Social Distancing… Lake of the Woods Style

Resort and hotels have welcomed guests back!  Charter boats are running again.  I think it is safe to say the times we are living through are unprecedented.  After a number of temporary closures throughout the State of Minnesota, resorts and hotels up at Lake of the Woods have resumed operations for the summer with a variety of well thought out safety measures in place.  There is nowhere better to practice social distancing than out on Lake of the Woods enjoying what the area is famous for, world class fishing.  Guided and charter fishing are back.  Fish frys are back.  Smiles are back.  Traditions are back.

Social distancing Lake of the Woods styleFishing has started out excellent.  Fishing has started out HOT in true Lake of the Woods style.  Limits of walleyes and saugers are coming in on a regular basis.  Known as  The Walleye Capital of the World, people flock here to take advantage of the big schools of these delicious eating fish.

Most anglers are jigging with a jig and a minnow, drifting with crawler harnesses or as the water warms into June, will start trolling crankbaits.

Bring your own boat or enjoy a guide or charter.  Some bring their own boats and are quite self sufficient.  Rent a cabin or a room at an area hotel or resort and have at it.  There are nice boat ramps in the area.   Local bait and tackle are in abundance.  Hotels and resorts have  fish cleaning areas.  Either you can bring your own food or there are a good number of resorts that have delicious meals in a variety of settings.Charter boat, Lake of the Woods

If you don’t have a boat or prefer to ensure your odds on reeling in a bunch of fish, guides and charter boats are also available.  The advantages are many.  You don’t have to pull your boat up.  Virtually everything is taken care of for you.  The only thing you have to decide is what to wear and what to eat.  Rods, reels, tackle, bait, boat, navigation and putting you on good fish is all taken care of.  The boats have longer range and can access more good fishing areas.  They are also big and consequently comfortable.

Area resorts and hotels have implemented a variety of safety precautions for all parts of their businesses.   Here are just a handful of changes resorts and hotels have implemented for this year’s fishing season.

Specialized cleaning and disinfectingLodging industry associations have done a nice job of sharing best practices known throughout the world in cleaning and disinfecting for COVID – 19.  Consequently, properties around the lake have implemented new cleaning standards to ensure guests are entering safe environments in their cabin or hotel room.  In some cases, this demands more time, different cleaning agents, additional laundering and just a different way of doing things to provide sterile conditions.

For some, this means public areas are cleaned, in many cases, numerous times throughout the day.  Some resorts are taking special measures to clean rental, guide and charter boats, rods and reels, nets, bait containers, fish cleaning areas and other surfaces used in a day of fishing that people could be touching when charters and guided fishing are rolling again.

Remote Check In and Communication.  Measures have been taken for social distancing as well as simply eliminating human to human contact when possible.  Many resorts are doing check-ins and other communication via email or over the phone.  That might include taking payment, discussing fish patterns, when and where to meet your guide or charter, etc. 

In many cases, guests don’t even need to enter the lobby, but rather continue right to their room or cabin that staff has unlocked and ready.  If you prefer to go into the lobby to say hello and check in, social distancing guidelines are in place for safety.

Altering check in areas and flow.  For some resorts, changing the way people flow into and through the resort for check-ins has been altered.  Making sure there are only a couple of people at a time in the office and eliminating the need for guests to be in small confined areas together are just a couple of the tweaks resorts have changed as of recent.

fish fry lake of the woodsMeal Plans.  Meal prep has taken on a different look with kitchen facilities and employees implementing precautions in meal prep and distribution.  Resorts are adapting nicely with allowable seating at the resort as well as pick up and in some cases, delivery available.

For those who want to sit back, relax and enjoy a good sit down meal right at the resort, some of the most beautiful views in Minnesota await you overlooking the Rainy River or Lake of the Woods await you.  Resorts have taken measures to address social distancing by making sure tables are spaced apart properly and other safety measures have been implemented to ensure a safe dining experience.

Fish cleaning table, Lake of the WoodsSocial Distancing in Fish Cleaning Houses.  Fish cleaning houses are a staple at The Walleye Capital of the World.  Depending upon the size of each fish cleaning area, resorts / hotels are implementing social distancing guidelines to keep anglers apart.  In addition, they are working hard on new COVID – 19 cleaning protocols within the fish cleaning areas.

As some things are very different, some things will remain the same.  Minnesota traditions of catching walleyes, hanging out with friends and loved ones and of course fish frys are happening again up at Lake of the Woods as it has for generations.

We encourage guests to communicate with the resort and hotel you are staying at ahead of time and do everything possible to be safe.  Feedback so far has been very positive and people once again are starting to get out and make memories.  Come check out social distancing, Lake of the Woods style!


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