I have talked about it for years. Actually taking a snowmobile trip on Lake of the Woods and having ice fishing as second fiddle. This kind of behavior isn’t in my nature as I love catching walleyes and saugers through the ice. On this trip, however, it was planned months ago and there was no turning back. The plan: To snowmobile the south end of the lake and then sled up to the NW Angle and experience the trails in that neck of the woods. We had one day of ice fishing planned to avoid any kind of “shakes” or “teary eyes” for some of us.
I was joined by the host of Prairie Sportsman, Bret Amundson and our good friend and avid outdoorsman Jamie Dietman. On day one, we arrived at Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River. It could have been any resort on the river or south shore but Sportsman’s also has Sportsman’s Oak Island up at the NW Angle and Gregg Hennum, owner of the resort also grooms the trails on the river and across the lake to the Angle, thus on this trip, it made good sense.
We started out hooking up with the groomer of the land trails for the Lake of the Woods Drifters Snowmobile Club, Todd Barnes. Todd knows the woods and trails like the back of his hand and is a wonderful host. Todd met us at Sportsman’s and we took our Polaris sleds right on to the frozen Rainy River. The trail is nicely groomed and staked all the way from the mouth of the river where we started to Baudette.
The ride was late in the afternoon and about 2/3 of the locals fish houses on the river were occupied, telling us there was a decent evening bite on the river. We found out later in the trip there indeed was.
We snowmobiled under the international bridge that goes from Baudette to Canada and into Baudette Bay near the famous Willie Walleye statue and then continued up Baudette Bay under the Hwy 11 bridge on to the land trails. There were well groomed, smooth and well marked. A beautiful sunset led us into the woods.
We made our way through the woods over to Zippel Bay State Park and had a brief stop at the Igloo Bar on the ice. Always a festive time. We then continued with a short drive back to Sportsman’s to hit the hay until our morning trek north to the Angle.
After a good breakfast, we fired up the sleds and made our way north. A beautiful 42 mile ride on an unseasonably warm January day. We stopped along the way to fly the drone and get footage of the enormity of the lake, fish houses and everything Big Traverse Bay is made up of. Very impressive footage.
As we made our way over Garden Island that marks the start of the NW Angle, we stopped and checked out the shelter on the east end of the island. This shelter is used for boaters or snowmobilers in the event of inclement weather. Our next stop, Sportsman’s Oak Island.
We dropped our pull behind sled with our clothes and fishing gear at the resort and snowmobiled over to Sunset Lodge for a quick lunch. The next stop, checking out the Northern Most Point of the Contiguous United States buoy at Young’s Bay Resort. After a few pics, we were off to the only one room school in the state of MN, Angle Inlet School. There we met the President of the NW Angle Edge Rider’s Snowmobile Club, Richard Allen McKeever.
Richard Allen led us on a great adventure up to the end of the actual inlet of the NW Angle and into the wooded trails. The scenery was breathtaking with a layer of fresh snow blanketing the pines. Trails were smooth, marked well and we literally did not see another sled in an afternoon of snowmobiling.
On our way back to Sportman’s where we were staying, we stopped off at Flag Island Resort for a quick soda and hello. After our adventure for the day, we were tired and hungry. We headed back to Sportsman’s, enjoyed dinner and hit the hay.
The last full day of our trip was ice fishing. We were treated to a bomber ride out to a heated fish house. Even though the day was below zero, the fish didn’t disappoint as we caught walleyes, saugers, a jumbo perch and an eelpout. Plenty of fish for our evening fish fry, which was delicious.
The next day was travel day. We packed up and snowmobiled back south to our initial starting point. We took extra care on the ride home as the temp was -25 degrees. The Polaris sleds were most excellent and got us home safely. We had four of us and took necessary precautions to make sure everyone was safe, warm, etc. These temps are nothing to mess around with.
Snowmobiling on and around Lake of the Woods. Hundreds of miles of groomed staked trails. Two snowmobile clubs passionate about the trails. Scenery that will knock your socks off. Very few riders. If you enjoy snowmobiling, you may want to add this one to your list!
The adventure was filmed for Prairie Sportsman and is available for viewing.