Nicole Stone is an influencer, fishing fanatic, and Polar Kraft staffer since 2020 and will be doing a Panfish 101 series this spring and also has some tips for giant walleye on the Rainy River.
The panfish series will cover a variety of in-depth topics including basic how-to's like choosing gear, how to locate fish, electronics, and tactics. “I’m looking to help new anglers start targeting sunfish and crappie,” she said. “Maybe a few experienced anglers will learn a few new tricks, too.” The series will be featured on YouTube @NicoleStoneOutdoors and on Polar Kraft social media channels in upcoming weeks. For anglers looking to plan a trip for this fall or next spring for huge walleye, Stone has some tips on fishing the Rainy River on the Canadian and US borders. “The Rainy River usually marks the start of my open water season” she said. "The river opens up much sooner than the lakes around where I am in northern Minnesota.
It is the "go-to" for many people up north who are just as excited as me to dig out the boat.” Getting out early isn’t the only reason Stone loves the Rainy River. “It's also that it becomes congregated with pre-spawn trophies funneling out of Lake of the Woods,” she said.
“It's one of the easiest times to target these fish and really one of your best chances at a giant.” When fishing the Rainy, her favorite technique is dragging jigs. “I often throw on a 1/4 or 3/8 oz jig, depending on the depth/current of the river, and a soft plastic paddle tail,” she said. “It's a highly effective way to fish up there and a lot of fun. Sometimes I'll swap it out for an under-spin jig and dead shiner. Both have landed me some of the biggest fish of my life on that system.” The 2023 spring river season has ended for this year and will be post spawn by the time it reopens in mid-May, but it was another great year for Stone. “Dragging jigs landed us a lot of quality fish this time, with a few in the mid 20's, but plenty of anglers did catch their fair share around 30-inches,”she said. So remember to check out Stone’s panfish series this spring, and the Rainy next spring or later this fall. “I will be bringing the Polar Kraft back up there this October when they run the river for shiners for another chance at a GIANT,” she said.