A great day on the Rainy

My column this week is coming from Rogers, Ark., where I’m getting ready for the third FLW Tour stop of the year at Beaver Lake.
Through two days of practice, I haven’t quite figured out how to win this tournament yet. I had one more day to go, then a day off today before the tournament starts tomorrow (April 23).
Last week, I was fortunate to sneak down to the Rainy River on the last day of walleye season with my buddy, Jay Samsal, where we filmed an episode for my TV program, “Fishing with Gussy”
It was a beautiful day and the fish were biting, which was a bonus after just being able to get out in the boat after another Sunset Country winter.
In the past, I’ve written about the great opportunity that exists at the Rainy River on years when the ice goes out in time for walleyes from Lake of the Woods to move into the river before the season closes.
That is part of what makes it special, I think, in that we don’t get the chance to experience this bite every year.
When it happens, thousands and thousands of walleyes move into the river from the lake to spawn—and the opportunity to catch numbers of big fish is incredible.
Although Jay and I didn’t catch any walleyes over 10 pounds last week, we did catch several in the seven- and eight-pound range so it wasn’t a bad day.
When it comes to finding fish on the Rainy, you literally can catch them just about anywhere. But the places where the fish really group up are the little spots where you can find breaks in the current, on the back side of sand bars, and rock piles that stick out from shore.
The best approach for fishing is to throw out an anchor when you find an area that has some fish. This keeps you from having to constantly stay on the motor to hold your boat in position.
We were pitching jigs tipped with minnows upstream from the boat, then letting them drift back to the boat. Once they get past the boat, we reel up and pitch them up ahead of the boat again.
If you pull the jig against the current, it just doesn’t stay down on the bottom very good.
On the TV show, we share some tips that we’ve learned over the years for catching walleyes in rivers—it’s going to be a good one! It will be part of Season 5 and will air at some point next winter.
For anyone who likes to catch walleyes and has never been to the Rainy River before, I highly recommend leaving a few open days in the schedule for early April next year in case conditions allow us to get out there.
You won’t be disappointed!
The FLW tournament this week will be my third on Beaver Lake in as many years, so I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what to do out there. But with this tournament fishing, it’s all about catching fish on the day that it counts.
I have been able to sneak out of here with some prize money the past couple of years, so hopefully I can keep that streak going!
I’m looking forward to getting out there tomorrow to get this thing going!