It’s the time of the year they call “The Dog Days”. For most walleye anglers, this can be a challenging time as weeds are at their peak which makes fishing tough and provides a lot of cover. In addition, the young of the year perch, panfish and other minnow are at a great size for a walleye snack. The competition with thousands of offerings can tough to compete with. With thousands and perhaps millions of walleyes, odds are in your favor, even during “dog days”.
Lake of the Woods is a lake of a different breed. The walleyes this time of year are relating to open water patterns targeting schools of tulibees and other baitfish. Some walleyes will take advantage of the many offerings that live in the mud, rocks and sand also. With so many walleyes roaming open water, anglers have a wide variety of ways to target these golden predators.
Fishing the basin (Big Traverse Bay). Huge schools of walleyes and saugers call Big Traverse Bay home. This is the big open part of Lake of the Woods that rivals a great lake. It is about 30 miles north/south by 25 miles east/west. This is a lot of water. Walleyes this time of the year will call this abyss home. The depth can range from 30-35′ and it is loaded with bait to attract the walleyes interest.
Resort charter captains will go after walleyes in a variety of ways this time of year. Some will troll crankbaits with downriggers that will get your lures down near the bottom of the lake where the fish are living most of the time. Pulling these injured minnow imitating lures is extremely effective as you are covering lots of water, getting reaction bites and placing your lure in front of literally thousands of walleyes and saugers.
If you fish out of your own boat, many anglers use leadcore line to get crankbaits down deep where the walleyes are living. Hot crankbaits vary with each angler. If you are fishing with someone else and can use more than one line, it is a good idea to experiment with different shapes, sizes, wobbles, colors, speeds and depths. As you start figuring out patterns, make a mental note and start changing other lines to what is working. That is part of the fun of deep water trolling is figuring out the walleyes that day. Each day can be different. Actually, each hour can be different based on bait, sun, wind, current, etc. Pay attention and figure them out.
Other guides will drift with crawler harnesses. On average a 2 ounce bottom bouncer with a snelled spinner and a nightcrawler, leech or minnow is the ticket. Hot blade colors are gold, silver and pink. These are good colors to begin with.
And finally, if the schools are tightly grouped, anchored up and jigging with a jig and minnow is effective. Lake of the Woods walleyes seem to move around a lot thus if you are anchored in an area where there are walleyes, there is a good chance they will find you.
The NW Angle. As the northernmost point of the Continental United States and an area where the 14,552 islands of Lake of the Woods begin, this is a incredible area to fish. Here, because of the islands, most guides are fishing structure. This time of year, deep points, off shore reefs and even open water in Little Traverse Bay where a similar pattern to Big Traverse is taking shape.
On the south end of the lake, resort guides will take you out in a charter boat that provides safety and comfort. Up at the NW Angle, guides use on average 20′ walleye tournament boats to navigate you to walleye kingdoms on both the U.S. and Canadian side of LOW.
Of course, if you have a boat, there are numerous public access points to drop in and also resort accesses depending upon where you are at and the specific resort.
The Rainy River. There are a lot of local walleyes who live in the river. These fish typically get overlooked during the summer as anglers will target lake walleyes simply due to pure numbers of fish in the basin. There is 40 miles of navigable river to fish and lots of walleyes to be caught. Many will jig fish rock piles, holes in the river or current seams. Others prefer covering water with a bottom bouncer and crawler harness or with crankbaits. This is also a nice option if you are using your own boats and there is a lot of wind. Access points exist up and down the river.
August and September are excellent times to catch walleyes on LOW. Fish are active, plentiful and many trophies are taken. If you would like to book a fishing adventure, look at jumping on a boat with a guide and letting them put you on walleyes. Most resorts will accept single or double bookings as they can combine small groups. A charter boat typically will hold up to 6 anglers plus the captain. Up at the Angle, most guides accommodate groups of 1-3 per boat plus the guide. Check out our resort listings for info on lodging, guides or simply to gain more info on pricing, etc.