The stunning international waters of Lake of the Woods and Rainy River provide some of the best fishing in the world. Anglers flock here year-round in search of that elusive record catch.
The waters near the Northwest Angle & Islands are home to a variety and volume of fish. Walleye and muskie are king here, but exceptional smallmouth bass, northern pike and crappie fishing can be found, too.
The South Shore is home to trophy walleye and northern. During the winter months, anglers can ice fish to their hearts' content for walleye and sauger during the day or all night long in comfortable condos. Or they can add variety by checking out the hot northern pike action in tip-up and spearing houses.
The Rainy River, which meanders between Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, forms a natural boundary between the U.S. and Canada. In the winter, the river holds ice fishermen in toasty houses, while spring heralds a fishing frenzy for pre-spawn walleyes near Franz Jevne State Park.
Lake of the Woods offers some of the best year round fishing you can find. Fish the ice early December to late March, Dive right into River Fishing for Spring/Fall and venture out to Lake for the warm summer bite. You can find Walleye, Northern Pike, Sturgeon, Sauger, Perch and more…
While there are no mountains near Lake of the Woods “and even small hills are scarce” the area does offer several routes for mountain biking. The forest roads surrounding the Faunce State Forest Campground, about 13 miles south of Williams, offer several loop routes up to about 30 miles in length. Potential users of these roads should be aware that forestry is a major industry in this area, and logging trucks frequently use these roads during the week, so weekends may be a better choice than week days. Also, there are several hunter walking trails in the area that are open to non-motorized vehicle use. Snowmobile trails are generally not suited to bike travel since many of these trails travel through very wet areas. With the invention of fat tire bikes early ice fishing is accessible on the lake. Fat tire bikes allow anglers or hunters to travel long distances where foot travel is difficult to reach.
The historic Rainy River is the original “Voyageur’s Highway,” which linked the entire Great Lakes area with the northern waterways of Canada. Lake of the Woods hosted early trading posts in the 1700’s and is still the living legacy for this era. Getting out on the water is a great way to experience all of the history and nature Lake of the Woods has to offer.
Cross Country Skiing
Zipple Bay State Park, located 10 miles northeast of Williams, maintains over 12 miles of groomed ski trails during the winter months. The trails wind through scenic areas of vast stands of pine, spruce and birch trees. You can enjoy the gently sloping topography of the park. Seasonal ski passes may be obtained by calling 888-646-6367, or you may purchase your season pass in person at Zippel Bay State Park. Starting in February, a moonlight ski is planned each month, offering an incredible view of the moonlit trails.
We are proud to invite you to the Oak Harbor Golf Course which is situated along the Rainy River, challenging both U.S. and Canadian golf enthusiasts. This beautiful 18 hole, par 72 championship course will provide golfers of all skill levels and abilities with fair, enjoyable and exciting golf experiences. The vintage front nine, created in 1968, offers a true and natural layout nestled along the Rainy River with scenic fairways carved into mature and heavily wooded confines. The newly designed back nine is a Scottish link style with fairway and greenside bunkers, large ponds and quick greens. It features a fairway bunker that is self-proclaimed to be the world’s largest walleye attraction. Located 9 miles north of Baudette, Minnesota on Highway 172. The course itself is 6549 yards long from the tips.
Hunting & Trapping
Lake of the Woods has some of the best hunting in the world for deer, bear, waterfowl, three species of grouse, and more!
Grouse and Small game hunting. The hunting season for small game including three species of grouse, rabbits and squirrels. Ruffed grouse are the most common of the three species and are all over the area. They are prevalent, delicious to eat and live amongst the hundreds of thousands of acres of public hunting woods around the area.
Spruce grouse tend to frequent more of the pine forests and are a very dark meat. Sharp Tailed Grouse tend to frequent more agriculture land and although , but in isolated pockets. Here’s a great video showing the opportunities in Lake of the Woods County! The ruffed grouse are the holy grail of the forest in Northern MN! A blast to hunt and boy are they prevalent! Get your shotguns ready and start practicing because trying to hit a ruffed grouse after a flush can be one of the most challenging but rewarding birds to hunt. And they taste pretty good too!
Minnesota’s northernmost scenic drive travels from Voyageurs National Park along the Canadian border. Ideal for motorcycling, anglers, boaters, birders and wildflower lovers, the route runs along the Rainy River from International Falls to Baudette, through fields of lady’s slippers from Baudette to Warroad, and along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail west of Warroad. ZippelBay State Park has a 3-mile long beach on Lake of the Woods. This massive lake is known for its fishing, as is the Rainy River. The roadside between Baudette and Warroad blooms with wildflowers, and the area west of Warroad is part of the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail. The western end of the byway heads north on Hwy. 59 to Lake Bronson State Park. Numerous resorts surround Voyageurs National Park and Lake of the Woods, two of the route’s key attractions. The “Dancing Sky” refers to the aurora borealis, or northern lights, which frequently appear in the area thanks to its far-northern location and absence of bright city lights.
Chartered fishing trips are a huge advantage for motorcycle enthusiasts. Booking a chartered fishing trip with one of our many resorts is a blast in itself. Charter fishing trips include all the gear you may need while fishing. Guides supple boats, poles, tackle, bait, and more. The only thing you need to pack is clothes for the different types of weather. All you have to do is get there! The northwest angle is also within reach by motorcycle. Driving through Canada to the northwest angle is also a beautiful drive with great scenery.
Water Sports, Beaches And Pools
With over 65,000 miles of shoreline, Lake of the Woods is home to some of the best boating, wet biking, water sports and beaches in Northern Minnesota. Play in the sand at Zippel Bay State Park or at one of our resort and enjoy a beautiful view of the lake, or try your hand at water skiing, wake boarding or jet skiing on a nice summer day.
How about a relaxing day by the pool? Several area resorts offer an outdoor pool for you to relax around while soaking up the sun.
Zippel Bay Resort
Lake of the Woods Campground
Lake of the Woods School
Arnesen’s Rocky Point
Zippel Bay State Park
Snowmobiling the Lake of the Woods area, some of the best trails in the state. Enjoy hundreds of miles of connected groomed trails. Our trails are true wilderness trails, as there is less than 5 miles of ditch riding on our trail system. Trails go as far up as the Northwest Angle, as far west as Warroad, south to Waskish and as far east as Big Falls and north up to International Falls.
To the west our trail system hooks up to the Roseau County groomed trails, as well as Kittson County groomed trails and on into North Dakota. To the south we hook up to Beltrami Island State Forest Trails, as well as hundreds of miles of logging trails.
Northwest Angle and Island areas are accessible from Lake of the Woods or the Can-Am Trail by snowmobile.To the east, the Northern Connection hooks up to the groomed Voyageur Trail West and Arrowhead Trail. Our area is unique by having Lake of the Woods and Rainy River, which both provide ample ice riding.
Some of the trails on this map are funded by the DNR through the Grant-in-Aid program using license fees and gas tax monies. The State of Minnesota, Lake of the Woods County, Koochiching County and private landowners are the people that make our trails possible. The trails on the map cross property of many private citizens, as well as lands which are administered by various levels of government. We owe the landowners our thanks and must respect their property.