Rainy are catching on.

Tackle Recommendations

When it comes to having the right tackle for a successful catching trip on Lake Rainy, consider the following options:

  • Jigs: Jigs are versatile and can be used in various depths and conditions. Opt for jigs in different sizes and colors to match the preferences of the fish.
  • Crankbaits: Crank attractors can be effective, especially when fishing in deeper waters. Choose crank attractors that mimic the appearance and movement of the walleye’s natural prey.
  • Jerkbaits: Jerkbaits can also be effective for fishing, particularly in deeper waters. Experiment with different sizes and colors to find what works best.

Remember to match your tackle selection to the conditions of the lake and adjust as needed for optimal results.

Tips and Techniques

Fishing on Lake Rainy requires some specific techniques to increase your chances of success. Here are a few tips to help you reel in that trophy fish:

  1. Focus on structure: This species is often found near underwater structures such as rock piles, submerged logs, and weed beds. These areas provide cover and attract baitfish, making them prime hunting grounds for this fish.
  2. Time of day matters: This species is known to be more active during low-light periods such as dawn and dusk. Plan your catching trip accordingly to maximize your chances of catching.
  3. Slow and steady retrieve: When using attractors, a slow and steady retrieve is often more effective. This allows the fish to closely examine the attractor and increases your chances of a strike.
  4. Pay attention to water temperature: These species are temperature-sensitive fish and tend to be more active in cooler water. Keep an eye on the water temperature and adjust your fishing techniques accordingly.

Best Time of Year for Fishing

The best time of year for fishing on Lake Rainy is during the spring and early summer months. As the ice melts and the water begins to warm up, this species of fish becomes more active and moves to shallower areas to spawn. This is when they are most accessible to fishing enthusiasts.

During this time, focus your fishing efforts along shoreline drop-offs, rocky points, and weed edges. As the summer progresses, this fish may move to deeper water, so adjusting your fishing techniques accordingly is essential.

Proven Fishing Spots for Fishing Success

For fishing enthusiasts looking for proven fishing spots on Lake Rainy, here are a few areas worth exploring:

  1. Cranberry Bay: This bay is known for its abundant species population and offers plenty of underwater structure for walleye to hide and feed.
  2. Sand Bay: With its sandy bottom and submerged rocks, Sand Bay is another hotspot for fishing. Focus on the deep edges and drop-offs for the best results.
  3. Brule Narrows: Located in the central part of the lake, Brule Narrows is a narrow channel that connects Lake Rainy to other bodies of water. This area is known for its strong walleye population and can provide an exciting catching experience.

Rainy Lake Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Rainy Lake Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Abundant Bass Population

Rainy Lake boasts a healthy population of this bass species, making it a prime location for fishing enthusiasts targeting this species. The lake’s pristine waters and favorable habitat provide optimal conditions for bass to thrive. The rocky structures, submerged logs, and weed beds offer excellent hiding spots for these feisty fighters.

Best Catching Techniques and Strategies

When it comes to targeting bass on Rainy Lake, there are several effective techniques and strategies to increase your chances of success. One popular method is using soft plastic attractors, such as tubes or crawfish imitations, rigged on a drop-shot or Texas rig. These presentations mimic the natural prey of bass and entice them to strike.

Another productive technique is casting crank attractors along rocky points and shorelines, imitating injured baitfish. The erratic action of the crankbait triggers aggressive strikes from this bass species, often resulting in memorable battles.

Crappie Fishing

Crappie Fishing

Best Time for Catching

To maximize your chances of a successful crappies-catching trip, it’s important to understand the seasonal patterns of these fish. In Rainy Lake, the spring and fall months are prime times for fishing. During these seasons, these fish move into shallower waters to spawn or feed, making them more accessible to fishermen.

Effective Techniques and Baits

When targeting this species in Rainy Lake, fishing enthusiasts have found success using a variety of techniques and attractors. One popular method is jigging with small, lightweight jigs. Crappies are known to be attracted to jigs that mimic their natural prey, such as minnows or insects. Other effective attractors include small spinners, soft plastics, and live attractors like minnows or worms.

Northern Pike Fishing

Northern Pike Fishing

Prime Catching Spots

When it comes to targeting this fish on Rainy Lake, there are several prime fishing spots that fishing enthusiasts should explore. The eastern bays and weed beds are known to hold a significant population of this species, providing ample opportunities for fishermen to hook into these impressive fish. Additionally, rocky shorelines and drop-offs near submerged structures are also favored locations for this fish.

Effective Techniques

To increase your chances of success when fishing for this species on Rainy Lake, it is important to employ effective techniques. One popular method is casting and retrieving artificial attractors such as spoons, spinners, and jerk baits. These attractors mimic the movements of wounded prey, enticing this fish to strike. Another effective technique is trolling with crank attractors or live attractors, allowing you to cover a larger area and locate active fish.

Tackling the Elements

As with any outdoor activity, it is essential to be prepared for the elements when embarking on a catching trip to Rainy Lake. Dressing appropriately for the weather, wearing a life jacket, and carrying essential safety equipment is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. It is also important to familiarize yourself with local regulations to ensure compliance and the sustainability of the fish population.

Minnesota Fishing Regulation

Northern Pike Fishing

Fishing License

To fish in Minnesota, you must possess a valid fishing license. This applies to both residents and non-residents who are 16 years of age or older. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for issuing fishing licenses and enforcing regulations.

Seasons and Limits

Minnesota has specific seasons and limits for different fish species to ensure sustainable fishing practices. It is important to be aware of these regulations to protect fish populations and maintain the overall health of the lakes.

For walleye, one of the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, there are specific regulations set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These regulations include the following limits:

  • Size limit: The minimum size limit for this species is 15 inches in length.
  • Quantity limit: Anglers are allowed to harvest up to 6 fish per day.

In addition to these limits, there are also restrictions on fishing methods and gear. For example:

  • Live attractor: The use of live attractor is allowed for walleye catching.
  • Hooks: Anglers can use any type of hook for walleye catching, as long as it does not exceed the maximum hook size specified by the DNR.

It’s important to note that these regulations may change, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest updates from the Minnesota DNR before your catching trip to ensure compliance with the most current regulations.

To get detailed and up-to-date information on the current fishing seasons and limits, it is recommended to consult the official website of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This website will provide you with specific information on the seasons, size limits, bag limits, and any other regulations that apply to different fish species in Minnesota.

Remember, angling regulations may change from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest updates from the Minnesota DNR before your catching trip to ensure compliance with the most current regulations.

Ontario State Fishing Regulations

Ontario State Fishing Regulations


Before heading out to enjoy the beautiful fishing spots in this state, it is important to be aware of the fishing license requirements. Fishermen aged 18 and older must have a valid fishing license to fish in the province’s waters. The license allows you to fish in various locations, including lakes, rivers, and streams. It is essential to obtain the appropriate license based on your residency status and the duration of your catching trip.

Read more: Lake Hartwell Bass Fishing: Guide to Trophy Major League Fishing Sized Bass


Lake Rainy offers fantastic fishing opportunities for fishing enthusiasts of all skill levels. However, it is crucial to understand and adhere to the fishing regulations in place to ensure the sustainability of the fish population and the overall ecosystem. Some of the key regulations for fishing in Lake Rainy include:

  • Size Limits: Certain fish species in Lake Rainy have specific size limits that fishing enthusiasts must follow. These limits are in place to protect younger fish and allow them to reach maturity.
  • Catch and Release: In some cases, catch and release is mandatory for certain fish species. This practice helps maintain a healthy fish population and ensures the long-term viability of the fishery.
  • Seasons and Bag Limits: Fishing seasons and bag limits vary depending on the species and fishing zone within Lake Rainy. It is important to familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure compliance.

For more information on fishing limits, size restrictions, and catch and release guidelines in this state, visit Ontario.ca.

Planning Your Fishing Trip

Planning Your Fishing Trip

Getting to Lake Rainy

Before embarking on your fishing adventure at Lake Rainy, it’s important to plan your journey and make the necessary travel arrangements. Lake Rainy is located in Voyageurs National Park. Here are some tips to help you get to Lake Rainy :

  1. By Car: If you prefer driving, you can reach Lake Rainy by taking Highway 11 to Fort Frances, or International Falls, Minnesota. From there, you can access various entry points to the lake.
  2. By Air: If you’re traveling from a distant location, flying to the region is a convenient option. The closest major airports are Falls International Airport (INL) in International Falls, Minnesota, and Fort Frances Municipal Airport (YAG) in Fort Frances. From the airport, you can rent a car or arrange for transportation to Lake Rainy.
  3. Remote Area Border Crossing Permit: If you plan to fish in both the United States and Canadian waters of Lake Rainy, you will need a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC). Make sure to obtain the necessary permits and understand the regulations before your trip.

What to Bring on Your Catching Trip

To make the most of your catching experiences at Lake Rainy, it’s essential to pack the right gear and essentials. Here’s a list of items you should consider bringing:

  1. Fishing Equipment: Bring your preferred fishing rods, reels, and tackle boxes. Lake Rainy offers excellent opportunities for various fishing techniques, including trolling and ice fishing. Make sure to pack suitable equipment for your preferred fishing style.
  2. Bait and Lures: Depending on the time of the year and the species you want to target, pack a variety of attractors. Minnows, leeches, worms, and soft plastics are commonly used attractors at Lake Rainy. Don’t forget to include your favorite attractors for specific fish species.
  3. Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers and pack clothing suitable for the weather conditions during your catching trip. Lake Rainy experiences different seasons and temperatures, so be prepared for changes. Don’t forget to bring rain gear and sun protection.
  4. Snacks and Drinks: Stay energized and hydrated throughout your fishing adventure by packing snacks, water, and other beverages. It’s essential to stay nourished and hydrated during long hours on the water.
  5. Navigation and Safety Equipment: Carry a navigational map or GPS device to help you navigate the lake and locate fishing spots. Additionally, ensure you have life jackets, a first aid kit, a whistle, and other necessary safety equipment on board.

Remember, planning ahead and being prepared will enhance your catching experiences at Lake Rainy. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings, and abundant fishing opportunities, and create unforgettable memories on your fishing trip!

Note: The information provided in this article is based on reliable sources and is intended to serve as a guide for planning your Lake Rainy fishing adventure. Please refer to the provided online resources for more detailed information on fishing regulations, accommodations, and other relevant details.


Q: What is the best time of year to fish for Walleye on Rainy Lake near International Falls?

A: The best time to fish for Walleye on Lake Rainy is during the spring and fall seasons. This is when the Walleye are most active and feeding heavily.

Q: Where can I find good fishing spots on Lake Rainy?

A: There are several good fishing spots on Lake Rainy, including reefs, coves, and main lake points. These areas are known to hold a high concentration of fish.

Q: Are there fishing resorts or guides available on Lake Rainy?

A: Yes, there are fishing resorts and guides available on Lake Rainy. They can provide you with expert knowledge and assistance in finding the best fishing spots.

Q: Can I fish on the Ontario side of Lake Rainy?

A: Yes, you can fish on the Ontario side of Lake Rainy. The Ontario side offers great fishing opportunities for a variety of species.

A: Some of the popular fish species in Lake Rainy include Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass and Muskie.

Q: Where is Kettle Falls located on Lake Rainy?

A: Kettle Falls is located on the western end of Rainy Lake, near the Minnesota-Canada border.

Q: Are there any specific techniques that work best for Walleye fishing on Rainy Lake?

A: Jigging with live attractors, such as minnows or leeches, is a popular technique for catching Walleye on Lake Rainy. Trolling with crankbaits or worm harnesses can also be effective.

Q: Can I fish for Crappie on Lake Rainy?

A: Yes, you can catch this fish on Lake Rainy. The lake is known for its excellent fishing, especially during the spring and fall seasons.

Q: What are some of the best fishing destinations on Lake Rainy?

A: Some of the best fishing destinations on Lake Rainy include Red Gut Bay, points and reefs, and the basin of the lake. These areas are known to hold good numbers of fish.

Q: Can I fish for Smallmouth Bass on Lake Rainy?

A: Yes, you can fish for this bass species on Lake Rainy. The lake is home to a healthy population of this Bass, and they can be found in both shallow and deep water.

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