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Fish&Fowl

Someone explain it to me...

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I was just thinking of this question again for about the 100th time so I thought I'd throw it out here. I've fished Rainy Lake all my life and just started musky fishing it about 3 years ago.

Why, in a lake that has had muskies for a long time (not sure exactly how long), are there only a handful of bays on such a massive lake that have fishable numbers of 'skis??

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I would say its due to the forage, structure and the proximity to spawning areas.

Those fish have been there for about 10,000 years and they know where the living is good I guess.

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i suspect you fish only bays for whatever reason. it's true bays are a great muskie hangout, but if it's possible for you to go around your reasons for remaining in bays you'd find fish in all sorts of places besides bays. Great Grandpappy Amos allways said it best... "You'll find 'dem mooskie's in the 'zact same spot as 800 lb. gorillee's, where ever day want... guren-teed"... laugh ....interesting note...( at least to me)...way back when everybody was clubbing, shooting, and keeping and killing muskie, he was releaseing. he even got into a few scraps with guys that didn't like the fact he let them go and not give them the fish. i'm glad times have changed. cool good luck.

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i suspect you fish only bays for whatever reason. it's true bays are a great muskie hangout, but if it's possible for you to go around your reasons for remaining in bays you'd find fish in all sorts of places besides bays. Great Grandpappy Amos allways said it best... "You'll find 'dem mooskie's in the 'zact same spot as 800 lb. gorillee's, where ever day want... guren-teed"... laugh ....interesting note...( at least to me)...way back when everybody was clubbing, shooting, and keeping and killing muskie, he was releaseing. he even got into a few scraps with guys that didn't like the fact he let them go and not give them the fish. i'm glad times have changed. cool good luck.

I think we have a different definition of bays. I'm talking about "bays" on the Canadian side that are many thousands of acres that have deep water, humps, narrows, weeds, rocks, dozens of islands, and even big other bays within them.

Also, I don't think it's a structure or forage thing. The entire lake is nothing BUT structure and there is a strong, diverse forage base found throughout as well.

I'm not saying there aren't muskies in other places, but they're not there in fishable numbers. My dad guided on Rainy for 15 years and we both fish it every chance we can, along with a lot of other people we know. I haven't heard of a musky coming out of the American side of the lake and certainly have never seen one. You'd just think one would grab a walleye or something when you're out there, but you just never hear about it or experience it.

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yeah, i was thinking ''bay'' more on the definition of isolated or protected smaller areas away from but accessable from the main basin... and meaning none of the same contour lines are attached to the main basin or running into it... smile it's a proven fact that 90% of a lakes fish population only occupies 10% of the area of a lake at any given time. but without fishing it i'm afraid i don't have a good rainy lake specific answer, sorry.

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My theory is that the American side doesn't have the spawning areas that the Canadian side does. Possibly a larger thing is that the American side has a higher pike population. Northern pike spawn way before muskies do and the pike fingerlings take quite a toll on the young muskies. Bays like Jackfish, Tilson, Krause, Black, Dove, Cranberry, Alder Creek, Lost...all have great places for pike to spawn.

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Spawning possibilities only make sense to me for the Spring of the year- muskies will travel very long distances after that if they want to.

You question applies to LOW too. Why is it that there are so few skis on the US side of that huge body of water? A few hundred thousand acres are available to them there, but they don't go there. Unlike Rainy, however, the topography and structure in Big Traverse is very different then it is in the traditional muskie waters. Still, tons upon tons of baitfish in Big Traverse and related areas, but very few skis-- seems to go against the commonly accepted idea that if there's forage, there will be muskie.

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My theory is that the American side doesn't have the spawning areas that the Canadian side does. Possibly a larger thing is that the American side has a higher pike population. Northern pike spawn way before muskies do and the pike fingerlings take quite a toll on the young muskies. Bays like Jackfish, Tilson, Krause, Black, Dove, Cranberry, Alder Creek, Lost...all have great places for pike to spawn.

Yeah I don't think the American side does have a lot for spawning, and I don't think some of the bays you mentioned would be very good musky spots even if there wasn't a ton of pike.

I'm talking about the North Arm, Bleak, Swell, Cormorant, the Anderson Bay area and the east end of the lake. I don't know if stocking the lake in different areas would encourage them to stay spread out or not, but I just can't understand why they stay so isolated.

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like i said before i don't fish it or know too much about it... but if i was looking for these "missing fish" i'd concentrate my efforts on underwater cliffs and/or shelves. i'm a spinnerbait guy for that type of structure but theres plenty of plastics that could cover that type of structure also. or i suppose live/dead bait? i'd search for suspended ones mostly but i wouldn't pass up the chance on trying to find some deep girl's also. yep... that's what i'd do. whistle

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like i said before i don't fish it or know too much about it... but if i was looking for these "missing fish" i'd concentrate my efforts on underwater cliffs and/or shelves. i'm a spinnerbait guy for that type of structure but theres plenty of plastics that could cover that type of structure also. or i suppose live/dead bait? i'd search for suspended ones mostly but i wouldn't pass up the chance on trying to find some deep girl's also. yep... that's what i'd do. whistle

Well if you're ever up for a new musky challenge, I'd say you have one! I'm too new to musky fishing to spend my time anywhere but the best spots I know. I'm focusing this summer on learning some new shield lakes and maybe even a river or two.

I didn't figure to get any real answers, just wanted to throw it out there for people to think about.

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