Lake of the Muskies: An Angler's Paradise in Northwest Ontario

With over 25,000 islands, thousands of reefs, and hundreds of miles of shoreline, Lake of the Woods should be on the bucket list of every musky angler.

Among musky anglers, Lake of the Woods is known as Lake of the Muskies. With over 25,000 islands, thousands of reefs, and hundreds of miles of shoreline, the musky fishing opportunities are endless. Stack on top of this tremendous musky population and stained water, and you have the ultimate musky destination.

We have filmed several episodes of The Musky Hunter Television Show during the last 16 years of filming, and have had incredible experiences. I am simply amazed at the number of muskies that exist in Lake of the Woods, along with the giants. It almost seems like any spot that looks “fishy” will hold a musky! It’s not a question of will you catch a musky, but of how many.

angler fishing musky lake of the woods

Jim Saric and Steve Heiting teamed up for this big shallow-water LOW musky. (Photo credit: The Musky Hunter)

What’s great about Lake of the Woods is there are thousands of spots that hold muskies, across the entire lake. We have filmed almost every portion of Lake of the Woods and I honestly can’t say that one section is better than another. Techniques that we have used in one area carry over to others. For example, spots that hold muskies in the Northwest Angle of LOW hold muskies in Sabaskong Bay. My point is that fishing is similar throughout the lake and no matter where you stay, you’ll have opportunities at multiple muskies, as well as a giant.

angler fishing musky release

With a 54-inch size limit, most LOW muskies are released to fight again and be caught by another musky angler. (Photo credit: The Musky Hunter)

Lake of the Woods is definitely not the lake where the musky is the fish of 10,000 casts. With a large musky population, whenever you encounter a musky you can find similar spots and repeat the pattern. For example, if you find muskies on rocky points you can simply look around, search for other rocky points, fish them, and most likely they will hold muskies. It’s this positive reinforcement when developing patterns that attract musky anglers to Lake of the Woods.

lake of the woods sunset

There is something special about sunset on Lake of the Woods. Besides, it’s musky magic time. (Photo credit: The Musky Hunter)

I would say that most musky fishing on Lake of the Woods is in water less than 10 feet of water. In fact, it’s amazing how shallow the muskies can be on Lake of the Woods. That’s what makes this lake a great place to cast bucktails such as Musky Frenzy IC9s or IC10s, or topwater lures. Whenever you are primarily fishing bucktails and topwater you are in for a lot of fun. Everyone wants to know the hot lure colours on LOW. You simply can’t go wrong with a black, chartreuse, or orange topwater. When fishing bucktails black/black, black/nickel, black/orange and brown/gold are my favourites. However, fish whatever colour provides the most confidence.

angler fishing musky

No matter where you fish on Lake of the Woods big muskies like this one caught by Kevin Schmidt are available. (Photo credit: The Musky Hunter)

You are also going to have a lot of muskies follow. It’s not uncommon to have a dozen muskies follow your lures in a day. That makes fishing Lake of the Woods very interactive and it always keeps your attention. If you can hone your Figure 8 technique at the boat side, you can catch a bunch of muskies as well. We annually teach our University of Esox at Sandy’s Blackhawk Island in the Northwest Angler of Lake of the Woods and over 60 percent of the muskies are caught on a figure 8. Pay attention behind your lure, and don’t pull your lure from the water without moving in in a large Figure 8 pattern!

Tamarack Island Wilderness Lodge cabin and lake

Here’s a shot from the Cabin while filming at Tamarack Island Wilderness Lodge. (Photo credit: The Musky Hunter)

We filmed some great episodes on Lake of the Woods. Some of my personal favourites include Sandy’s Blackhawk Island in the Northwest Angle, Wiley Point Lodge in Big Narrows, Harris Hill Resort in Rainy River, Tamarack Island Wilderness Lodge in Morson, and Young’s Wilderness Lodge in Steven’s Bay.

Young’s Wilderness Camp docks and lake

A typical morning at Young’s Wilderness Camp in anticipation of a great musky day. (Photo credit: The Musky Hunter)

No matter where you fish on Lake of the Woods in Ontario you can be assured you’ll locate and catch plenty of muskies. Just take the time to enjoy the scenic beauty of Ontario, as well as the plentiful wildlife. LOW is not just an incredible musky fishing destination, but an amazing experience that should be on the bucket list of every musky angler.

About Jim Saric

Jim owns Jim Saric Outdoors, Inc., which is dedicated to elevating the sport of musky fishing to new levels by educating anglers through print, web, and television. He is the publisher, editor and owner of Musky Hunter Magazine and the Executive Producer of The Musky Hunter television series. Jim has over twenty-five years experience fishing lakes, rivers, and reservoirs from Minnesota to New York and all across Canada. He has boated more than 100 muskies exceeding 50 inches in length, the largest weighing 53 pounds.

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