Traveling to the NW Angle Across Lake of the Woods
Traveling to the NW Angle can be done a number of ways. Lake of the Woods is a big lake. Across the water from the south shore up to the NW Angle, it is a 35-40 mile trip depending upon where you depart. In the open water months, there are typically three ways to travel up. Some prefer driving up which includes a short stretch through Canada. Some actually fly up via float plane. And finally some prefer to travel by boat across the lake.
As long as the U.S. / Canada border is closed, flying up via float plane or boating across are the two options available. As most don’t have access to a float plane, boating across is the most realistic for many. Traveling to the NW Angle across Lake of the Woods can be a fun experience but it is vital to know your options and have a game plan that includes “safety first” as one of the criteria.
The first question it is good to ask is, “What are all of our options in traveling to the NW Angle during the border shutdown?” One option is to use a passenger service. Sportsman’s Lodge offers (for a fee) a passenger service across the lake on one of their charter boats. Many who use a guide or rent a boat up at a NW Angle resort are taking advantage of this option this year anyway as to get their NW Angle vacation in.
Another option is to put your people and gear aboard a charter boat and follow behind the charter in your own boat. This not only can make the ride much more comfortable for passengers but also lightens the load of your own boat making it more seaworthy. It also helps that a big charter boat is handling the navigation and breaking down the waves for you across the lake.
There are some guides up at the Angle who are planning on picking up guests on the south end, weather depending which makes traveling to the NW Angle that much easier. Communicate with your resort for all of the options.
Considerations if boating across on your own. Traveling across on your own can be a very viable option or a “not so good” of option depending upon a number of things. Here are a few considerations.
- Is your boat seaworthy enough to cross 35 miles of big water?
- How reliable is your motor?
- How experienced is the captain?
- Do you have flexibility in your schedule if weather is not good?
- How seaworthy are your passengers on the boat?
- Do you have reliable electronics and do you know how to use them?
- is your bilge pump working?
Safety Equipment and considerations.
- Is everyone wearing an approved personal flotation device (PFD)
- Have you checked all necessary safety equipment? (Fire extinguisher, throw cushion, marine band radio, cell phone with portable battery charger, flares, whistle, etc)
- Do you navigation lights work? Do you have a spotlight or bright flashlight?
- Have you contacted the resort or people at your final destination and communicated your travel plans?
- Have you mapped out your route?
- Where are you going to put in and depart from?
- Have you lightened up your load for the boat to be safe?
- Is your gear in waterproof bags or containers?
- Do you have Navionics on your phone as a backup for navigation?
- Have you checked the weather forecast?
Where can I launch and park my truck and trailer? There are a number of resorts who have graciously offered to allow you to park your truck and trailer at their resort if you are traveling up to a NW Angle resort. It is a good idea to contact these resorts and communicate your plans to make sure you know where to launch your boat and where they would like you to park your vehicle.
South Shore Parking Options…
–Arnesen’s Rocky Point. Located on the SW corner of the lake, Arnesen’s has a new harbor, a boat ramp and plenty of land for parking your rig.
–Wigwam Resort. Located on Wheeler’s Point, Wigwam is a couple of blocks away from the Wheeler’s Point public access.
–Border View Lodge. Border View Lodge is also located in the Wheeler’s Point area and is right next to the Wheeler’s Point public access.
Traveling to the NW Angle is a very special experience. This year for many, the normal way to travel up is going to be different. Once there, the few extra hurdles will be well worth it. With that being said, we all have to error on safety first. If you have any questions on traveling across the lake, we encourage you to contact your favorite resort or you can certainly contact us at Lake of the Woods Tourism as well. Have fun, enjoy the adventure, be safe.