Lake of The Woods—Kenora, Ontario

Video Lake of The Woods—Kenora, Ontario

Lake of The Woods, Kenora, Ontario lake map.

Some would say that the attractive and bountiful northern part of Lake of the Woods is the centerpiece of Sundown Nation in northwest Ontario. Roughly bounded by Kenora, Ontario, to the north, Monument Bay to the west, and throughout the Aulneau Peninsula to Whitefish Bay within the east, this part of the magnificent lake is peppered with islands, coves, and channels, and is best outlined in sq. miles than expressed in floor acres or shoreline measurements.

“One of the simplest ways to explain this a part of Lake of the Woods is that it has extra water than you might fish in a lifetime,” says fishing information, event angler, and Crew Northland member Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson.

He grew up in Kenora and spent a lifetime focusing on walleyes, bass, crappies, lake trout, and extra on these waters, and says it’s among the many finest locations on the planet for freshwater fishing—year-round.

Monument Bay circled on the Lake of the Woods lake map.

1. Winter fishing on northern Lake of the Woods is world-class, based on Gustafson. “For my part,” he says, “it’s the most effective place on this planet to fish via the ice for walleyes, crappies, lake trout, and different species.” Should you do make the journey, nonetheless, he warns {that a} snowmobile is a “must-have” piece of kit. “There are some plowed roads, together with a 40-mile stretch from Kenora to Monument Bay,” he says, “however in the course of the mid-winter in 9 out of 10 years, you’ll want a snow machine since you gained’t be capable to drive a truck wherever off the plowed roads.”

White Partridge Bay on Lake of the Woods is circled on this lake map.

Whereas walleyes are the first focus of native hard-water anglers, what attracts many visiting ice fishermen is the unimaginable lake trout and crappie fishing this time of yr. If lakers are in your record, he suggests beginning out in Ptarmigan Bay, west of the world’s central part. “Bear in mind, although, that the entire of Clearwater Bay (on the north aspect of Ptarmigan Bay) is closed to winter trout fishing,” he warns, “so be sure you keep inside Ptarmigan.”

Water on this a part of the lake is obvious, he explains, so it’s finest to fish early or late within the day when low-light situations prevail. Search for lakers on the deep aspect of bluff partitions or the steep-and-deep sides of factors and submerged humps. “They like these drop-off areas the place they will push baitfish (smelt and ciscoes) up towards a ledge,” he says. Prime water depths typically vary from 40 to 100 toes, however the fish might be wherever within the water column.

“Lake trout are very lively within the winter,” Gussy explains. “They like chilly water, they usually’ll be in search of meals all winter. I’ve discovered that on the times they’re most aggressive, you’ll catch them larger within the water column. The extra suspended they’re, the extra they’ll be on the hunt in search of baitfish.”

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He recommends fishing a white 3½-inch gentle plastic tube bait on a 3/8-ounce Inside-Tube® Jig, or a 4-inch Smelt Minnow on a 3/8-ounce Slurp!® Jig. “A white tube has put extra lake trout on the ice than the rest,” he says, “however the Smelt Minnow can also be an excellent trout bait.” A 3rd possibility is to jig a heavy Macho Minnow® or Buck-Shot® Rattle spoon.

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Fish can see pretty nicely within the bay’s clear water and can come to analyze a dancing lure. “So, jig for a couple of minutes at one depth and should you don’t get a chew, reel up 10 toes and jig some extra,” Gussy explains. “Hold doing that till you discover out the depth the fish are cruising.” And don’t keep in a single space too lengthy, he provides. “Should you don’t see motion inside, say, a half-hour—transfer on to the subsequent spot.”

On the subject of winter walleyes, Gussy recommends pounding main-lake buildings—humps, factors, and flats wherever you discover them—from Ptarmigan Bay via the center part, all the way in which to Whitefish Bay within the southeast. The place the water is a bit stained, as it’s within the central zone, you’ll possible catch fish all day lengthy. However the place it’s clear, comparable to in Ptarmigan Bay, deal with the low-light intervals early and late.

Search for humps and factors that high out wherever from 30 to fifteen toes under the floor, then begin fishing alongside the edges in 35 as much as about 22 toes. As a result of there are such a lot of choices shut to at least one one other, Gussy doesn’t put numerous time into trying to find walleyes. Simply begin fishing, he says, and if issues don’t warmth up in 20 minutes or so, transfer to the subsequent spot.

“The Buck-Shot® Spoon tipped with a minnow head is the No. 1 winter walleye lure so far as I’m involved,” he says. “It’s a incredible search bait, and I’ve caught hundreds of walleyes on it.” He recommends going with one of many ultra-violet patterns, explaining that fish can see it extra simply, each in stained water and below low-light situations should you’re fishing clear water. One other native favourite, he says, is a 1/8- or ¼-ounce Whistler Jig® tipped with a minnow.

Lake of the Woods can also be recognized for producing oversize black crappies, and anglers come from lengthy distances to focus on them via the ice. “There are numerous 14 inchers,” the angler says, “and you’ll see 15s and the occasional 16 if you may get on a faculty that hasn’t been fished too exhausting.”

“Search for deep basins in contained in the bays; locations the place it’s 25 to 35 toes deep and pretty near shore,” he says. “They’ll actually congregate in these holes.” Monument Bay within the southwest part is an efficient place to start out, nevertheless it’s not the one spot to search for crappies. “Anglers ought to test the entire Monument Bay space,” he says. “There are 6 or 7 miles of fairly good nation down there.”

By far, Gustafson’s favourite winter crappie set-up is a 1/16-ounce Bro Bug Spoon, particularly in pink and purple, tipped with a small piece of sentimental plastic, comparable to an Impulse® Skeleton Minnow or Bloodworm. Another choice for lively crappies is a No. 2 Puppet Minnow, however on days when the fish are in search of a finesse presentation, go to a small jig-and-plastic combo, comparable to a Scud Bug or Water Flea.

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The important thing right here, he says, is to maintain shifting till you find fish. “Search for crappies suspended barely off the underside,” he says. “I typically don’t begin fishing till I’ve marked them with my sonar gear.”

The Zig Zag Island area of Lake of the Woods with fishing spots marked.

2. Most years ice-out happens in late April or early Might, and that’s when smallmouth fishing hits its peak. “There are numerous days while you catch greater than 100 smallies fairly simply within the shallow bays,” he says.

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Snake Bay area of Lake of the Woods marked with fishing spots.

White Partridge Bay, hooked up to Clearwater Bay within the northwest, in addition to Snake Bay, a part of Whitefish Bay within the southeast part, are two hotspots for early smallmouths. Seek for fish within the very backs of the bays with a suspending jerkbait, says Gustafson. “As soon as you discover fish, zero in on them with a weightless, wacky-rigged gentle plastic stickbait. They haven’t eaten a lot all winter, they usually’ll be within the temper to fill their bellies.”

Crappie and walleye motion strikes to hotter shallow water within the again bays this time of yr, too. Search the shallows within the Monument Bay space the place crappies congregated within the winter. If the east aspect of the lake is extra handy, strive Witch Bay, an extended slender bay hooked up to Andrew Bay. Use a white 1/16-ounce Gypsi Jig®, or a Hearth-Fly Jig tipped with a small piece of sentimental plastic below a Lite-Chunk Bobber. “Search for pencil reeds and solid to any kind of canopy—timber, logs, beaver homes—that holds warmth. Hold pitching into the holes within the cowl till you discover crappies.”

Big Narrows and Ferris Island areas of Lake of the Woods marked on the lake map.

Walleye anglers spotlight the third Saturday in Might on their calendars as a result of it marks the season opener for this coveted gamefish. It’s time to “suppose shallow,” says Gustafson, and the Huge Narrows space—an island-studded channel dominated by Huge Narrows and Ferris islands—encompasses a wealth of shallow construction and shifting water.

The fishing is easy. Tie on a Hearth-Ball® Jig of a dimension that lets you attain the underside and preserve contact within the depth and present you’re fishing. Tip it with a reside minnow and jig vertically, or fan solid, relying on water depth. “Usually the goal zone is pretty broad,” the angler says. “You could find fish in wherever from about 6 to twenty toes of water. There shall be numbers of eater-size walleyes, with combine of huge fish.”

Witch Bay of Lake of the Woods highlighted on the lake map.

3. Round mid-June walleyes, crappies and bass start to enter their summer season patterns. Plus, muskie hunters begin to ramp up because the season for this prestigious predator opens on the third Saturday. “The standard of Lake of the Woods muskies is superb,” Gustafson says. “There are many giants on the market; you could have an actual shot at catching a 50-plus-inch fish day by day.”

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Shoreline sections on the south side of Coney Island have been marked on this Lake of the Woods lake map.

Muskies are coming off the spawn at the moment, and relate to weedbeds and shallow rock piles. “There’s numerous early muskie water and inhabitants of fish inside 5 miles of Kenora, however the south aspect of Coney Island is a superb place to start out.” Forged blade baits—a Reed Runner Magnum Spinnerbait —to rocks and weeds in 5 to 10 toes of water.

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In mid-July, muskies have a tendency to maneuver to main-lake reefs and shoals. “Then you possibly can combine it up,” says Gustafson. “I throw a wide range of topwaters, huge swimbaits, and blade baits.”

Lobstick Bay on Lake of the Woods lake map.

Mid-summer is the time to chase largemouth bass as nicely, based on the angler, and nearly any shallow weedy bay will maintain fish. “As a place to begin, strive Lobstick Bay on the northeast nook of Whitefish Bay,” he says. “Forged a 5/8-ounce black-and-blue Jungle Jig® tipped with a plastic chunk into the reeds, lily pads or timber. They’ll cling round any kind of canopy.”

Nearly each main-lake hump will maintain walleyes in the course of the summer season, and you’ll catch them by almost any means you want—backside bouncers and rigs, crankbaits, and many others. However essentially the most environment friendly methodology is a jig-and-leech, the angler says. “Goal depths within the 22- to 35-foot vary and also you’ll catch fish.”

4. September and October deliver out the most effective in all the things, based on Gustafson. “Within the fall, fishing is simply good for all the things,” he says. “Loads of anglers come up for the muskie fishing, understanding the predators shall be chasing spawning ciscoes and whitefish round within the present areas.”

He suggests trolling huge minnow-imitating crankbaits or vertical jigging muskie-size plastic baits within the Huge Narrows space. “Fish wherever from 8 to twenty toes, and in deeper water search for baitfish together with your sonar.”

Late-season walleyes like the identical kind of spots, so search for them in Huge Narrows, too. One other space is south of Gun Membership Island on the north finish close to Kenora. Gustafson suggests drifting via the channels in 25 to 35 toes of water utilizing a ¼-ounce Hearth-Ball® or RZ jig tipped with reside bait, or a Slurp!® Jig-and-Smelt Minnow.

By this time crappies are fascinated by wintering areas; search for them in the identical spots you’d look forward to finding them when ice fishing.

Lake maps courtesy of Navionics. For extra data, go to:

Very important Stats

Lake of the Woods—Kenora, Ontario Measurement: 600+ sq. mi. Species Current: Walleyes, Smallmouth Bass, Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Muskies, Black Crappies, Yellow Perch, Saugers, Numerous Minnows, Shiners, and Chubs.

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