Riege: Top of the World Walleye Capital

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A charter boat cruises through Lake of the Woods. -- Photo submitted by Sportsman’s Lodge


Lakes along the U.S. and Canadian border abound with ample amounts of walleyes. These lakes are some of the very best in the world for walleye fishing. But if I had to pick one lake it would be Lake of the Woods. The reason is that it will produce tons of walleyes each year, and it has as one of its main feeder arms the Rainy River. If you are fishing in spring, summer or fall don’t overlook the Rainy River for some of the best trophy walleye fishing around.

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These lakes can be tough, and Lake of the Woods is not a walk in the park, especially if you don’t fish walleyes a great deal, but the shallow reefs adjacent to deep water are a magnet to these magnificent table fare wonders. But one area that is overlooked by many people who usually fish walleyes shallow, are the deep water humps that Lake of the Woods has to offer.

Our first call to secure our vacation plans this year was to Tom and Jean Kratzke owners and operators of Randall’s Resort in Baudette, Minn. This past winter we stayed a couple of days with Tom and Jean and were privileged to experience their excellent ice fishing package as well as some great conversation about turkey hunting.

Tom and Jean are accomplished “turkey veterans” and when we can sit down with a cup of coffee in their lodge and talk about hunting “thunder chickens” it really gives us a feeling of being at home.

Randall’s Resort is a family run business with 11 full housekeeping cabins. In the cabins you will find a stove, full size refrigerator, electric coffee pot, microwave, dishes, pots and pans and utensils, dish soap, paper towels and kitchen linens. Each bedroom has two twin size beds, which have the linens, blanket and comforter on them. The bathroom features a tub/shower, stool, sink; and one set of towels is included for each guest. The dining area and living room in most units are together all units have a couch, table and chairs and direct TV.

If you don’t want to pull your boat up to Lake of the Woods, Randall’s Resort has boat rentals from a Jon boat to Charter fishing. If you select Charter fishing, we would recommend that you ask for Grant. Grant is the top guide at Randall’s and he can put you on some really good fish using spinners and bottom bouncers or down rigging.

The bait of choice is a big juicy nightcrawler, twirling behind a spinner on a double hook rig. Leeches and minnows can also be used, but it’s tough to beat a crawler, especially in the summer or early fall. To drag the whole package to the bottom and keep it in the fish zone, a variety of lead in different sizes and shapes is available. Yet, the bottom bouncer, an L shaped piece of wire with a lead weight on one end and an eye for attaching the line to the other end, has been the most popular approach for trolling spinner rigs. Bottom bouncers’ work well over rocks, sand, gravel and mud, in shallow to moderate depths.

If you are not interested in fishing there are a host of other activities. You can canoe or kayak and enjoy leisurely trips on bays at Randall’s Resort. Birding and wildflower viewing, or simple walks on the beach are great activities as well. Needless to say, you will love the great service and cozy, friendly atmosphere. For more information call (800) 718-9911 Reservations Only: Phone: (218) 634-1987 Tom & Jean Kratzke 3984 County Rd 8 NW Baudette, MN 56623 or thekratzkes@yahoo.com.

If you want a family vacation with more of the traditional north woods lodge feeling or you want to entertain clients for a corporate retreat visit Sportsman’s Lodge in Baudette. When you visit any of Sportsman’s three locations; Sportsman’s Rainy River, Eagle Ridge and Oak Island, regardless of the season, temperature, barometric pressure or any other factors…the Minnesota fishing here is legendary. From one season to another the only thing that changes is the approach, but the results are the same at Sportsman’s in Minnesota, a great catch.

Catching fish here is easy because they take care of everything: accommodations, meals, licenses, rods and reels, bait, tackle, fish cleaning and their guides will put you on the fish (and tell good stories too). All you have to do is show up.

Imagine spending the day bobbing along the waves; just you and five of your favorite friends, soaking up the sun, spending a summer day in style on a charter out of Sportsman’s Lodge on Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods. Nothing can compare to Minnesota fishing, with walleyes, saugers, and lake sturgeon.

Fish cleaning is also provided for your convenience and they are delivered right to your room.

We also enjoyed ice fishing out of Sportsman’s Lodge this past winter and our recommendation for winter or summer guide is Joe Pilkington Email Joe – info@sportsmanslodges.com. Joe is a very hard working young man that really enjoys putting his clients on to some great fishing.

The lodge features 30 motel rooms. Standard rooms have two double beds, a full bathroom, and television with HBO, writing table, chairs, and a freezer for your daily catch. All rooms are air-conditioned and receive daily maid service. The entire lodge, rooms & cabins are all nonsmoking for your enjoyment.

The two Honeymoon Suites are more distinguished for their VIP guests, with a king sized bed. The Executive Suite has a separate entertainment room, with small bar, large screen television and spacious meeting area – it’s the perfect place to entertain clients or get together with your group.

The 21 cabins offer a variety of floor plans. They have cozy one-bedroom units to the spacious 4-bedroom model for larger groups or families.

All towels and linens are furnished with daily maid service. Cabins are also equipped with a stove, refrigerator, dishes, shower, cable television and telephone. Pets are allowed, $15 per night.

Sportsman’s Lodge also offers an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, meeting space for up to 300 people, 16 charter boats, docking, 40 (winter) fish houses, gift shop, Len C river boat cruises, wedding services, charter busses, and spa services.

While fishing why not have the ultimate experience of a shore lunch? Enjoy watching your guide cook your fresh walleye over an open fire, accompanied by potatoes, beans, bread and cookies for dessert. Or, enjoy your fresh fish in our dining room or bar after a day’s trip.

Sportsman’s Lodge also offers an Adventure Package. On this adventure you can experience the fishing and lodging outside Baudette or Oak Island properties. Oak Island is on the Northwest Angle and you can fish adjacent to Canadian waters without a passport.

For more information or reservations contact: Sportsman’s Lodges, 3244 Bur Oak Road NW, Baudette, MN 56623, 866-533-8998 or www.sportsmanslodgelow.com.