As the wind dies and the waves start to dissipate, Lake of the Woods becomes a Rapala and Reef Runner fisherman’s dream come true. As the lake settles down, which doesn’t happen too often, but it does happen, you must troll to get the Lake of the Woods most prized Eye! I personally like to throw a little twist in there and troll the ROCKS, which has become my favorite way to pull plugs (rock rapping). When fishing the rocks, get ready to donate some tackle though, it happens, but as the old saying goes, “Risk and Reward”. Over the past year and half trolling with lead core and fire line, accompanied with an assortment of Rapalas and Reef Runners has become a proven method of fishing the mighty Walleye of Lake of the Woods for me. The fish consistently hunker around the rocks all year long. I can’t give you the science behind it, but I believe the rocks hold the bait. Besides that, I can only say what my father always said about things that were always a consistent, “It is what it is.”
When pulling plugs on Lake of the Woods I have started to use lead core line and about a 30 foot leader of 14 lb Crystal Fireline, which gives me good strength and great feel while I bounce off the bottom/rocks. When fishing the rocks I have started to also use steel leaders, which help fight the ware and tare of the line hitting the rocks. Most importantly, if you hook into one of the monster predator Northern or Musky, which do consistently hangout on the rocks, you might just have a chance of landing one the enormous and unbelievable trophy fish. This would be the “cherry on top of the Sundae” of what Lake of the Woods has to offer.
I’ve stated this before, but I’ll say it again. When trolling, there are a number of different calculations and figures that are published to help anglers learn the essentials. For example, the amount of line to let out, speed to travel, and particular plugs to use. Don’t get frightened by this next statement, but I haven’t personally used any of those books. Trial and error is how I learn best and it has taught me quickly. I’ve been long lining consistently for over a year now and just recently purchased my first line counting reel. So where I’m going with this one is, you don’t need a line counter, and you don’t need the books to start trolling the rocks, but it does help.
I started using lead core line not more than a year ago, and today I feel very comfortable fishing it anywhere, even in the rocks. It does take a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re in for a tremendous treat. Many Lake of the Woods fishermen are using lead core line today and I would think that number will just increase with the success it has shown on our awesome body of water. Tom Briggs (Wigwam Resort) and Jerry Riege (Capra’s Sporting Goods, Blaine, MN) were two of my first teachers, and there are a few little tricks that they taught me, which I will give one to you right now. I was taught to hold onto the rod and give it a few jerks forward (4 – 6 times) and then let it set for a couple seconds (I demonstrate this in the video). I do have rod holders, but I don’t usually stick my rod in one unless absolutely needed. 85% of the fish I catch will hit when the plug slows and then starts up again…it’s simply awesome!
As I learned how to feel the rocks, there were plenty of snags to help in the education process. Don’t let that discourage you though, after a couple days of snags it gets better. The biggest thing that you need to remember is don’t keep tension on the line when you do snag up. Right away release your reel and as you are driving back to the point of the snag, reel up the slack. After you have driven past the snag, give it a few good jerks and “it should” pop right out. This has been the most effective way for me. If not, you’ve just donated another piece of tackle to the rocks and join the club that every fisherman belongs too.
Once you’ve practiced a bit and you get comfortable with your equipment, you’re ready for the rock reefs in the bowl of Lake of the Woods. Some of my favorite reef structures are Graceton, Knights and Bridges, but that’s just because I get to fish them all the time. North and Northwest of Rocky Point you will find a few more fantastic bowl reef structures. If you’re interested in fishing any reef structure on Lake of the Woods, please read my blog. I frequently discuss my fishing locations and most of the time; I’m jumping from rock to rock. If you’re not getting the info you’re looking for, please shoot me an e-mail and I’ll get you an answer to the best of my ability.
Late fall on Lake of the Woods means that we are just that much closer to Ice Fishing on the body of water known as “The Worlds Best Hard Water Fishery”. Winter time on Lake of the Woods pulls anglers and snowmobiles from all over the world to our little winter wonderland we love to call home. I invite each of you that have never been ice fishing or snowmobiling on Lake of the Woods to come be our guests on the Walleye Capitol of the World, Lake of the Woods this winter for all the flurries, fun and excitement. For all of you longtime patrons of Lake of the Woods, bring someone new this year and get them hooked on everything that northern Minnesota has to offer. We’ll be sure to find all the hot spots for you and make your getaway one to remember.
Fishing on Lake of the Woods this season has been a Walleye fisherman’s dream come true. Many anglers have made Lake of the Woods their permanent vacation spot. This has helped many resorts and the community in a whole, and for that we thank everyone who has visited us so far this year. Come find out why so many have made Lake of the Woods their “permanent vacation spot”, and experience paradise without a passport on beautiful Lake of the Woods, the Walleye Capitol of the World.
In conclusion, I want to state this fact, like anything in life that’s great, it takes practice to make it perfect. So you’re going to have to get out there and do your homework on the rocks yourself. I’ve asked a million questions, but nothing has taught me more than just going out there and pushing the envelope. You will get better and very soon you’ll see the reason for all the excitement on the ROCKS…happy fishing and God Bless!
By Wigwam Fisherman