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23rd year to Rainy River / Lake of the Woods

  • Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2075466

    23 Years to Lake of the Woods

    Well, where and how to start?

    I put my 23rd “By Invitation Only” trip in the books to Rainy River/ Lake of the Woods. I’ve stayed @ Ballard’s Resort every year for this trip. The accommodations are hard to beat in my opinion. With the group I’ve been with (Algona Marine and Sport) the discounted rates are very hard to beat too! Well maintained property and clean, meals are too large of proportions and prepared very well! Lightly smoked Prime Rib cut @ approx 1″ (best they have done to date), 6 to 8 oz steak and 6 shrimp (really tasty fantails), 1/4 chicken and 3-4 fall of the bone baby back ribs and the very best straight out of the cold lake water walleye fry that you will ever taste! Not kidding!! Ballard’s have consistently done the very best job of frying walleye of anywhere I’ve ever had.

    The weather was nearly the warmest that I’ve ever had for the 6 day trip, 2 days travel and 4 days on the water. 75 for a high one day and a 28 to 30 degree low for the last night before heading back home. All other days were in the 60’s to the upper 50’s and the lows were in the upper 30’s to 40’s. Wind was about normal that allowed 2 days out on the big water and 2 days of tuck back into the gap also known as 4 mile bay or in the river. If I could spend more days out in the big water I could post bigger girly pics but as the years have passed, the big girls were always found in the river as far up as Clementson to Birchdale on Rainy River. Now most of them are in the big water of the lake.

    Walleyes, Northern, Perch, Crappie, Eelpout (or Burbot), Muskie and Sturgeon will be the catch of the day. I target the walleyes. Bait and tackle is, lead head tipped with a couple of emerald shiners or plastics, bottom bouncers and spinners tipped with shiners, a worm or plastics, jigging raps with or without meat, crank baits either casting or being dragged. There are other ways to throw the whole tackle box at ’em too but, these are the most common. We catch dinks to 10 pounders (3 to date). Many 24″ to 29 7/8″ but, I have yet to crack the 30″ mark there!

    So another trip has passed with my boat that has given me so much pleasure to be in (22 of the 23 years). Nearly a flawless and mostly trouble free experience. But after 21 years and 10 months I must say goodbye to my trusted friend. I do not know to what will become of her and I believe she deserves a better fate than what may become.

    Pics to follow,

    Denny O

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    Charlie W
    Participant
    TRF / Pool 3 / Grand Rapids, MN / SJU
    Posts: 561
    #2075485

    Sounds like you had a great time! So nice up there when the weather cooperates later in the fall.

    Have you/your group noticed a decrease in average size or an increase in small fish in the last decade? It seems many people are becoming more concerned each year.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 3218
    #2075505

    did something happen to your boat Denny? i miss that place so thanks for a report. we too used to go there every fall for at least a decade but usually around Halloween, never this late. that river in the fall is magical especially with snow falling and covering the boat. seen many fish in the 20-28″ range and 90% in the river of course chasing them shiners. my money spot is right by the church and if you know, you know!
    i don’t think i will make it up there again for quite some time since my friend and fishing partner is no longer here.
    charlie, i have not noticed any decrease in size and i can’t remember a trip where we were not able to take a limit back to the cabin. i guess the last few trips, we never found those big fish in the 28″ range like previous years but those are special fish and they are there

    mxskeeter
    Participant
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts: 3516
    #2075532

    What’s up with the boat and wreckers Denny?
    Great write up and pics sir. waytogo

    Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2075543

    Two weeks prior to my lake of the woods trip I did a little trip to Truman lake to fish for crappies. We got caught in a pounding heavy downpour that was getting worse by the second. Heaviest rain that I’ve ever been in! We were already in rain gear and was fishing through it until I heard the heavy crack of thunder, “We’re outta here!” When there is thunder there is lighting, enough said.

    We were back in a cove minefield and tootled out to the channel. I find this pontoon with a 6ft wide totable that has a back rest in the channel. My windshield was completely fogged over on the inside. I’ve got my glasses off because of the rain (can’t see through them), a billed cap with my rain hood over it. My eyes are 6 inches from the top of the windshield, rain hitting my eyes and can just barely see the toon. Torrential downpouring now and thunder like crazy. l look down at the grafts map, I can’t really see what I’m looking at and my eyes are back on the toon, I try to (at a little more than idle) pass on hif left and he sways to the left. Now I have no idea if there are people on the float. I swing to the right and he stays left so I increase speed to clear him. No sooner than my bow is on its elevation upward and at maybe 10 to 15 mph I bang a tree in the bottom. 4″ wide 3 1/2 to 4 foot long and at least 3/4″ deep. Bent two of the structural I-beams and broke the cavitation plate. Dam, I just hung a brand new complete outdrive on the ole` girl 11 months ago!

    So any way, Insurance totaled the boat. A 1999 Lund 1950 Tyee Grand Sport w/ a Mercury 5.7 efi I/O drive. It floats, it runs but because of the depth of the upward stretch of the hull, I feel uneasy to keep it. How far can you bend the aluminum hull before it cracks and breaks? If course on the underside it just looks like a big assed dent but most of the interior visual is under the gas tank. How much open cracking is there? What if I kept it and went into the trees and just easily float over the next tree top and it gives way? Not interested!

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    iowaboy1
    Participant
    Posts: 3200
    #2075557

    I was sickened when I heard of this a while back, I had the privilege to be invited by Denny to go to LOTW with him a few years ago.
    Not only was it my first time there it was the first time I had seen waves that dang high on inland waters !!
    I had no fear of the captain or the boat but the idea we could be sunk at any moment was a bit concerning!!

    I also had the privilege to work on this beauty of a rig last year, we installed a new upper and lower unit, replaced the trim sensors, did a little tuning on the engine and winterized it.
    Everything said about Ballard’s is spot on, just wish I could order a big ole plate of their smoked chicken!!

    Here’s to a new adventure Denny !! toast

    Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2076153

    And of course Sheldon has already had his hands on my new girl shock that I introduced to my harem. jester
    Looks like I’ll be bringing her home tomorrow and I’ll start to give her some of my goodies that I’ve got stored up!

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    tomr
    Participant
    cottage grove, mn
    Posts: 1173
    #2076165

    Sorry to hear about your boat. It is hard to let the old reliable go, when you have miles on it and know how it responds to rough water. Your new boat is a real beauty!! Congratulations on 23 years to lake of the woods! Sounds like a lot of good times. Here’s to your successful 24th in your new boat toast

    Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2076169

    Thanks Tomr,
    My old boat was a 1999 Lund 1950 Tyee Grand Sport, 260 hp I/O Mercruiser,
    My new Boat is a 2007 Lund 1950 Tyee Magnum, w/ 225 Merc Opti outboard and a 9.9 kicker.
    I think I’ll feel right at home sliding on to her saddle.

    But get this,, All was new in 2007 and there are only 43 hours and 48 min on the 225 Opti!

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 5790
    #2076171

    She’s real nice Clark. Real nice. toast

    crappie55369
    Participant
    Mound, MN
    Posts: 4806
    #2076181

    did something happen to your boat Denny? i miss that place so thanks for a report. we too used to go there every fall for at least a decade but usually around Halloween, never this late. that river in the fall is magical especially with snow falling and covering the boat. seen many fish in the 20-28″ range and 90% in the river of course chasing them shiners. my money spot is right by the church and if you know, you know!
    i don’t think i will make it up there again for quite some time since my friend and fishing partner is no longer here.
    charlie, i have not noticed any decrease in size and i can’t remember a trip where we were not able to take a limit back to the cabin. i guess the last few trips, we never found those big fish in the 28″ range like previous years but those are special fish and they are there

    Eyeguy I’m having a hard time locating your spot grin

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    Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2076183

    She’s real nice Clark. Real nice. toast

    Thanks my friend.
    I’ll be pulling the electronics off of it and put them on the open market.
    A 36v Terrova (101 pound thrust but I need to verify), 2 grafts and a gps mapping unit from Lowrance.

    Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2076184

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>eyeguy507 wrote:</div>
    did something happen to your boat Denny? i miss that place so thanks for a report. we too used to go there every fall for at least a decade but usually around Halloween, never this late. that river in the fall is magical especially with snow falling and covering the boat. seen many fish in the 20-28″ range and 90% in the river of course chasing them shiners. my money spot is right by the church and if you know, you know!
    i don’t think i will make it up there again for quite some time since my friend and fishing partner is no longer here.
    charlie, i have not noticed any decrease in size and i can’t remember a trip where we were not able to take a limit back to the cabin. i guess the last few trips, we never found those big fish in the 28″ range like previous years but those are special fish and they are there

    Eyeguy I’m having a hard time locating your spot grin

    He2xL, I know right exactly where! Whether it is the American church or the one on the Canadian side!! peace

    Denny O
    Participant
    Central IOWA
    Posts: 5362
    #2076185

    Eyeguy I’m having a hard time locating your spot grin

    Tee, He, he, Crappie!

    iowaboy1
    Participant
    Posts: 3200
    #2076201

    The new boat is awesome !! now where to put the Hawkeye emblem on the sides of that black beauty ???
    Hmmm, maybe not a good idea, might scare the fish away when they look up and see it.

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