Ice Fishing… Choices, Choices, Choices
I guess having a choice is a good thing. Take ice fishing on Lake of the Woods for example. There are many choices one needs to consider.
What part of the lake should I fish? There are three parts of Lake of the Woods. First is the Rainy River. Yes, there will be walleyes in the river when we get ice this year, but we caution anglers about ice fishing the river unless you are with a resort or outfitter, so we are careful to say too much about it. Locals fish it and a few resorts / outfitters. Safety first, both on the river and lake.
The second area that most resorts target is the big open expanse of Big Traverse Bay. This is the main basin of the lake and is targeted by resorts at the mouth of the Rainy River as well as on the south shore of the lake. This is big ice that extends about 30 miles north / south by 25 miles east / west. Resorts and outfitters offer a variety of day house and sleeper fish house rentals. There are ice roads, resorts will transport you out where there are no roads and you have lots of great options.
The third area is the NW Angle. This is the northernmost point of the Continental U.S. and is where the 14,552 islands begin. To travel by land, one must travel through Canada and then back into the U.S. up at the Angle. This means having the proper credentials to enter Canada, a passport, passport card or birth certificate and government issued ID. In addition, a DUI is considered a felony in Canada and unless you have applied for a Queen’s Pardon ahead of time and get cleared by the officer at the border the time you travel across, may be refused entry. If you have the credentials and no DUI, the trip can be worth it for sure. With all of that being said, there is the option of taking the snowmobile trail across the lake or utilizing one of the resorts ice transport up. In this scenario, you are staying in MN.
Stay in a hotel, resort lodge room, cabin or luxurious log cabin / villa? With about 60 lodging facilities up at and around Lake of the Woods, there are options. There is really something for every taste and every budget. Check out our list of lodging options around the lake or check out our lodging availability request tool which sends your request to the lodging facilities in the geographic area in which you choose.
Cook my own meals or eat out? Some do both. Depending upon where you stay, you might have a restaurant and bar right at your resort. If not, there are surely lots of options in very close proximity. Some of the food options are wonderful. Whether you appreciate a hand pressed cheeseburger and fries, a homemade pizza, authentic Italian night or a thick juicy steak with shrimp, there are options.
Bring my own fish house, rent a day house or rent a sleeper fish house? There are lots of options. A number of resorts plow ice roads in which you can bring your own equipment after paying a road fee.
Some prefer to rent a fish house for the day. The house is all set up in an area where the guides believe the fish will be. The holes are drilled and the heat on. There are no worries with snow drifts, slush, cracks, mobility. The work has been done for you and you spend your time fishing. In some cases you drive your own vehicle to the door of your fish house and come and go as you please. In other cases, the resort will transport you to the door of your house with no ice roads around. In most cases, ice guides check on you throughout the day to make sure everything is going well. At around sunset, they pick you and your fish up and transport you back to the resort just in time for happy hour. Some will actually clean your fish as well.
There are some ice anglers who really enjoy a sleeper fish house. A number of resorts and outfitters offer sleeper houses for rent. Usually set up with a couple of bunk beds, people enjoy fishing all day and even have the line in at night. Not known as a night bite lake, anglers will pull eelpout and an occasional walleye from the depths at night. Imagine waking up early in the morning in a warm, cozy fish house, having a hot cup of coffee watching your electronics as the bottom starts to come to life. Others enjoy the spectacle mother nature can put on. Not only is this icescape beautiful during the day, the night sky is normally lit up with so many stars, brighter than you have ever seen. Milky ways. The brilliance of the night sky is awe inspiring partly because of how far north you are and partly because of no light pollution. The scenery can be spectacular. Ice fishing up at Lake of the Woods is a tradition for many.
Whether you are a hard core angler and running around the lake looking for big fish or you are a beginner and maybe have never tried ice fishing before, one thing this area offers is choices!