Jim Ridling Chairman on Rainy Trip June 7, 8, 9, 10, 2013

Jim Ridling, Ken Upchurch, Bill Coleman, and Wesley Dunn flew into International Falls on Thursday, June 6, dined at Thunderbird and spent the night on the Chairman. We begin our smallmouth fishing in earnest on this trip.  Smallmouth on top water baits really gets the guys going along with a homemade inline spinner that John Doug Toney made for years before he passed away.

John wanted to sell the Dougspins sometime ago. I put an order in with Doug intending to sell them on our tackle display.  Once I received them I had second thoughts about selling them. Where would I get more if Doug was not here? I saved them, shared them on this trip, did not lose any, and hopefully made Doug happy as he watched from above.

I thought fishing would be challenging this year because of the conditions that were occurring on Rainy Lake. Ice out was as close to record late as late gets.  That in itself would not be a problem if warm weather would have came in in normal amounts. So far we had one warm day. Two other factors are steady southeast, east and northeast winds that blow warm water into the main lake and a rainfall of five inches while a portion of the dam between International Falls and Fort Frances inoperable.

Good guides like a challenge, in reality it makes the job fun, success helps too. I left the first morning with Wesley and Bill. We started on a point with nothing happening. On the other side of the point was a spawning area, as we eased in the water temperature moved up three degrees from 60 to 63 degrees. We had a nice bass come to a Tiny Torpedo on the first cast. The next was a fat female full of eggs, there were males following, a great sign. Chef Bernie had a lunch for the guys so we were fishing for about an hour and a half. We boated five nice smallies and left for lunch feeling pretty good about things.

During the afternoon we started fishing and the bass had turned off surface baits. We switched to Doug spins and a Rapala Husky Jerk. Bill had not fished a jerk bait in the manner I showed him. I had a new Helsinky Shad color version, and it is a keeper! Bill learned quick, jerk, jerk pick up the slack line, jerk pick up the slack etc. The walleyes were smoking the bait, keepers, big ones and of course northern pike.  Wesley used a Tennesee Shad Husky Jerk it caught walleyes and pike but not as many as the Helsinki Shad.

John fished with Ken and Jim on Friday. They caught bass in the morning on Tiny Torpedoes.  During the afternoon Ken wanted to fish northern on buzzer’s.  They absolutely decked them in a black bottom weed bay. Ken’s largest was 37”.

Saturday morning was a Doug spin and Husky Jerk morning for Ken and Wesley. The Helsinki nailed the walleyes and Wesley’s Doug spin was catching walleyes, smallmouth and pike.

John’s boat with Bill and Jim pounded the walleyes and smallies with Doug spins.  The smallies were both tight to the point and out in six feet of water with the walleyes.

Sunday Jim and Wesley started out with a dandy smallmouth on the first cast. We caught some absolute pigs on Torpedoes and Doug spins. It did not seem to matter. During the afternoon we fished a large bay adjacent to the main lake. I fished the east shore, Jon the northwest shore. A south wind was blowing pretty good. Definite Doug spin weather. The smallies went nuts at least fifty between the two boats.

On the last day Jon fished with Jim and Ken, I was with Bill and Wesley. We started on a spawning area with a couple of points and boulder fields. Wesley was using the Dougspin, Bill the Helsinki Shad Husky Jerk. Walleyes, northern, and smallies were biting at a steady clip. A good fish hit Wesley hard and it turned out to be a 36” pike. It came bearing a gift.  Along with the Dougspin it had a fire tiger Chug Bug stuck in its upper lip. Wesley got the bait and the northern went free!