OAK ISLAND, on Lake of the Woods — The fish did what muskies often do, appearing beside the boat seemingly out of nowhere Monday afternoon, just minutes into Rich Thorpe’s muskie excursion on the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods.
The Arctic blast that has descended on the Northland is just what the doctor ordered if you’re a Lake of the Woods ice fishing enthusiast or one of the many resorts or outfitters who cater to those enthusiasts.
Crankbaits or spinner-crawler rigs continue to produce walleyes in 30 to 32 feet of water from the Lighthouse Gap to Morris Point Gap and up to Garden Island. On the main-lake reefs, pink or gold jigs and spinners are a good bet for walleyes as well.
Anglers are pulling crankbaits, crawlers and jigging on the main basin in 29 to 32 feet of water and hooking walleyes. Pods of walleyes also are being found at the Lighthouse Gap and Morris Point Gap, west to Rocky Point and north to Garden Island.
Limits of walleyes continue to be taken with spinner rigs and crawlers in 30 to 32 feet of water in Big Traverse Bay. Anglers jigging and pulling crankbaits are finding schools of active walleyes scattered from the Lighthouse Gap to Rocky Point up to Garden Island.
Trolling crankbaits with downriggers, lead-core line or three-way rigs in deep water throughout the main-lake basin has produced excellent walleye action. Pulling a crawler and spinner around the reefs and structure also has produced limits of walleyes.
There’s something about fresh walleye that tastes better when it’s surrounded by a lake. No wonder, then, that the traditional shore lunch — fried fish, spuds and onions and beans — is one of the most popular parts of a guided fishing trip for many anglers.
A more persistent breeze would have been welcome — that’s not something you say every day on Lake of the Woods — and we could have used a few more clouds to provide relief from the relentless sun. But those are minor quibbles when the prospect of a day on the big lake unfolds on a watery horizon that extends like a giant mirror in every direction.
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