Lake of the Woods Walleye Fishing


A lot of exciting things have happened to Lake of the Woods' Walleye fishery in the past twenty or more years. The implementation of stricter possession and size limits, the creation of fish sanctuaries to protect spawning Walleyes, habitat restoration, elimination of commercial fishing and the conservation attitude of anglers have all contributed to restoring Lake of the Woods back to one of the top Walleye fishing destinations in Ontario.

Although we only fish a small portion of it, Lake of the Woods is a big lake with 65,000 miles of shoreline and 14,000 islands. It's the structure under the surface of the water that really makes it a great Walleye lake. There is such a large diversity of different environments within boating distance of the fishing lodge that it's easy to find structure that you will not only feel comfortable fishing but also have the equipment and techniques to be successful. There are rocky points, shoals, deep sunken reefs, sand bars and sandy wild rice fields that drop off into deeper dark water. In some areas you will find deeper weedy plateaus that are dotted with humps and rock piles. If there is a specific type of structure that you like to fish in, you will probably be able to find it here. Harris Hill Resort is strategically located near the best Walleye hotspots, which is why we have an high percentage of guests who return every year.

In some areas, Walleye are also known as Pickerel, and are native to Lake of the Woods. Walleye fillets are prized for their mild taste, and are the most common fish used for a shore lunch.

Walleye fishing is one of the biggest draws to our lodge because Walleyes in our area of Lake of the Woods are found in good numbers and great sizes. Walleyes are common in the 2 to 3-pound range on some days, and some days you can't catch anything under 5.5 - 10 pounds. In a lake with a fair population of large predatory fish (Muskie & Northern Pike) the bigger Walleyes are the braver and on some days when the predators are active the average size Walleye being caught will actually be bigger. Sauger are also found in the same areas as the Walleye are. They are not as common and are much smaller but you will catch a few while Walleye fishing.

View difference between Walleye and Sauger (Walleye/Sauger Photo)

Lake of the Woods' claim-to-fame is the availability of gigantic trophy Walleyes. It is common some weeks that guests catch and release many Walleye over 30 inches and over 10 pounds. It's a big lake and big lakes produce big fish. Staying a week at Harris Hill Resort and targeting Walleyes at the hot spots should produce a trophy fish. Big Walleyes have big eyes and are a lot more sensitive to light so they tend to stay deeper during the day and come into the shallows in the evening, at night or on dull overcast days. During the day you will increase your chances of catching a trophy if you fish a little deeper off the areas where you are catching smaller Walleyes in the shallows.


When talking about describing how many Walleyes you can catch in a day; a number of factors will affect your fishing success. If you are new to the lake then we will point you in the right direction and discuss what the Walleyes are hitting for that time of year. If you are fishing shallower, then morning and evening are best. If you are fishing deeper, then you will catch more during the day. One big factor is the Muskie and Northern Pike feeding patterns. These fish are the apex predators in the lake and they feed the best when there is stable weather for a few days. They will slow down when there are changes in weather and that is when the Walleyes become brave and start feeding aggressively. Depending on how good a fisherperson you are, how many hours and how much effort you put in, On an average day you should easily catch between 10 and 25 Walleyes. After a weather change such as a high pressure system moving in producing hot sunny days, guests have been known to catch over 50 - 100 Walleyes each in a day. Again we must stress that the average size Walleye is much bigger than most lakes in Ontario and the potential for a trophy is very good. Walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods is both quality and quantity.

Walleye Tips to Get you Started

In the spring, after they spawn, they are found along boulders and sand shorelines. The most successful approach to catching walleye in early spring is using a 3/8 oz jig tipped with a minnow. Fishing shorelines in 3-7 feet of water using a jig and minnow or jig and a leech is very effective. Another successful technique is shallow water crank baits eg (storm hot and tots, rapala husky jerks, rapala shad rap, mepps spinners. Spinner jigs and gold spinners with a minnow or sometimes worms, seem to be successful.

Over the summer the walleyes move. For a short time while the weather changes they can be caught along weed beds and in the Bay right in front of the Lodge. This is generally in mid June to mid July, depending on the year and the weather.

Usually by the end of June or mid July they start to show up on the reefs where they can be caught through August or September. Summer time walleye fishing is typically done on reefs or humps at 15' to 20'. We find using a gold jig and a minnow with a snap swivel or barrel swivel technique the most effective. Try 3/8 oz or 1/2 oz Jigs or spinners tipped with bait are the most common lures. They love live minnows, worms and leeches. Gold is usually the main color they prefer here on Lake of the Woods, however pink, blue, white and chartreuse are effectively used also.

Fall walleye fishing often resembles spring fishing, as Walleye move just off their spring shallow spots to bays and inlets. Again the most effective technique is again, a jig and a minnow.

For Walleye and Sauger, always fish on the bottom or within a few feet off the bottom of the lake. Walleye and Sauger are bottom feeders. Our guests spend a lot of time fishing our Bay, Snake Island, Tommy's Rock, Tomahawk Island, Gooseneck Island as well as many other secret spots.

Whether it's a trophy fish you're after, or just want to catch enough for a delicious Canadian shore lunch, we can help you find that perfect Lake of the Woods Walleye fishing spot.

The Master Angler Award program recognizes the efforts of fishermen catching Walleye 25" and over, and the season is open the 3rd Saturday in May until April 14th.