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Catching the end of the walleye season at Rainy River

Brad Laabs look on as former pro walleye fisherman Leroy Howard holds up a fish he caught at Rainy River. Submitted photo 1 / 3
Brad Laabs with a 30-inch walleye he caught recently on Rainy River. submitted photo2 / 3
Fishing guide Brian Tangen shows off the fish he caught in the closing days of the Rainy River walleye season. Submitted photo3 / 3

I am sorry I did not have an article for you to read from me last week. I hope you missed me. I am up at Rainy River fishing the last two weeks of the walleye season on our northern border. There is not much for cell reception and I am staying at a buddy's house on the river that does not have wi-fi.

I wrote this article via my cell phone and sent it on Thursday, and as of Wednesday, the river bite officially stopped due to the side rivers letting loose and dumping mud and ice into the river. The water temps dropped to 34 degrees as well, contributing to the fish getting locked jaw.

In the week or so before Mother Nature closed the door, we had some great fishing for big fish and decent numbers of 15-20 inch walleyes.

Just about every day produced some walleyes from 26-29 inches, and I even caught a 30-incher this year.

Multiple techniques were working. Vertical jigging channel edges was the most popular strategy. We caught fish pitching jigs and plastics, vertical jigging minnows and plastics, pulling heavy jigs up river slowly with minnows and plastics — and pulling crankbaits on three-way rigs up river produced some big walleyes.

I was able to fish a day with good friends Leroy Howard and Brian Tangen. Leroy is a former PWT, RCL, and MWC pro walleye fisherman, and Brian is a fellow guide. Leroy and Brian were both able to put walleyes a little over 28.5 inches in the boat, and I lucked into a 30-incher at the end of our day.

The big disappointment with the river shutdown is the lost couple days with friends that came up to get in on the big fish bite, and even more so, was the last three days lost that were reserved with my sons Jake and Josh.