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Trophy Walleye on Lake of the Woods

We hope that by providing you with this calendar, you will be able to plan your fishing trip at Ballard’s according to your preferred fishing method. Ballard’s provides the best in accommodations as well as year round fishing services.


Location…  Location…  Location…  Put yourself at the mouth of the Rainy River and take advantage of the post spawn walleye run.  Walleyes are coming out of the river and heading back to the main lake.  Starting with the mid-May opener, expect to find easy-to-catch walleyes in the confines of the Rainy River or along the channel that empties into Lake of the Woods.

  • Bring your own boat or take a guided trip.
  • Live bait fishing with jigs and minnows is the norm…
  • Typically you throw an anchor, sit tight, wait for the walleyes to move through, and tick tick tick vertical jig the soft bottom.
  • Anticipate steady action on walleyes when post spawn is occurring. Primarily male walleye will dominate the catch, with your occasional trophy fish being mixed into the equation.
  • Spring fishing can offer an excellent opportunity for a trophy class female.  Much depends on date of “ice out” (early / late).
  • Guided Walleye Fishing Packages include: lodging in housekeeping cabins, fishing 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with Coast Guard licensed guide, angling equipment, bait, tackle, on-board restroom, and fish packaging


Early June marks the onset of shoreline activity in the main lake and is one of the most productive times of the year for walleye. As the month progresses you will fish further into the walleye flats of Big Traverse Bay, and possibly mix in the occasional island point, or near-shore rock rubble reef.

  • June is a definite numbers game… And as the weather heats up… So do the walleyes!
  • Years ago we would have said “go to the shallow shorelines” and drift spinner harnesses with night crawlers or minnows.  This is no longer the case.  Go to the flats.  Fish deep.  Anchor and vertical jig.
  • The tendency these past few seasons, for whatever reason (most likely food source), is for the better concentrations of walleyes to migrate deeper sooner.  We’re talking 30-35ft depths in front of Lighthouse, Morris, Zippel.  These are major staging areas within close proximity to Ballard’s Resort.
  • Our guided charter boat service gives you the advantage of quality angling in luxury.  Fish with the area’s most experienced guides and enjoy the day in comfort.  The ever popular shore lunch is a great plan to complete a perfect day!


Warmer water temperatures move walleyes further off-shore to the deeper mid-lake mud flats and rock reefs. This is TROPHY time on Lake of the Woods!  Repeat…  This is TROPHY time on Lake of the Woods!  Warm weather makes BIG FISH bite!

  • Mid-summer calls for HOT walleye fishing. We see more fish & more trophy class fish during this two month span, than any other timeframe throughout the summer season.
  • Our most POPULAR techniques… Hook-n-line fishing over rock reefs… Using bottom bouncers / spinner harnesses / night crawlers.  Or anchoring and jigging deep edges of islands and or deep reefs…  Then again, it might be back to the mud flats.  Walleyes can be found anywhere and everywhere during mid-summer!
  • If you love to put a pole in your hands and jig fish, and you’re looking for one of the most exciting opportunities in walleye fishing, then July and August are your times to visit.
  • Guided Charter Boat Excursions are popular because we put you on the fish! We use 27’ Sportcrafts, equipped with all the necessary fishing equipment, rods, reels, bait, tackle, state of the art electronics, and on-board restroom facilities.
  • Our Coast Guard licensed guides fish the lake year-round and provide the professional service that assure you of a quality angling adventure.
  • Again, this is traditionally considered our finest trophy season.  Catch a ten pound walleye!


September is a transition period. Depending on water temperatures, fish can remain in mid-summer patterns or begin fall behavior.  A great month to give chase…

  • The late summer days of early September offer excellent opportunities for consistent walleye fishing.  Typically you can hold tight to structure and find solid numbers, meaning larger schools of actively feeding fish.
  • You may find multiple techniques produce walleyes.  Drifting spinners…  Jigging the flats…  Anchoring the mud…  Walleyes are generally moving with the bait and transitioning to more predictable fall locations.
  • September is a great time to visit.  Very little fishing pressure on the lake.  Often a migration of activity beginning to take place closer to the south shore basin.
  • Later into the month, the last week or so, you will traditionally begin to see walleyes staging for their fall migration upstream.  Much of this “unpredictability” depends on water temperatures, weather patterns, and food source.  The past couple years the best fishing seems to hold, for the most part, in areas similar to mid-June.  Close to the south shore, but staying relatively deep, and the fish have had a tendency to withhold from actually “going shallow” or moving into the bay / river areas.
  • September is most notable for our ever popular “Fall Classic” guided fishing packages!  A long standing tradition at Ballard’s Resort.


Make your reservations early! Falling temperatures during the month of October put walleyes on the move—and that means trophy time, right at our doorstep!  Cool mornings…  Afternoon warm ups…  Cool evenings…  Even the fish know that our seasons are changing!

  • Walleyes follow baitfish out of the lake and into the confines of the Rainy River.  Some years this may take fish on a journey of forty to fifty miles up-stream!  That’s a swim!  It’s a similar pattern to what we see in spring with the annual “spawn run”.
  • Compared to April, the overall numbers are usually less concentrated.  There is a chance at a trophy in the river, but lately your odds seem better if you concentrate more effort in the main basin.
  • Vertical jigging while anchoring is a successful method for fall fishing.  You anchor up…  Put on an emerald shiner minnow…  Keep an eye on the sonar…  And wait for the fish to move through in intermittent waves.  Quite fun!
  • Without a doubt this is another popular “trophy season”. A time to chase monster walleyes on Lake of the Woods.
  • Ice up generally takes place sometime early to Mid-November.


During the winter months of December and January, the hottest action in the Midwest is guided winter angling. Stay in cozy cabins, ride out to select fishing spots in toasty track vehicles, and fish in heated angling houses. Catches include walleye, sauger, and the occasional perch.

  • First-ice walleyes start shallow near the shorelines and eventually move deeper as the season progresses.
  • Early morning, mid-day, and late afternoon are most productive.
  • Walleyes are located near channel areas and deeper mud flats. As for saugers, expect higher numbers and more consistent action throughout the day.


During the winter months of February and March, we roam over miles of Big Traverse Bay, continuing our search for walleyes & saugers. Our fish houses are among the best on the lake! And our guides are second to none…

Here at Ballard’s Resort we have taken the winter fishing industry to a new level. Our commitment to service is complimented by the great pride we have in our ability to “track fish”, move our fleet, stay with the more active schools of fish, and see to it that you have the best experience possible on Lake of the Woods.

  • The past few seasons we have spent most of our effort fishing structure in the northern stretches of Big Traverse Bay.
  • Deep shoals, island points, flats adjacent to the reefs…  All are good landing areas for potential feeding fish.
  • Continue basic jigging techniques over mud flats or near rock reefs.
  • Saugers stand out as the most active and sought-after species.
  • Late winter walleyes return to the shallows and prepare for the spring run.


April showers bring May flowers!

  • Fish houses must be removed from the lake by April 1st.
  • Spring ice out finds fishermen in boats chasing TROPHY walleye in the confines of the Rainy River.
  • The action generally begins east of Baudette and progresses more toward the resort as river ice continues to disappear.
  • Spring run-off can have an effect, as water clarity in the river is a major contributor when it comes to a successful walleye bite.
  • Walleye season closes on April 14th.
  • Get ready for summer fishing!