OPEN WATER FISHING
Even if you’re a veteran angler, Lake of the Woods will provide some of the best open water fishing opportunities you have had in your life. The lake is renowned as a world-class fishery providing hundreds of thousands of pounds of walleye annually. In addition to the tasty walleye, Lake of the Woods has sauger, smallmouth and largemouth bass, muskie, jumbo perch, sturgeon and plenty of northern pike.
Lake of the Woods is known as The Walleye Capital of the World. There are literally millions of walleyes and in this body of water, they grow big.
Although walleyes get most of the attention, the lake is excellent for pike, smallmouth bass, muskies, sturgeon, jumbo perch and crappies.
Visitors not only enjoy world class fishing, many rave about some of the fresh walleye fish frys in the area. Resorts have perfected their recipes for batter and tartar sauce over the years to make this a culinary delight!
One of the great open water fishing opportunities up at Lake of the Woods is jumping on one of the many resort charter boats. These boats are big, comfortable and typically offer a restroom.
Everything is provided on a charter boat. A licensed Coast Guard Captain will lead you on a fishing adventure to where the fish are. Working with fellow guides around the lake enables guides to better track fish movement and provide a quality fishing experience.
Licensed charter captain, rods and reels, tackle, bait and all equipment to reel in a big one is included on the fishing trip. Guides will even clean your fish.
A visitor really only needs to make two decisions in a day, what to wear and what to eat. It really takes the guess work out of fishing providing a relaxing and successful trip.
Depending upon the resort, most charter boats will accommodate up to six anglers plus the Captain. Some resorts will combine groups to allow for smaller groups on the big boats. Whether you are going solo or as a couple or maybe you have a group of six, there typically is a spot for you to enjoy the charter fishing experience.
NW ANGLE GUIDE BOATS
Many NW Angle resorts have charter boats. Smaller walleye boats for guided walleye and muskie trips are quite popular at “the angle”. Boat rentals are also available at select resorts.
If hopping on a boat with a guide – gear, tackle, bait, and all equipment will be provided. (check with the resort you book at for what’s provided as some do not)
When much of the state is closed to fishing for walleyes and pike, up at Lake of the Woods it’s Game On! The walleye season extends through April 14th each year.
This is prime time to fish the Rainy River as the ice is disappearing and the walleyes are swimming up in preparation for the spawn. Large numbers of fish and some monsters are possible. There is a tradition in these parts tracking the open water in the river and dropping that boat in for the first time of the season. Results are often times incredible.
The Rainy River also is famous for it’s Lake Sturgeon fishery. These fish live to over 100 years old and reach weights of over 100 lbs. Arguably, the river and 4 Mile Bay offer the top sturgeon fishing in the Midwest.
Lake Sturgeon are very plentiful in the Rainy River. When an angler catches one, it is often times the largest freshwater fish they have caught in their life.
We encourage anglers to use heavier gear as not to tire out these massive fish too much.
There are both catch and release seasons for sturgeon and a “keep” season for sturgeon where anglers can keep one fish per calendar year between 45 – 50 inches. A sturgeon tag is required to keep a sturgeon during the keep season.
May is an incredible month to fish The Walleye Capital of the World.
Most years, there are still walleyes in the Rainy River, left over from their spawning ritual that takes place in April.
Many walleyes have made their move back into Lake of the Woods by the mid May Minnesota fishing opener.
Walleyes are normally still close to shore and can be caught all across the south shore and certainly up at the NW Angle.
There are many ways to catch them in May, but a jig and minnow is still super effective. Anchor up in an area where the walleyes and saugers are and be ready.
Certainly, some anglers are trolling crankbaits or drifting with spinners with a minnow, leech or crawler with success as well.
Pike are active in the colder waters and anglers wanting to target them will find some in back bays and some in the lake. Casting shorelines with spinnerbaits, spoons or crankbaits is an effective way to catch them. Trolling crankbaits is also an effective way to cover water and catch a lot of fish.
June marks the beginning of summer and as water temps warm, the fish are really getting active. Jigging for walleyes is still a go to technique, but drifting with spinners and crawlers or trolling crankbaits are techniques being used more and more.
Northern pike are roaming weed lines and their feeding intensity increases with the warming waters. Crankbaits, spoons, and spinner baits can all be productive.
Although most anglers will be fishing the lake during the summer months, the Rainy River holds good numbers of walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike and sturgeon all year long.
With little traffic and incredible beauty, the river is also a good backup on days when the wind is stirring up the lake.
Kayakers find the small confines of the river ideal to work shorelines for a mixed bag of fish.
For trophy walleyes the time is now. Water temps are peaking, moving fish to mid-lake mud flats and rock reef areas. Walleyes can be found both in shallow on rocks or deep on the flats. Regardless, the big fish are vulnerable and can provide an impressive experience. Bait fishing over reefs with jigs, three way rigs, bottom bouncers, or spinner rigs are proven methods. If trolling in the mud flats, try using downriggers, planer boards, lead core etc., with crank baits. Walleyes can be found in deeper waters of the Rainy River by trolling deep divers. All methods can produce during this traditional trophy season.
Muskie anglers know Lake of the Woods is an absolute world class muskie fishery.
Anglers travel from all over the U.S. to fish this muskie rich fishery.
The lake is set up so nicely for prime muskie habitat, a muskie gene pool that produces big fish and of course, abundant forage.
Lake of the Woods has over 65,000 miles of shoreline with 14,552 islands. This produces endless waters to pursue these predators. Islands, sunken islands, saddles, neck down areas, thousands of bays, current and transition areas all amongst world class scenery makes this fishing experience special.
The majority of muskie anglers are catch and release. Many resorts, especially at the NW Angle specialize in muskie guides. These passionate muskie experts keep a good handle on fish movement, lure preference, colors and areas muskies are prevalent. It is also a great way to save time really learning the nuances of becoming a better muskie angler.
Fall fishing is some of the best fishing of the year. The tough part is deciding whether to go hunting or fishing. The walleyes up at the NW Angle, on Big Traverse Bay (which is the main open body of water) and in the Rainy River are starting to put the feed bag as the water cools.
There is typically a run of walleyes up the Rainy River as they are chasing the emerald shiners upstream on their annual fall spawning run. This fishing can not only be productive, it is some of the best scenery of the year.
Charter boats are available this time of the year and many anglers will bring their own boats and drop them in at one of our many river access points. Sit back, soak in the fall colors, enjoy the migration and hang on tight to your fishing rod!
If you love muskies, the NW Angle is home base to some of the best muskie fishing on the planet. As the waters cool, muskie fishing heats up. Some anglers are still casting shorelines, some are trolling and others are using big suckers. Whatever technique you bring, there are a lot of fish in the system and good numbers of fish over 50 inches!
To order additional information about Lake of the Woods, lodging, fishing, ice fishing, hunting and other outdoor opportunities, Click Here or call 1-218-634-1174.