Hawk Lake Lodge
What a place this is! Hawk Lake Lodge, a drive-to fishing paradise less than a three-hour drive over the Canadian border from Minnesota, is home to 2,600 acres of coves, islands, and rocky shores with prime fishing habitat. The accommodations, personal service, and dining are first class.
Hawk Lake Lodge is currently owned by Milton, Maine’s Ted Putnam, who bought the lodge in 2011 at age 41. The purchase was a natural progression from numerous visits beginning in the early 2000s when his family “fell in love with the place.” Ted now runs the lodge with his wife and two daughters. The Putnams also have two camp mascots, dogs Nutmeg and Ginger.
Hawk Lake Lodge was formerly owned by Gary and Sandy Delton, who turned their private retreat into a resort after 35 years of private ownership. In fact, two of the nearby out-lakes were named years ago after Gary and Sandy’s daughters, Lisa and Shannon.
“Their hard work and dedication were the underpinnings of what the resort is today. They cut every portage trail, took the original boats to all out-lakes, and built the dining room, and most of the cabins. Essentially the whole resort,” says Putnam.
For this adventure, my father joined me. Actually, this is the first time my dad and I have done any kind of portage fishing together. There are 19 lakes accessible by portage from the main lake, and we got to experience some of the great fun that's to be had on these waters, each lake with its own personality. We chose Paddy and Mirror and did a half-day at each. Mirror has some big pike, and I had my shot and missed a couple of 40-inchers. Paddy is full of hungry smallmouth, lots of numbers, and non-stop action!
Even though my dad trailered his big Lund to the resort (he couldn't resist) to launch on the natural "rock launch ramp,” there's really no need to bring your own boat with Hawk's great fleet at your service. They provide guests with deep-V Crestliners rigged with electric start Yamaha outboards, Minn Kota trolling motors, Humminbird electronics, nets, life jackets, and comfortable seats. The boats are clean, well-kept, and feature plenty of rod storage.
Another thing that makes Hawk Lake Lodge special is that they have a real chef, not just a cook. While dinner options change each evening, it's tough to choose between walleye and scallops, or juicy prime rib! It's a win-win! After dinner, most guests go out for the BIG walleye bite before sunset. Sure enough, my dad hooked and landed a 30-plus-incher! You have a shot at a 30-inch walleye pretty much every day. Last year, my cousin James and I got into a walleye feeding frenzy and landed three over 30 inches in an hour! Those types of numbers are not uncommon at Hawk Lake Lodge. It’s simply unreal.
The Putnam family prides itself on carrying the legacy the Delton family created so many decades ago while expanding the appeal to both conventional and fly anglers. Hawk Lake Lodge is now one of the few lodges in the world that carries the official endorsement of esteemed fly fishing company Orvis—and it’s been nominated twice for “Best Lodge in North America.”
For more information, visit: hawk-lake.com