Summer Bass Fishing Competitions in Voyageurs National Par

The 2024 Minnesota fishing season for smallmouth bass starts May 11, setting up the countdown to what’s sure to be an exceptional summer fishing season on Rainy Lake and in Voyageurs National Park. With thousands of islands, bays, reefs and over 227,000 acres of water in Rainy Lake, there’s a robust underwater ecosystem to enjoy where things never get dull, especially with the challenge of going up against other fishermen.

Rainy Lake’s deep, cold water means several fish species, including smallmouth bass, stick around shallow bays, setting up perfect fishing conditions — especially as spring undergoes its transition into June and the summer months.

July and August are the top months for smallmouth bass fishing on Rainy Lake, so that’s when you can expect tournaments and competitions to be circled on event calendars.

Preparing for Bass Fishing Competitions and Events

There’s a thrill that comes from fishing tourneys, if you’re a more experienced angler who wants to seek out new challenges and avoid complacency. Going after smallmouth bass is especially fun, since they’re aggressive and go after a variety of bait, giving anglers a variety of strategies to try.

If you haven’t already been fishing on Rainy Lake, learn the area in advance by practicing nearby. For best results, fish with your team shortly before your event or tournament. This is generally allowed by tournament organizers, but reference the event rules when formulating a plan to ensure you’re not in violation.

While on the water, your team should have a paper map to mark up with notes, but be wary of staying in one spot too long — especially if it’s a good spot. You don’t want to tip off other competitors or put undue angling pressure on the fish. And of course, while you don’t want potential competitors to know what you’re up to, you should watch them a bit to see if they’re doing anything that can be insightful for your fishing.

Upcoming Voyageurs National Park and Rainy Lake Fishing Competitions

The local tourney scene each summer centers around catching smallmouth bass. For great, competitive bass fishing competitions on Rainy Lake and in Voyageurs National Park this summer, check out these events:

  • Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship: In 2023, over 100 boat captains and their partners participated in this three-day tourney competing across several categories. The 2024 competition will take place on Rainy Lake from July 18-20. This year, the tournament turns 30. Boats will launch from the Sorting Gap Marina in Ontario.
  • International Falls Bass Championship: Mark your calendar for Aug. 22-24 for the 2024 installment. Held on Rainy Lake and Rainy River, this annual fishing event is for serious bass fishing enthusiasts. If you didn’t finish in the top 55 in 2023, you’ll need to join the wait list for a shot at participating in 2024. Beyond the great fishing, this tournament is popular because there’s fun to be had for the whole family, meaning you can build a vacation out of it. There will be a medallion hunt, food trucks, boat parade, craft show, a motorcycle and car show, and a fishing tournament geared toward kids. If you missed last year’s International Falls Bass Championship, get on that wait list for your chance to compete! 

If any new Rainy Lake bass fishing competitions or events are booked that seem promising, we’ll be sure to add that information here as it becomes available.

Rainy Lake, Where Angling Can Take Center Stage

For a standout summer experience that’s great for experienced or developing anglers, book your vacation with Rainy Lake Houseboats. On Rainy Lake, enjoy first-rate fishing this summer to catch smallmouth bass, or even northern pike, walleye, crappie and musky.

Check out our fishing calendar to learn more about what you can catch on Rainy Lake during the summer months.