We are headed into a weather pattern that will likely end the open water season in the Bemidji area.
The Rainy River is one of the last places in northern Minnesota where anglers are able to get their boats in the water in the fall and also one of the first places anglers are able to get their boats in the water in the spring.
There is a movement of emerald shiners into the Rainy River late in the fall, which allows resorts and bait dealers to capture shiners to sell as bait during the ice fishing season.
The bite for big walleyes can be very good in the Rainy River both in the spring and in the fall. Schools of walleyes of all sizes come out of the Lake of the Woods to feed on the shiners before ice covers the big lake.
There are also walleyes coming out of the tributary rivers like the Big Fork and the Little Fork Rivers in the fall. Many of these walleyes feed their way down river and end up spending the winter in Lake of the Woods.
Most sturgeon in the Rainy River also leave the river during the fall and will head into Lake of the Woods for the winter.
This means there can be walleyes on many of the current breaks almost the entire length of the Rainy River in the fall, but most anglers concentrate their efforts close to Lake of the Woods and Four Mile Bay.
Most anglers in the Rainy River anchor their boats in current breaks with one or two heavy claw anchors. It takes a ¾-ounce jigs or heavier to reach the bottom close to the boat in most areas and not washing way down river before the jigs hit the bottom.
The local lakes are beginning to freeze, with ice beginning to form along the shoreline in larger lakes. Most of the swamps, ponds and small lakes are starting to skim over with ice.
The extended forecast for the Bemidji area is predicting daily high temperatures to stay well below freezing this week and nightly low temperatures to stay in the teens to low 20s.
The Minnesota Rifle Deer Season opens this Saturday, Nov. 9. The chances for significant snowfall before the hunting opener is limited, but it should be cold enough for any light snow to stick on the ground until the opener.
The late start to the deer season should insure hunters will have rut conditions during most of the rifle season. This makes both bucks and does more likely to be moving during the day and supposedly less wary of hunters presence in the woods.
The local deer population is in good condition despite tough weather conditions last winter. Regulations change depending on the section and region in Minnesota.
Hunters should check the regulations for the section they are hunting before Saturday. All the regulations for hunting and fishing are available on the Minnesota DNR website.
It is not too early to start organizing the ice fishing tackle and finish putting away the boat away and storing the open water tackle until next spring.
Tackle shops are busy stocking their shelves with ice fishing tackle. There are always new lures each winter that will run out once the masses figure out what lures are hot.
Take a little time while you are buying your deer hunting license to check out some of the new tackle for this winter’s ice fishing season before it flies off the shelves.
If you see something that you like, don’t wait, buy it now. The best colors of the hottest lures usually sell out first. Most tackle companies doing a limited amount of new tackle to see how it goes before going “all-in” on a product.
Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. Guided fishing trips for 2020 and the rest of 2019 can be booked by phone or text at 218-760-7751 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.