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Slabs of the Northwest Angle

                 Mark Romanack
Lake of the Woods is known for producing not only numbers of crappie, but also slabs like these.
              When anglers think of crappie fishing, chances are they are thinking of classic waters in the south like Lake Grenada in Mississippi, Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee or Kentucky Lake on the Kentucky border. The truth is the far north has some exceptional crappie fisheries and leading that charge is Lake of the Woods sandwiched between the Ontario and Minnesota borders.
            A tiny corner of Lake of the Woods known as the “Northwest Angle” is becoming a destination every crappie fishermen needs to visit. Ironically, one of the best times to fish for crappie on Lake of the Woods is during the winter months. Crappie are a warm water species, but they feed actively during the winter and it’s at this time of year they form into huge schools. For the crappie angler who likes to get bit often and pull slab after slab from the ice hole, it doesn’t get any better than Lake of the Woods.
Crappie like this are amazingly abundant at Lake of the
Woods near a destination known as the Northwest Angle.
The northern most part of MN, this little slice of heaven is
 a dream come true for hard core ice fishermen.

            Last winter the Fishing 411 crew visited the Northwest Angle and Sunset Lodge to experience this fishery first hand. Just getting to this place is an adventure in of itself. To reach Sunset Lodge you travel north to Baudette, Minnesota, cross the border into Manitoba, travel for about an hour and actually cross the border again into Minnesota.
            Believe it or not, the travel adventure isn’t over yet. Once you reach the Northwest Angle region of Lake of the Woods, you can only reach Sunset Lodge by traveling across the “ice road” which connects the mainland to this and many other fishing resorts. The ice road is plowed and well marked. Once you arrive at Sunset Lodge you’re in Minnesota waters, but the best crappie fishing actually takes place in the nearby Ontario waters of Lake of the Woods!
            If all this travel seems ridiculous the fishing is ridiculously good and worth every minute of the travel. Sunset Lodge is a full service resort providing lodging, meals, a bar, bait, transportation on and off the ice and of course seasoned fishing guides.
            Crappie fishing on Lake of the Woods is generally so good that the guides rarely mess with live bait. Tungsten jigs tipped with soft plastic are the mainstay for icing a mess of slab crappie.
            A flasher or liquid crystal sonar unit is critical to finding fish and pinpointing the depth they prefer at the moment. Crappie are notorious for suspending in the water column and a good graph makes it possible to mark both fish and the lure in the water column. Without electronics an angler is literally fishing blind. 
Lake of the Woods is known for producing not
 only numbers of crappie, but also slabs like these.

            Fishermen interested in traveling to the Northwest Angle can get more information by visiting or The ice fishing in this region isn’t limited to just crappie fishing. Anglers will also find world class fishing for walleye, sauger and northern pike.