Bringing Your Own Boat? Options When the Wind Blows

Bringing your own boat to Lake of the Woods is a great option.  Most days, you can get out on the main lake called Big Traverse Bay and fish to your heart’s content.  There are some days, however, when Mother Nature decides to add some wind to the mix which can really stir up this big body of water.  On days when it blows and you either don’t feel comfortable or your crew doesn’t want to bounce around in the waves, consider some other very quality fishing options.  Check out these ideas when the wind blows on LOW.

Fish the leeward shoreline

Shoreline structure, when the wind blowsIf there is a south wind, fishing the south shore, for example, is a great option.  Basically, you are fishing close enough to shore that the waves don’t have a chance to build.  In some cases, you may not be able to get way out on the lake, but as most anglers who fish these waters know, there are normally some good schools of walleyes to be found on shoreline structure or perhaps taking advantage of forage adjacent to shore.

Just for fun, use your Navionics map on your phone or even jump in your boat and zoom in along the south shore.  There are many areas with great structure that do not receive a lot of attention.  This does not mean there aren’t good fish present.

This concept also holds true while on the Rainy River or up at the NW Angle.  Many options.

Fish the Bays

Zippel Bay

There are a number of bays that hold good fish.  At times of the year, that includes walleyes.  In fact, just this week, I had the chance to take some media fishing on a windy day.  We went to Zippel Bay.  The waves were small.  The area is absolutely beautiful.  There were birds and wildlife around.  Much of the backwater areas had zero traffic and lots of water.  We ended up casting for a while and eventually trolling crankbaits.  Our catch for just a few hours of fishing?  A number of pike, a keeper walleye, a 25 inch walleye and a wonderful day on the water.

Four Mile Bay

Lighthouse Gap on Lake of the Woods, Navionics MapAnother bay to consider on the south shore is Four Mile Bay, which is the size of an inland lake.  It is located between the mouth of the Rainy River and the mouth of Bostic Creek.  This area is blocked by Big Traverse Bay by Pine Island and is much calmer than the big lake.

With good weed growth, lots of forage and moving water through parts of the bay, this area is home to a lot of fish such as walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike and sturgeon, just to name a few.

You can fish various reed patches, submerged weeds, edges of the river or creek.  The options are numerous.

Bostic Bay

Another great bay is Bostic Bay.  This is the area of Bostic Creek where up to where it enters Lake of the Woods referred to as the Morris Point gap.  At times of the year, good walleyes live in this area.  All year pike and bass are prevalent.

Fish the Rainy River

rainy-river-aerial-viewFrom the mouth of the Rainy River upstream through Baudette east to Birchdale is all navigable water with a boat.  That is 42 miles of fishable Rainy River.  Along the way are rock piles, current breaks, holes, edges, weed edges, bridges, feeder rivers, backwater bays and so much more.

The Rainy River holds fish all year long.  Walleyes, sauger, pike, smallmouth bass and lots of sturgeon.  There are other fish as well, but these are the most sought after.

The river is small water.  Even when the wind blows, small boats can navigate it’s waters without issues.

I remember a friend talking about a blow day where some of his party went to an early happy hour.  In the meantime, he and his son hit the river.  They worked shorelines in front of the resorts and were surprised to catch walleyes, bass and pike.  He said it was an incredible day of fishing he never would have suspected.

At a sportshow, I spoke to someone who meets his college buddies up at LOW each August for a fishing trip.  Most come and fish on a charter boat.  He brings his private boat and while everyone hits the lake for walleyes, he enjoys taking a few buddies up the river.  They do a “milk run”, casting the many feeder rivers and bays on the Rainy River.  He said they almost always end up with a mixed bag and usually catch a pike between 15-20 lbs.!  Good fishing, especially for a river that gets most of it’s attention in the spring and fall.

Fish the NW Angle

NW Angle Map, NavionicsWith the many islands in this part of Lake of the Woods, the water is much smaller.  There are still decent sized stretches of open water in some areas, but having the ability to fish behind an island when the wind blows is a big benefit.

There 14,552 islands on this lake that shares its waters between the U.S. and Canada.  A multispecies of fish are just about everywhere and each island seems to be holding something.  Lots and lots of options in these parts.

Jump on a Charter Boat

The advantage of jumping on a charter is these are big boats designed to handle big water driven by a licensed charter captain.  These guides are skilled at navigating big water and know where to fish that might be more comfortable.  Maybe it wasn’t what you were planning, but spur of the moment, can be a good option.  Many of the resorts will combine small groups on a charter that typically holds up to 6 anglers.

If you bring your boat, or are considering bringing your boat up to Lake of the Woods, it is good to have options.  If it is a blow day and you don’t feel comfortable or simply don’t want to battle the big waves, consider the many great fishing options.  In many cases, anglers are happily surprised.  Charter boat on plane, Lake of the Woods


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Lodging around Lake of the Woods and Rainy River



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