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Lake Of The Woods Fishing Report

On the south end... Local resorts, outfitters and ice guides are working hard constantly plowing ice roads, grooming trails for bombardiers and track rigs and moving fish houses in an effort to stay on the walleyes and saugers. Ice fishing is in full swing and will be through March.

Some anglers are being rewarded with trophy walleyes over 30 inches along with the variety of sizes we see this time of year and that are living in the lake. Saugers are present in good numbers also, adding to a good fish fry.

Depths vary depending upon outfitter and where they are fishing, but as a rule, 30-34 feet has been the norm. Some anglers are finding some nice walleyes shallower during the morning / evening bite in 16 - 19 feet.

Working the one - two punch, jigging one line and having the second line with a live minnow under a bobber or watching your rod tip for anything unusual while it sits on a bucket.

The popular colors in the stained waters of Lake of the Woods are gold, glow and brighter colors. This past week, orange was working well.

A mixed bag as usual on Lake of the Woods. Walleyes, saugers, jumbo perch, eelpout (burbot), pike, tullibees and even a few sturgeon. This week, a whitefish was even caught. They are present in the lake but not common on the south end as much.

On the Rainy River... The golden hour, or morning and evening bite remains the best for those ice fishing the river for walleyes and saugers.

Some sturgeon anglers, fishing during the overnight hours, have been catching some big fish.
Giving up sleep for some giants!

Ice conditions can vary on the river as there is current, work through a resort or outfitter for safety.

Up at the NW Angle... A week with some great walleye fishing up at the Angle. Resorts are spread out throughout this island area targeting both structure and deep mud adjacent to structure.

Typically, a higher percentage of walleyes over saugers in this part of the lake. Other fish mixed in as on the south shore.

Driving through Canada to the Angle no longer requires vaccinations or the use of the ArriveCan App.

For those looking to access the Angle while avoiding customs, snowmobiling across the lake on the marked trails or utilizing the Lake of the Woods Passenger (bombardier) Service are best options.

Fish houses are out through March. A complete list of lodging, fish house rentals and sleeper fish house rentals at



Big Dogs, Little Dogs

Retrievers of all sizes can get the job done, but some are better in certain situations than others

by Tom Davis

There has been a recent trend toward using smaller dogs to retrieve waterfowl. This includes not only smaller breeds, such as Boykin spaniels and English cocker spaniels, but also smaller individuals from more traditional retrieving breeds, such as Labs, goldens, and Chessies.

Dave Rorem, the Hall of Fame retriever trainer from northern Minnesota, has kept an eye on these changes over the years. “The dogs you saw in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s,” he says, “tended to be substantially bigger than the dogs you see today—both gun dogs and field trial dogs. But as smaller dogs began to have more success in field trials from the late ’80s to the early 2000s, some breeders started going that direction, and you see dogs of all sizes today.”

Lifelong waterfowler Bruce Deadman, who lives in Wisconsin but hunts extensively on the US and Canadian prairies, recently switched from Labs to an English cocker. “I’d been impressed by the cockers I’d seen,” he relates. “And as I was in a general downsizing mode I decided that a smaller package was the better way to go.”

Deadman’s cocker, Carson, has been a revelation. “When I got a cocker,” he explains, “what I thought I was giving up was a dog that could retrieve geese. Well, I haven’t given up anything. Granted, Carson’s big for a cocker—he weighs 40 pounds—but retrieving a Canada goose is no problem for him. And on snows he’s spectacular. He’s so fast that he beats my friends’ Labs to the birds! Now, he’s not going to do 250-yard retrieves, and while he’s a strong swimmer, I’d be cautious about sending him into a river with heavy current. But for the kind of hunting I’m doing at this point in my life, he’s everything I need a dog to be.”

Still, for the birds some hunters pursue, the places where they hunt, and the time of year they do it, a larger, more powerful dog makes sense. Bruce Posey, of Billings, Montana, is one such hunter. “I like big Labs,” he says. “And by big I mean a dog weighing 90 to 120 pounds. I do a lot of hunting for large Canada geese, and a big dog can pick up a heavy goose with no problem. A smaller dog ends up dragging it in by a wing. I also do a lot of hunting in snow as deep as two or even three feet and, again, big dogs are able to handle that a lot better than small dogs. It doesn’t bother them at all.”

River hunting is another situation in which Posey believes bigger dogs have the edge. “When I send my dogs into a river for a retrieve,” he explains, “they’re able to power through the current without drifting downstream.”

One of the most famous Labs of all time, Cork of Oakwood Lane, tipped the scales well north of 110 pounds. Rorem has a vivid memory of standing next to Cork when he (Rorem) was six years old—and looking him straight in the eye.

“I’ve never forgotten that,” Rorem laughs. “He was a huge, gorgeous animal, and I’ve always liked that kind of big, powerful, stallion-type dog. Having said that, though, I think that with a few exceptions, size doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s between a dog’s ears and what’s in his heart.”

Mary Howley, the legendary breeder of Labs and the owner of Candlewood Kennels in Portage, Wisconsin, agrees. She is emphatic that size “is mostly a matter of personal preference. The qualities that really matter are desire, heart, intelligence, and eagerness to please. As long as you have those, you’re going to have a dog that’s capable of doing pretty much whatever you want him to do.”



Red Lake



Jan 30 2023

Will just start by saying for some reason this coming week has always been a little slower for rentals? At this time we have 3 houses still open, north dakota,montana, and utah. the fishing was real good this past week.
 The past week was another busy busy week here on the shores of upper red lake. We had 2 groups rolling in thursday  Nick,Deeann,Aron and Char were checked into north dakota ,. Asley and her 2 fiends form Oklahoma which had never been on the ice arrived late afternoon. They were a little nerveis being the first time driving out on a frozen lake.
 Ashly had also booked them a snowbear trip friday morning, so they were in for an adventure. Then throw in a couple inches of snow followed by some gusty wind friday. They caught a couple fish Thursday night with the best window from 5pm to 9pm. Remember how many a few fish are or how many a couple are or some from my previous writing? Friday morning their snowbear trip got cancelled, so there fishing was right where they were. Friday night the action was again around 5 to 9 they with quite a few more fish caught. A couple were even the elusive yet still catchable upper red lake walleyes.
 Nick and his crew were here for 3 nights. The action was super slow during the day but each evening the fishing picked up quite a bit. We even started seeing some good action at 1 am and 4 am..
 Marlo got 7 nice walleyes thursday morning. Nicks crew went home with some nice fish. More than a few?
 Steff, Bill, Reed, and Brandon in Florida went home with 40 yes 40 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake a couple walleyes.
 Montana had shell chick with her grandchildren Kaden and Chasity, Jonny boy got them all set up as the house was not rented. Him and Heather/Featheralso stayed to fish with them. They had a blast with Kaden 6 years old caught 2 walleyes back-to-back his first fish ever he nicknamed himself fisher. They went home with a couple walleyes and a few elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies. WINK WINK.
 Willam and Brian were in California they both had livescopes. They ate some fish and took home 10, plus released another bunch. They also saw what they were assumed walleyes but had a hard time getting them to commit.
 Alaska had horrible fishing friday night with Jim and his son. Plus, we had some issue with the 30 lb propane not flowing. They only landed 2 fish, so our plan was to move their house saturday after breakfest. Jim's brother John showed up with 2 boys and they got all set up on the new spot.  They ended up doing much much better landing fish all night long. They took home a bucket and half of fish with the majority being elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies.
 Colorado had Kayla and her friends they kept about a dozen fish with perch, walleye and crappie. I think they had the worst of the rentals as far as fishing.
 We also moved Utah for Venessa and Jamid. They were only here for one night. They were gone when I got out there sunday morning. I did get a text from him later yesterday. They took home 8 elusive yet still catchable upper red lake crappies.
 The extreme cold was not too nice too us with some of the fleet. When we were making the road for alaska and utah we broke something in the transfer case. It will not stay in FWD. Plus there was some grinding and growling.
 Jonny boy and big tony did get the new radiator installed under the parachute with the torpedo heater. Black beauty's starter or battery took a shi. Not sure on which yet. The hammers trail blazer also may need a new battery. The cold always does a number on the equipment.
 Jonny boy had to leave town again so Darrin will be coming up tomorrow to help get everything moved for the up-and-coming weekend. It's actually slow for us they next few days. Which is a good thing as I think I have been going on adrenalin the past month.
 The wheelhouses we had plowed spots also did fairly well.
 Jigglestick showed up with his grandson Dominick. His words not mine were" once again the lake that owes us nothing has given us so much". Dominick had a blast pulling up 90 percent of the fish.
 Tammy and Randy rolled in thursday. They also had fantastic fishing with once again Tammy landing a trophy of a fish a true 16 inch elusive upper red lake that she released. Randy also landed a big one 16incher while I was checking in on them friday evening. They only took home 10 a couple, but caught 14 walleyes a few, and 30 crappies a bunch.
 Darrel caught 25 walleyes and no crappies, I also talked to another that did about the same.
 Elvis caught a few fish while he was here also.
 Seems the cold snap turned the fishing on this past weekend. Let's hope it continues into next week.

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