Ice Fishing and NW Angle Ice Road on Midwest Outdoors
The plans were made months ago. Once we had word the business owners up at the NW Angle were taking matters into their own hands and constructing the NW Angle Guest Ice Road, Greg Jones of Midwest Outdoors and myself were on the phone making plans on how to shoot a show and get the message out. So a few weeks ago when the ice road first opened up, we made the trek on the road up to the Angle and once again, we were not disappointed.
Our destination on this given trip was Sunset Lodge on Oak Island. The plan was to film the adventure of driving on the ice road starting at Springsteel Resort just south of the Canadian border and proceed north on the NW Angle Guest Ice Road to the Angle.
After stopping a number of times along the way to take some pics, record a video and fly the drone, we were on our way to the land portion of the Angle.
Heading up, things wouldn’t be right if we didn’t stop at the Northernmost Point Buoy located between Young’s Bay Resort and Jerry’s Bar and Restaurant. This is where we decided to film our open. With daylight running out fast, we did a couple of different takes and like most TV shows, leaned on the videographer and video editor Dave to sort things out on the back end.
With the hard work of Dave to turn around the show with editing over the weekend, the show was sent to Midwest Outdoors for airing. In most cases, this show would have aired next year to pre-empt the next upcoming ice fishing season. In this case, the show was put in the loop immediately and aired in just a few week due to the unique circumstances of the border closure and the NW Angle Guest Ice Road.
Accommodations were very nice, overlooking the docks and incoming ice road into Sunset Lodge. All of this and only a 2 minute walk to the resort where there is a full menu and bar amongst a beautiful northwoods feel.
The next day was a day of fishing. We were set up on some shallower structure, in about 22 feet. Fish have been moving through this particular area well. The optimism was high. Even though our goal was to film a TV show, there is still that excitement and anticipation every time we drop a line into Lake of the Woods. You just never know what could happen.
We have learned to not drop our lines until the videographer is ready. Too many times we get hooked up when the camera is not rolling. On this occasion, we patiently put on our mics, waited for Dave to adjust the light as it was still a bit dark outside and finally, we were ready.
The fish were there immediately, to the point I couldn’t get down a second line. Each time we caught a fish, as our goal was obviously to make a good show, we had to chat about an aspect of what we were doing, showing or wanting to communicate. This ate up valuable time during a hardcore morning bite.
We caught some nice walleyes and saugers. The action was hot and heavy. After a while when the sun started getting a bit higher in the sky, the bite just stopped. Literally stopped. 100 miles per hour to nothing just like that.
While the action was slow, we had the chance to have Ronnie Davidson, one of the owners of Sunset Lodge along with Travis and Samantha Palmquist, fly very low right over our fish house a couple of times. Ronnie is known to fly up to the lake and land in front of the resort on the ice or on the water during the summer months.
During the day, just like all of the customers, the ice guides checked on us. They check on fishing, see if there is anything we needed or they could do for us and then go on to their to do list.
We picked at a few more walleyes and saugers up throughout the day along with some tulibees. Finally when the evening hit, action picked up again and we finished up with some nice walleye action and just as fast as it had started, it was over.
Some of the fish houses were positioned over deep mud. They didn’t have the good morning / evening bite we did, but they had more consistent fishing throughout the day. Other anglers fishing out of Sunset’s houses in different areas on structure fared even better than we did. One house had 16 walleyes caught in the last hour and half of the day. That’s what Lake of the Woods can do.
The trip home on first the island ice road and then the NW Angle Guest Ice Road was again easy and enjoyable.
It was a business trip, but like anytime we go to the Angle, good things happen and memories are made.
With the border being shut down since March, 2020, it feels good to be around hard working small business people who are friendly and down to earth. Simply trying to make a living caught between two countries during a pandemic.
Enjoy the show!