Review: Rainy Lake (MN)


Beautiful lake with lots of fish and mixed results

We fished Rainy Lake in Northern Minnesota June 23rd to 26th and had mixed to disappointing results.

The lake is massive, covering an area of over 350 miles with many islands, bays and rivers. The 900 miles of shoreline is beautiful with summer homes and campgrounds spotted around the lake.  The U.S./Canadian border splits the lake and due to the Canadian Border closing due to Covid-19, we were unable to venture on the Canadian side of the lake. 

Not a trophy, but a beautiful 23″ Rainy Lake Walleye

Unfortunately, we caught the Rainy Lake at the exact time that a massive Mayfly hatch was creating havoc for Anglers but providing an all-you-can-eat feast for the multiple species of fish at Rainy Lake! As a result, we had a very light bite during our four days on the lake averaging just 4 fish a day.

That said, the knowledgeable guides put us on massive schools of fish, but you can’t make them eat. It’s so frustrating when you see the guides marking the fish with their lowrance and hummingbird screens but they don’t take a bait or lure despite making expert presentations to them.

We stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge located right on the lake. Its a rustic place with standard rooms but no elevators. So be aware, if you are with elderly anglers like we were. It’s not an easy climb for them. Request a lower floor room.

The service at the lodge was great with all the staff more that willing discuss the days fishing with you while accommodating your meal requests. Meals were ok with a hit or miss menu. However, make sure you order the Prime Rib which was very flavorful and cooked to perfection! 

Although the fishing was subpar during our 4 days on the water, in our opinion, the guides rank up with the best in the business. We used Rainy Lake Guide Service and they booked us with Scott Jean, Rich Lunzer and Willie Lyon. We would suggest you request any of these professionals! All the guides put us on tons of fish. They also have beautiful Ranger and Skeeter boats with large casting decks and some powerful 250 and 300 HP Mercury and Yamaha outboards. All the electronics are up to date.

Although we didn’t boat a lot of fish, the species are plentiful. We brought in Northern Pike, Walleye, Sauger, Smallmouth Bass, Perch and Crappie.

All in all, Rainy Lake is a beautiful piece of water with many islands, rivers, coves and bays. Fish are abundant but you just have to find them and present a lure or bait that they are willing to eat. 

Good luck and tight lines!