AIM’s Next Stop, Lake of the Woods, Baudette, MN

Category: article

 Aug 1st, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Aug 1st, 2012 at 10:52 AM

The next stop on the AIM Professional Walleye Series will be held up at the Lake of the Woods by Baudette, MN from August 16-18, 2012.  Known as “The Walleye Capital of the World”, this area, which is fed by the Rainy River from the south and drains to the Winnipeg River to the northwest, includes the Northwest Angle. The NW Angle is located at the top of the nation—north of north central Minnesota, the “chimney” of Minnesota, and covers over 65,000 miles of shoreline and over 14,000 islands.

The Northwest Angle is actually surrounded by Canada and the area called Islands is the northernmost point in the continental United States, the only point in the US (apart from Alaska) that is north of the 49th parallel. It is attached to Manitoba and is only accessible from the US by boat across the Lake of the Woods, by air or by driving through Canada.
The Northwest Angle was determined by the Treaty of Paris between Great Britain and the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War.  It stated, “That the boundary between U.S. territory and the British possessions to the north would run …..through the Lake of the Woods to the northwestern most point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi…”

This boundary was based on the “Mitchell Map” – a map that had several inaccuracies; one such error showed the Mississippi river extending too far north.  The parties did not know that the source of the Mississippi was too far south of that point to be intersected by a line running west from the Lake of the Woods.

The Anglo-American Convention of 1818 corrected the error by having the boundary run directly from the northwest point of the lake to the 49th parallel and then westward along it.  It created a chunk of land that is part of Minnesota but cut off from the rest of the state and a situation where driving from one spot in Minnesota to another spot in Minnesota requires a 63 mile drive into Canada and then back into the U.S. even though the two spots are just 18 miles apart.  That land is called, The Northwest Angle and the actual boundary separately the U.S. and Canada runs right through the middle of the Lake of the Woods.

The Northwest Angle and Islands of Lake of the Woods have many many wonderful opportunities for families and outdoorsmen/women.  For example there are anywhere between 250 to 300 species of birds that make their homes throughout the year so it’s a great place for an avid birdman.  The NW Angle also offers the northern-most 9-hole golf course in the contiguous United States.

The AIM Professional Walleye Series knows that the Lake of the Woods area offers a world-class fishery for walleye and many other species of fish too.  Since there hasn’t been a professional tournament in the area for almost ten years, the Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau wanted to bring AIM to town for the opportunity to see the AIM Professional Walleye Anglers in action.  A two year deal was signed with AIM’s “Catch, Record and Release” format.  The anglers will be fishing US waters only.  Since the area of the Lake of the Woods is so immense, there will be plenty of water to cover.  Along with the tournament, the bureau decided to create what will be known as “Walleye Fest” with tons of activities throughout the week.  According to Joe Henry, Executive Director of Tourism for Lake of the Woods, “this week will not only be enticing for the avid walleye anglers, but for families as well.”
As mentioned, AIM features a “Catch-Record-Release” format.  The anglers take a digital photo of the walleye lying on an official AIM ruler and then immediately release the walleye.  This format has been extremely well received by the anglers and the communities they represent.  It’s been rewarding to see the walleye return to the depths of the water immediately, especially this season with the high temperatures this summer. These digital images are shown on stage at the weigh-ins as well as streamed online.

This is the only professional fishing circuit where CRR is used and hopefully it leads other circuits to follow suit.  Preserving the resources for future generations is important. Many tournaments in states like MN have slot limits, but with the CRR format the anglers simply take photos of ALL the fish they catch and the top seven longest fish are recorded for the day.  This allows for endless opportunities, with no worries of slot limits, culling or trying to keep fish alive in live wells.  The only difference in this AIM event from the others this season is the use of only one line (rod) per angler.  State laws prohibit the use of more lines.

Tom Briggs, the owner of the Wigwam Resort said, “The thing that will be different, especially for the average angler from the area that fishes in this event, will be their “Mind Set”.  Anglers up here are use to searching for areas to get their slots and in the past we were only allowed to bring in one fish over 28 inches.  It will take a change of thinking to focus on a big fish bite, but it should be fun to have the opportunity to search for those big walleye the area is known for.” 

Brian Ney, the owner of Adrian’s Resort agrees.  “In the past when we fished tournaments up here we had to focus on finding where the 19 inch fish were.  This will be a whole different deal.  The fish are really biting now so it will be interesting to see just how much weight can be brought in with the AIM CRR format.”

Don’t miss out on all the fun.  Please go to www.aimfishing.com and click at the top on NEWS to read more about the upcoming WalleyeFest at Baudette, MN.  The article includes all of the activities that will take place throughout the week.  This includes the locations and the times of the AIM weigh-ins.  The AIM Pro Walleye Series will showcase their daily weigh-ins at Willie Walleye Park in the heart of Baudette on Baudette Bay.  Weigh-ins will take place August 16, 17 and 18 at 5pm but read more because you won’t want to miss out on all of the activities throughout the week.

The article also gives out far more information about the Walleye Fest parade, Kids Fest, Kids Fishing Clinic (free rod and reel combos, t-shirts, tackle for kids), Market on Main, the crowning of a Walleye Queen, a walleye fish fry, plenty of parties, dancing and more.  If you get a chance, make sure you set aside some time to go hear seminars from four top AIM Professional Walleye Anglers.  Admission is $10 or 2 non-perishable items for the Lake of the Woods food shelf. Kids 17 and under are free.  Remember to click on NEWS and check out the AIM web site for the times and locations of every event being held in this upcoming Walleye Fest.

The Lake of the Woods Tourism web site at www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com is also a great source to learn more about Baudette, the Lake of the Woods and the NW Angle. Don’t miss out…..come see the AIM Professional Walleye Series Anglers and enjoy the festivities of WalleyeFest 2012 in Baudette, MN!

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