Minnesota walleye fishing opener is just a few weeks away (May 13, 2017 to be exact). Where will you be? If you’re smart like the generations of seasoned fishermen that frequent our Minnesota fishing resort, you’ll be on Lake Winnibigoshish enjoying one of Minnesota’s favorite pastimes.
If you’re really smart, you’ll be staying in one of the beautiful cabins at Northland Lodge the night before so you can beat the crowds to the early morning bite. You’ve probably heard about and seen photos of the legendary lunkers that have been pulled from Lake Winnie’s waters throughout the years. But did you know that there is a highly complex and meticulous process that is occurring right now, producing more than 10 million walleye fry each year?
Cut Foot Sioux (located just a few minutes north of our Minnesota fishing resort) is a natural spawning location since walleye are attracted to the warmer, flowing water. The Cut Foot Sioux Walleye Hatchery is located here and we are fascinated by the scrupulous job the men and women do there. The crew is busy prepping for fishing season by assisting in the production of walleye eggs all this week, and you can read more about the process here.
If you want to be the subject of fisherman’s tales for years to come, plan to spend your Minnesota walleye fishing opener on Lake Winnie this year. We still have cabin and campsite rentals available so book now before they’re all taken. The walleye slot limit on Winnie has changed in recent years, so be sure to brush up on that before you go. You can also check into fishing with one of our recommended fishing guides.
Other northern Minnesota resorts boast about their walleye fishing, but don’t be fooled. The walleye are all here on Lake Winnibigoshish, and that’s where you should be too!
Although we are a community of northern Minnesota fishing fanatics, there are many additional ways to enjoy your resort vacation on Lake Winnibigoshish.
As a family-friendly resort, we encourage you to take your crew out to explore Minnesota’s fifth largest lake by fishing boat or pontoon. Rentals are available daily or weekly. Going solo? We also offer paddleboats, canoes and kayaks free of charge. Channel your inner nature lover while you listen for the call of the loon and watch eagles swoop for nearby fish. Nearby points of interest (by boat) include Cutfoot Sioux (a MN DNR walleye spawning site) and the Winnibigoshish Dam (just northeast of Northland Lodge where the Mississippi River flows into Little Lake Winnibigoshish).
Land lubbers can pack a picnic lunch and take a day drive to the Lost Forty Scientific & Natural Area for a hike or a cruise up the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic byway. Our beautiful protected forests are optimal for wildlife viewing too. Species you’ll observe include whitetail deer, blue heron, red fox, bald eagles, lady’s slipper orchids and many more! There are plenty of hiking trails within the beautiful Chippewa National Forest too. Our resort staff would be happy to recommend some of the more popular trails and local attractions.
Do What the Locals Do!
As the sun sets, bring your fresh catch of the day to the nearby Big Fish Supper Club, famous for the giant roadside muskie greeting travelers along Highway 2. It’s a short drive from our family fishing resort and the chef will cook up your fresh catch to perfection. Take an obligatory selfie (locals do it too!) with the 65-foot registered historic landmark and be the envy of your friends back home.
Whether exploring the woods or waters of northern Minnesota’s natural beauty, you won’t be disappointed while vacationing at our family fun fishing resort, Northland Lodge. Reserve your cabin today!
Although it’s technically spring on March 20th, winter has its way of sticking around until the bitter cold end in northern Minnesota. The month of March can be a strange phenomenon around northern Minnesota fishing resorts. One year we fished on the ice in 70 degree sunshine for St. Patrick’s Day. A few years later it was 30 below that day. If you’re doing the math, that’s a 100 degrees difference!
Without further ado, here is Northland Lodge’s list of ways to breeze through the final weeks of Minnesota winter.
#3 Get a Tan (Get Outside)!
Can’t afford a tropical spring break or a tanning membership? Grab an ice auger, a fishing pole and a bucket and head out on the lake for some good old fashioned bucket fishing on a sunny day. Northern Minnesota resorts and other Lake Winnibigoshish resorts are still reporting decent ice and fishing conditions . Plus, now that we’re past daylight savings time, we are enjoying prolonged hours of glorious daylight. The sun’s reflection off the glistening ice will reflect the sun rays, maximizing your sun exposure. Studies show that sunlight helps boost your mood, too! A few days of this and your friends will assume you just returned from the tropics.
**Disclaimer - practice safe sun by applying SPF 30 sunscreen prior to exposure.
#2 Get a Hobby!
Finding a hobby you enjoy will not only give you extra motivation to get out of bed on chilly mornings, but keeping yourself occupied with something fun also makes the time go by more quickly. Become a whitetail deer shed hunter! In Minnesota, late winter and early spring are the best times to look for antlers that have been shed by bucks, because the snow is melting and the underbrush hasn’t grown over them yet.
If you’re not into shed hunting, make walking your hobby. Try to take at least a 15 minute walk around your neighborhood every day if you can. Challenge yourself by increasing your walk time by one more minute or one more block each day. Walking increases circulation, making you feel warmer in the long run, and increasing serotonin and dopamine levels. Bonus points if your hobby brings you outdoors!
#1 Get On Our List!
Book your Minnesota resort vacation at Northland Lodge now! Reserving your spot early will increase the likelihood of securing your favorite cabin or campsite. Having the upcoming date circled on your calendar will give you and your family something to look forward to and will seemingly make the winter go by more quickly.
You’ll be enjoying our Minnesota family fun resort in no time! See you when you get here!
We like to think Northland Lodge on legendary Lake Winnibigoshish is one of the best fishing and family fun resorts in Minnesota. With spring thaw getting a headstart at most northern Minnesota resorts, we expect to see an excellent turnout for fishing opener on May 13, 2017. Click here for licensing and state fishing regulation information.
The best thing about being one of the resorts on Lake Winnie is that premium fishing awaits you just outside your cabin door. For almost 60 years, Lake Winnie held the state’s muskellunge record; caught in 1957 and weighing in at 54 lbs, measuring 56 inches long. If you’ve got your mind set on walleye fishing in northern Minnesota, you’ve come to the right place to bring back some keepers! Other popular species you’ll catch include yellow perch, northern pike, bluegill and crappie, to name just a few. We can also recommend an experienced fishing guide for you, most of whom are available for full or half day excursions.
It would be remiss to only boast about the fishing on Lake Winnie, though. Whether you’d like to go for a freshwater swim, tour the lake by kayak, or have a sunset campfire overlooking the big lake, Northland Lodge has got you covered. Guests of all ages love our heated pool complete with a waterslide and sun deck to soak up the rays. We are one of the only resorts on Lake Winne that is also pet-friendly, making us the best choice in family fun resorts.
Whatever the reason for your escape, plan to stay at the historic Northland Lodge on beautiful Lake Winnibigoshish. But don’t wait! Check our availability and book your stay before it’s too late! We’re looking forward to seeing you here.
It might seem premature to start thinking about summer vacation, but now is the perfect time to plan your getaway to one of the most inclusive Minnesota family resorts! Located on beautiful Lake Winnibigoshish (Lake Winnie to the locals), the historic Northland Lodge offers a little bit of something for everyone. Boasting more than 10,000 lakes, it’s rare to find a Minnesota resort with a swimming pool, but we’ve got you covered! Families can enjoy swimming in the waters of beautiful Lake Winnie, or splashing in our heated swimming pool complete with a waterslide.
Lake Winnie Resorts have the advantage of being located on one of Minnesota’s largest and most popular fishing lakes. Our guides can help you navigate the waters to find a “hot spot” throughout the season, recommending specific bait and tackle to catch that trophy walleye. Combine that with the peaceful setting of centuries-old pines nestled in the Chippewa National Forest, and you’ve got it made in the shade...quite literally.
This fall, our classic-yet-modern cabin interiors were updated with blue-stained red pine paneling, crafted from local timber. These upgrades add a stunning splash of style to our clean cabins, contributing just the right amount of “rustic” to our Lake Winnie resort. We also offer a well-kept campsite complete with RV hookups if that’s your style.
Whether you’re looking for an action-packed family escape or a relaxing fishing getaway, we hope to see you along the shores of Lake Winnie this summer! Book now to secure your spot before they fill up.
Lake Winnibigoshish has long been one of Northern Minnesota's most productive and reliable fisheries. It is centrally located here in Northern Minnesota, easily accessible from many landings and resorts, and at 55,000 acres it provides lots of big lake fishing opportunity, while remaining manageable and safe for first timers and small crafts.
Lake Winnie is one of Minnesota’s most resilient walleye fisheries, generating enough walleye production to meet the demand of thousands of anglers who visit the lake every year. Walleye eggs are harvested each spring at the Cutfoot Sioux Egg Harvest Station, then hatched at the Grand Rapids Hatchery. These fry are so abundant and healthy that they are used to stock not just Winnie, but dozens of other lakes, accounting for improved walleye fishing throughout the area. Without the walleye fry from the Cutfoot Sioux walleye run, many Minnesota lakes simply wouldn’t have fishable populations.
A well-researched protected slot limit (walleye measuring from 17 to 26 inches must be returned), means that Winnie offers folks an opportunity to catch the best healthy young fish for eating (under the slot) as well as have a chance at a great trophy. Don’t worry, there are plenty big fish 18” and over ready to be caught out there.
Stay tuned to our blog for more fishing tips and stories. In our future posts, we’ll talk about cold water tips for walleye opener, and after that, what to do as things heat up in June. Happy spring!
Interested in booking an early season stay at Northland Lodge? Contact us today
Fingerling image and lots of great wildlife photos thanks to USFWS Mountain Prairie
Thanks to our friend Jeff Sundin, aka The Early Bird Fishing Guide, as the main source of info for this post. Book a trip with Jeff this spring!
Want to catch a big one too? Here is some advice from friends who are currently fishing the lake:
“The lake is cooling down, and the fishing is picking up every day. We fished several parts of the lake including Cut Foot, the fish are on shoreline reefs and weed beds. Our best areas were in 8 to 10 feet of water pulling spinners over the weeds. Didn't matter if we were pulling minnows or crawlers over the weeds behind spinners. Overall it was a great week” - Tim Zwieg
Thanks to lake-link.com for the great pro insight.
Jigs or spinners with minnows are turning walleyes along the north-shore breaks in 8 to 14 feet. The points along the west side are giving up walleyes in 9 to 15 feet and some fish continue to be caught on the main-lake bars during midday hours. The Williams Narrows area is giving up crappies, perch are being found in 3 to 10 feet, and pike are hitting spoons or minnows on the 6 to 8 foot weedlines.
Thanks to outdoornews.com for the tips.
Is there a secret to late summer fishing?
The summer lake environment is constantly changing, and walleyes react accordingly. To stay with the fish, anglers need to be willing to change how and where they fish for walleyes, and keep an open mind.
Transition- As walleyes vacate early season hideouts, in favor of deeper summer haunts, there’s a period of time when fish are in transition. As more and more fish show up at their new “home for the summer“ the action, once you find it, can only get better. With an increase in numbers, your chances for finding a few active ones greatly increases. Walleyes don’t all do the same thing at the same time, and when it comes to feeding movements, it’s like they take turns. Some will be totally inactive, some may be starting to stir a little but won’t move far to take a bait, and others may be extremely aggressive and willing to take just about anything you put in front of them. Those fish can help you determine a school’s location, and identity.
Summer Locations- Summer location can include deep, offshore structure, like sunken islands, bars and humps. Look for structures that have most of their mass above the thermocline. Structure that is too deep will see little walleye activity, if any, until after the fall turnover. Larger structures will often out produce the smaller ones, simply because they can offer more feeding opportunities for ‘eyes on the prowl. However smaller ones can be easier to fish, because of their simplicity.
Searching- One of the best places to start your search, is near a break line that drops quickly into deeper water. The top of deep structure can play host to perch, bait fish, insects and crayfish. Active walleyes will often be found cruising the top edge of a break, where they can quickly move up to grab a bite to eat.
Another place that is often overlooked is the transition line where hard bottom meets soft. Where gravel or rock changes to mud or silt, a transition line is created, and can concentrate fish.
Doing the same things in the same places, time after time, will probably yield less than satisfactory results.
Presentations- Rigging and jigging may still produce, but quicker methods like trolling spinners, really start to pick up. Rising water temps can push walleyes’ metabolisms to the boiling point, and increase the chances that he’ll react to a speedier technique. Try a spinner and live bait combo. Spinners possess an element of speed. A method is to use a spinner and bottom bouncer combination. A bouncer can get a bait where you want it, and run relatively snag-free. Bouncers in the two to three ounce range are the ticket, and allow the user to keep the bait close to the boat.
Feeding- In mid-summer walleyes continue to feed, and do so more heavily than at any other time of the year. The key is to find them, and then find out what they want. Quite often, something with a little speed is effective this time of year. With an abundance of food the metabolisms of walleye and their prey are increasing.
Bait- The odds on favorite bait for dressing a spinner rig, is a big fat juicy night crawler. Leeches and minnows can still work. You just have to try a variety.
Paraphrased from: Secrets To Summer Walleyes, by Ron Anlauf
Looking to snag a big Walleye this season? The best bait might just be a leech on a jig but we have put together a list of great Walleye lures for you to try on your next visit to Lake Winnie. Don’t let that big keeper get away this summer!
Cordell Wally Diver
Use When: Casting or trolling
Lindy Fuzz-E Grub Jig
Use When: Bobber or trolling (tip with minnow or crawler)
Terminator T1 Spinner bait
Use When: Trolling through trees
Lindy Slick Jig
Use When: Trolling and jigging
Strike King Redeye Shad
Use When: Trolling through shallow water
Rapala Shad Rap (No. 7 & No. 5)
Use When: Trolling
Rapala Husky Jerk
Use When: Casting or trolling
Reef Runner Little Ripper
Use When: Trolling shallows
Come try out these great walleye lures on the waters of Lake Winnie and plan your summer stay today at Northland Lodge.