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Jigging the Big Lake, Lake of the Woods, MN. By Gary Howey

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

July 16, 2015

Lake of the Woods is a pristine 50,000-acre lake along the Minnesota and Canada borders. There you will find, 65,000 miles of shoreline, numerous bays and over 14,000 islands, and some of the finest fishing available in North America.
This would be our destination where we Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Larry Myhre and I would join Nick Painovich, Zippel Bay Resort to walleye fish on the big lake.
When we arrived, shortly after noon, our plans were to spend a couple of days fishing on Lake of the Woods, but as we looked at the extended forecast, it looked like it could be a one day trip and we had better not waste any time, as a severe weather pattern was heading our way.
It didn’t take us long to stow our gear in one of Zippel Bays thirty foot charter boats and make our way out of Zippel Bay into Lake of the Woods.
Nick motored out to one of the areas where they had been picking up some nice fish during first week of the Minnesota walleye season.
Dropping anchor, we positioned ourselves along the edge of the rock pile, tied on our jigs, tipped them with salted minnows and begin jigging. We were fishing along the edge of the rocks, hopping to pick up some of the post spawn walleyes making their way out into the deeper water.
The smaller males as well as the sauger were eager biters, some of which would join us at our fish fry that evening. As Nick and I were catching our dinner fish, Larry set the hook on what appeared to be a good fish and after a short battle, a twenty-seven inch slot walleye slid into the net, had her photo taken and then was released. Larry, who claims to be a multi-species angler, also landed a smaller northern. Not to be out done, Nick hooked another good fish, another of the slot fish, twenty-five inches that had her photo taken,
As the bite slowed, Nick would bring up the anchor and move onto another rock pile where we would work our baits off the rock pile down along the edge where it dropped off into deeper water.
We would move several times, working along the edges near deeper water and then making our way up onto the top of the rock piles working our way through each rock pile carefully.
With heavy winds and rain predicted for the next two days, we fished hard that afternoon on into the evening, not wanting to miss a minute of the excellent bite.
Before the front arrived the next morning, we hit the water early, hoping to get some more footage before the clouds opened up and dumped on us.Pic-Nick LOTW Walleye-
On the way out of the bay, we pulled plugs to see if the resident pike populations were home. It didn’t take us long to catch several that call the weed line in Zippel Bay home.
As we made our way into the main lake, did the day before, we fished the rock piles using jigs, jumping from one rock pile to the next. Each time we made a move we took some good fish, as we always have when fishing out of Zippel Bay Resort.
Working our way back to Zippel Bay, the sky opened up with as a three-day rainstorm settled in, dumping several inches of rain in the area.
That evening as the rain hammered on the roof of the resort, we closed out a great trip with a walleye and sauger supper prepared for us in the resort’s lounge.
It was a great trip, as we spent some time on beautiful Lake of the Woods with good friends, catching good fish while beating out the bad weather that would roll into the area for the next two days.
If you’re looking for a great Lake of the Woods experience, give Nick and Deana at Zippel Bay Resort a call. You can contact them at 1-800-222-2537 or on the web at

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