Thousands of years ago, Lake Agassiz covered millions and millions of acres of land in Minnesota, North Dakota, Ontario and Manitoba. As time passed, it shrunk down in size to leave us with many smaller lakes, probably the most popular of which is Lake of the Woods. Over a million acres of water that are home to a plethora of species: Walleyes, Sauger, Pike, Perch, Crappies, Small Mouth Bass, Large Mouth Bass, Sturgeon, Lake Trout, Whitefish, and of course Muskies.
Many have proclaimed that Lake of the Woods is the best Musky lake in the US or Canada. While I don’t know how anyone would ever be able to prove that type of a statement, I can tell you I have fished it a bunch; on the best day we caught nine of them and missed others. It seems like every spot that looks like it should have a fish at some point in time does. Whether they are willing to bite is another thing.
Does that mean it’s easy? First rule: nothing about musky fishing is easy. You need to put in your time and pattern them like any other fish; they can be doing lots of different things at the time you’re fishing for them. But frankly, there are so many muskies there that you can do things wrong and still catch one.
In any event, I selected my super close friend, Spence Petros, the best Musky fisherman I know, as my guest, and selected Wiley Point Lodge as our home away from home. Wiley is one of the four lodges owned by the Brown family, Eric Sr. being the patriarch and his family running most things these days. Dustin Brown runs Wiley Point. I have stayed there before they remodeled the place and it’s like a whole different destination. The lodge is in a beautiful setting—almost everything is fairly new: cabins, dining hall, bar, dock system, and your every need is covered. Even if you have boat trouble, they have guys who can fix a lot of things.
It’s some 30-plus miles across the lake from Totem where you dock at, and there is nothing there but the lodge. Perfect! You can bring your own boat and go on your own as we did, rent one of their boats, or hire one of their very knowledgeable guides. Darn near anything you want to do, they can accommodate you in style.
The fish were not wanting to do their job though, nor was our luck. Oh, we found lots of muskies, saw a couple dozen with some interest in what we were doing, but most would simply follow enough to get you good and teed off at them and disappear without ever trying to open their mouths. We did catch a couple nice fish, but about one out of 10 would bite. And I should mention here that if anyone knows how to make a following musky bite it’s Spence. He is also the most deviant fisherman I know. He has so many tricks and little things he does, he totally amazes me. Maybe that’s why he loves muskies so much—no question, they think with a deviant mind as well.
The third morning, we went out and nearly every place that we hit we saw a fish. They were maybe starting to turn on, I hoped. We had a whole milk run of spots we knew had a fish on them now. Time to make hay. That’s about the time my entire sonar system went blank. We screwed around with it for a while, then went back to the lodge. After a few hours of dinking around, we got them working (at least we thought so), and we took off, trying to take a shortcut to a spot we had saw a real good one.
My mind was totally on that fish when I hit the unmarked rock pile that took my lower unit out. No fixing this—they towed us back to Totem the next day. I know that if we could have had the extra day and a half, we would have caught several more fish—we had at least 20 found and a couple were big fish, over 50 inches.
We have worked with the Brown family many times over the years and every trip has been great. They are by far the largest resort in Ontario when you realize that Wiley Point, Totem, and Yellow Bird are all owned by the same family and take thousands of folks fishing every year. They have the outfitting part to a science and Lake of the Woods as their favorite fishing hole. Things don’t get any better than that!
Wiley Point Lodge
120 Totem Rd.
Sioux Narrows, Ontario P0X1N0