Opening weekend here on Rainy Lake delivers in a big way for our customers. I had the pleasure of fishing with Bob and Martin both Saturday and Sunday who stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge. We met at 7 am for breakfast and talked strategy while I did my best to highlight precisely our game plan and philosophy behind our fishing presentations. Neither Bob or Martin had experience fishing Rapalas and frankly were a bit hesitant to spend the opening weekend Hucking baits verus soaking them. I can’t say I blame them for wondering how this might play out versus the 95% of anglers who will be fishing a slow pattern due to cool water. Lindy rigs, Spinner rigs and small jigs and minnows were certainly the highly popular choices in attempts to turn early May fish. Still as we knocked down our “Flapjacks” and thoroughly enjoyed our morning coffee overlooking Rainy Lake as I discussed working the “Max Raps” for the bigger fish.
A week ago I mentioned in the coming days I believe areas of Rainy Lake may experience a “Gamechanging” bug hatch due to warming surface temps. That couldn’t have been more “SPOT ON” as water warmed and the bugs hatched. We effectively dialed in a pattern in which bugs were emerging out of the mud and the perch were in there targeting the hatch. The big “Gamefish” of Rainy Lake had effficiently located the pods of food and were found to be devouring not only those perch, but also the bugs. That hatch was found in many areas of the lake, and we were able to duplicate our success by matching conditions with water temperatures and bottom content in several areas we fished over the weekend. Water temps reaching 55 degrees and higher in 4-7 f.o.w. with scattered boulders, emerging weeds and a Mud/sand bottom content were GOLDEN!! Now add a favorable wind and our Rapala line up took a serious beating!!
I felt very confident that we’d do well considering the stage of our fishery concerning water temperatures alone. Our water levels have been climbing in which I also LOVE. The lake played nice with us and delivered a strong wind funneling the fish in pockets which we were able to locate in a search and destroy method. Strong winds my hinder the fisherman, but the fish LOVE IT. We employed the “Max Raps” and covered HUGE amounts of structure very efficiently while dialing in our opening weekend pattern. Once we found the structure that held the good fish we simply murdered them. Frankly I wouldn’t be suprised if CSI might open and investigationg at the Rapala HQ for the role they played in this “MAX MURDER”. We motored up and drifted through the “sweetspot” and frankly NEVER had a single dry run. Doubles were commonplace and our walleyes averaged 21-22 inches. Big Smallmouth, Big Pike and Big Walleyes…….Equalled BIG SMILES for two straight days of fishing.
As our trip came to an end Bob, Martin and myself sat down at the Thunderbird supper club and shared with each other how much fun the trip was. Both of them said and I qoute “I WILL NEVER LOOK AT THE RAPALA AISLE THE SAME AGAIN CHRIS!!”. That made me feel pretty good. As a fishing guide catching fish is satisfying, happy customers is rewarding, but teaching fisherman to become better anglers is the paradigm of my chosen career. Those two boys went from barely understanding how to work the stickbaits and receiving a lot of coaching and correcting to simply mastering a new presentation in just 2 days of fishing. Day 2 of the trip found these guys fishing the “Max Rap” with not only precision, but with CONFIDENCE. Confidence in your chosen presentation is the critical ingrediant to overall success. These guys crushed the Walleyes, Pike and Smallmouth in a way they never would have fished prior to this weekend. Now I can assure you they will approach their local fisheries quite differently and likely pass on opening weekend “dinks on the breaks” and target the “Pigs with no pressure”.
For those of you who would like a detailed look at how and why James and I work stickbaits early in the season I’d encourage you to watch this clip we made. We do our best to further detail how and why we work the “Max Rap” in cool water.
Season 6 – Episode 12. Walleye. James Holst & Chris Granrud fish Rainy Lake on the heels of a three week long mayfly hatch. In this episode Chris and James share a very simple pattern on how to deal with tight lipped mayfly stuffed walleyes.
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Patience at the hole definitely pays off when you’re trying to turn the head of a 25+ lb fish up into the light! Good job, guys!
What does a Rainy Lake guide do on a day off between walleye trips? Scout out a crappie bite for incoming clients, of course!!
Filmed Feb 1, 2012: Chris takes a day off from walleye guiding to scout for mid-winter crappie on Rainy Lake and drops on a school of active biters making for some VERY fast and exciting action!
Chris shares a day on Rainy Lake guiding customers to a great catch of pike, walleyes and perch.
Chris Granrud shares his favorite lures and colors for icing big Rainy Lake walleyes through the ice.
Chris Granrud talks tip ups and ices a big northern pike with his guide customer!
Chris Granrud talks ice conditions and puts clients on a big walleye fishing monster minnows under a Frabill Pro-Thermal tip up.
Hot off the presses! If you’re looking for good ice and BIG-TIME fun… Chris shows us how it’s done!
Filmed on Rainy Lake, Mn – December 22, 2011. Chris Granrud explains how he picks a prime location on Rainy Lake when targeting main lake walleyes and saugers.