“Fairly Reliable” Woody sends live crappie report from Rainy Lake

I just had a message from Barry “Woody” Woods, who was inducted over the weekend into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis.

Somewhere on Rainy Lake, “Fairly Reliable” Woody is catching crappies stretching the width of his snowmobile seat on this sunny April afternoon.

Woody, best known as the proprietor of Woody’s Rainy Lake Resort and Woody’s Fairly Reliable Guide Service in Ranier, Minn., is somewhere on Rainy Lake this afternoon enjoying the sun and balmy 15-degree temperatures.

Thanks to the magic of technology, Woody was able to send me a report, including a photo of a big Rainy Lake crappie that nearly spanned the width of the seat on his snowmobile.

“Beautiful day!” Woody writes. “Hammering crappies as I write! I will post photos later!”

Spring is going to be late in the North Country this year — obviously — and the Rainy River, which many years is open to boat fishing by now, isn’t even open to Birchdale, Minn., yet. Last I heard, open water still was about 65 miles from Wheeler’s Point, where the Rainy empties into Lake of the Woods.

I’ll be surprised if the river is open to Baudette, Minn., by April 14, which is the last day of walleye fishing on Minnesota-Ontario border waters.

On the plus side, there’s still plenty of ice fishing ahead for those anglers who aren’t tired of staring at a hole in the ice.

“This ice won’t be gone until May,” Woody said. “The best ice fishing is ahead.”

With a bit of luck, maybe there’s even a crappie or two up there with my name on it.

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