Ice fishing wrap-up on the most addictive of lakes
Minnesotans are blessed with more lakes than an angler can honestly fish in the span of a lifetime. The diversity of waters across the state provide ample opportunity to experience almost any kind of freshwater fishing on this continent.
There simply is no need to fish such an out of the way lake that makes up the northernmost point of the contiguous 48 states. Lake of the Woods is a long distance away from all but a handful of Minnesotans, and unless one lives within 20 miles of the lake, there are plenty of awesome lakes closer.
Or so I thought until my first fishing trip on Lake of the Woods about a decade ago.
Now, I can't wait to get back. I dream of fishing the lake. I contemplated moving up there for a year to try and fish every different species available in the various parts of the lake.
Lake of the Woods is a gold mine of fishing opportunity. There are plenty of eater walleyes and saugers to feed a family every night of the week and enough trophy walleye sto provide a legitimate shot at breaking the 30-inch mark.
Trophies abound for other species as well including muskie, smallmouth bass, pike, jumbo perch and sturgeon. Rumor has it that trophy crappie and bluegill swim the waters of the lake, and the location of those species is probably the last great secret on this most impressive body of water.
It is certainly out of the way for most Minnesotans, and that's why I never seemed to make it up there. Great fishing was always closer.
Now, I'll drive past some of my most favorite lakes to fish Lake of the Woods in either the summer or winter. The Minnesota waters are a great place to start and provide more than enough fishing year round.
Armed with a passport, as I've been for over a year now, so much more of the lake opens up. Most of it is within Ontario but the part I fished was Buffalo Bay in Manitoba. My group was tip-up fishing for big pike and we caught (and released) seven pike over 40 inches as well as plenty of three-footers or better.
Do it yourself but save enough money to hire a guide for at least part of a day to learn a few tips, tricks, and locations. Camp in one of the state parks or stay in a plush resort along the lake – whatever suits your style and fishing companions.
Bring your camera and plan on photographing these trophies, then releasing them. Because Lake of the Woods is massive and out of the way, it withstands the fishing pressure. The lake is a reminder of what our other massive state waters used to be like so it's both a destination and a source of inspiration.