It’s been a few years since I’ve been up to Reid’s Birch Island Resort. My friends, Lizanne and Phil Reid, operate this incredible facility. Since we were last up there they’ve built a new bar, and they’ve also got a covered deck and sitting area that is a nice addition to his already comfortable and storied resort.
One of the things about this particular place is that when you get out onto Birch Island, you are secluded and remote enough, yet not that far from civilization. The village of Minaki is maybe a mile away and it has a store, a marina, and all the things that you might need. Of course they’ve got everything you need on the island as well, including guides, boats, superb meals, and lodging. It’s just a short drive north of Kenora to the village of Minaki. What I really like about this place is that you’re never going to go there and not catch fish.
On this particular trip I invited Jim Lacey and his son, TJ, up with me. They work with the folks at Tracker Marine and, as part of that, they are reps for Ranger Boats, which I have used for my entire career. We took a new boat, a welded Ranger VX 1888 aluminum boat, on this trip.
I’d also invited Darrin Bohonis, who is a fishing tackle rep out of Winnipeg as well as a professional photographer, along on this trip so we could do a photo and video shoot with the new boat while we were filming an episode of the Real Fishing Show.
One of the things about a place like Birch Island Resort is that you have to make the decision of whether you’re going to fish for walleyes, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pike, muskies, or crappie—because all of those species are available on the Winnipeg River system. On this trip we decided that we would do some smallmouth bass and walleye fishing.
When it comes to packing for smallmouth bass, your traditional tube jigs, Ned rigs, Berkley Generals, and dropshot rigs are all going to catch fish for you. If you prefer live bait, Reid’s provides nightcrawlers, minnows, and leeches, and these are all excellent choices, especially if the bite is tough.
We caught a lot of smallmouth on our trip, and on the last day I got a chance to go out with Chris Gaune. Chris is a guide who has been with Reid’s for a number of years and he is a “fish-head.” He’s one of those guys who eats, sleeps and drinks fishing. He had just got himself a new Ranger 620 FS and was pretty excited to show me his new boat. We ended up going out and catching a bunch of walleyes on the last morning, even though we were faced with a cold front and some pretty windy conditions.
Another thing about this place is that there’s always a spot to fish, no matter what the weather brings you. You can go into the river or around some of the many islands to get out of the wind, and that’s precisely what we did. We fished off of a point on the calmer side of the lake and caught a nice mess of walleyes.
We even caught walleyes and smallmouth right of the dock. One day we were getting a couple of shots of the new Ranger boat on the water right in front of the resort and I don’t know how many fish we caught right there, 30 feet off of the dock, on jigs and dropshot rigs. To me, that usually says something about how good the fishing really is.
When you go to a place like Reid’s Birch Island Resort, and when you get treated royally, as all of their guests do, you can’t help but want to go back. I’m sure they get a lot of repeat customers. Reid’s offers everything on the checklist including great fishing, excellent cuisine, professional guides, and some of the nicest rental fishing boats that you’ll ever encounter at a resort. It really is the “full meal deal.”