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  1. #1
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    LaBelle's Resort, Northwest Bay

    Dan and I just returned from our annual Canadian fishing trip. This year we stayed at LaBelle's Birch Point Resort on the Northwest Bay of Rainy Lake. Neither of us had ever been on this lake before and we probably should have hired a guide for the first day or two but didn't. The folks at the resort gave us some pointers on places to try and nearly every one of them produced fish. We spent a lot of time checking out different areas of the lake and trying to find more trophy caliber fish, but we still caught good numbers of walleyes and northerns (and small perch). The bass bite was very slow as they have just finished spawning and were not very cooperative. For the 7 days of fishing, we caught 17 walleyes over 20", 18 northerns over 28", and 12 bass over 15 inches. The slot limit for keeping walleyes was 35 to 45 cm (13.8 to 17.7 inches) and we caught dozens of fish in that size range. The last day of fishing we had a hot bite in three different areas and had 5 or 6 "doubles" during the day. Here are photos of some of the best fish we caught:


    Dan with a 29" walleye taken on a white X-Rap on a planer board the first day.


    Steve with a 37" pike taken casting a 4" silver shallow shad rap.


    Dan with a 19" smallie taken on a jig.

    The resort is located about 35 miles north and west of Fort Frances, Ontario and has both cabins and camping available. Because we didn't book our trip very early, we ended up tent camping for the first 4 days and then staying in a trailer for the next 4 days. The camping at the resort is really geared more towards seasonal campers with mobile homes but it has a freezer and shower facilities as well as electrical hook ups. Dale LaBelle is the owner and his daughter and son-in-law help him run the resort. He fishes in several bass tournaments on the lake every year and seems quite knowledgable about smallmouth fishing. He and his son-in-law Jodi do most or all of the guiding for the resort. They have a website at: http://www.labellescamp.com/

  2. #2
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    Great job guys, those are some awesome looking fish!
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  3. #3
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    Here are some more photos and info to add. We normally go further North, but changed plans since it was only my dad and I going this year to a closer lake. Rainy lake at least on the Canadian side around the Northwest Bay and North into Manitou is one of the neatest lakes that close to Minneapolis that I have seen, and very little fishing pressure and traffic for only 6 hrs. from the city. We stayed at Labelles camp out of Birch Point in the Northwest Bay (about 40 miles North of Fort Frances). I definitely plan to be back again. I can't imagine any better all around fishing along with the remote setting that close.

    The guys at Birch Point Labelles Camp are really good guys and when we go back again that is where we will be. Jodi marked the map in a few spots and we caught fish in all of them. Good luck to Dale in the Smallie Championship out of Fort Frances, that would be an awesome tourney to fish ($170,000 in prize money).

    Just an FYI on other resorts in the area for those looking - Camp Narrows is about 7 miles East of Labelles and is a boat-in resort. They boat in from Labelles. There also is a resort just a couple miles East of Labelles that is a smaller resort, Amik lodge.

    http://www.labellescamp.com

    if you can't get in at Labelles, the other 2 in the area are:
    http://www.campnarrows.com
    http://www.amiklodge.com/

    Back to the fishing...
    Smallies were coming off the spawn and pretty lethargic, best presentation for size was a Strike King Bitsy jig in 3/16, 1/4, and 5/16 weights with a craw trailer. At times this can be one of the very best smallie fisheries in the country, ranked the best in the country by some. Timing the smallie bite is a little tough and we talked to the owner Dale Labelle about it a bit. Some people looking may find this useful, early in the year when the fish are on the beds can be very good, but timing is everything. This would be towards the end of May normally. Fall seems more predictable for a good bite, end of Sept. into Oct.

    For numbers we picked up more on 1/8 and 1/4 oz. jigs (plain jigs not bass jigs) with Case white salty shad trailers. Worked them similar to hard jerk baits with the jerk-jerk-pause type retrieve for erratic action. #10 x-rap with an erratic retrieve and short pauses was a really good bait as well, white and silver seemed to be one of the preferred colors in that lake due to the high smelt population. Case craws also produced for us. Drop shot picked up some smaller fish with the smaller Case salty shads.

    Walleye fishing for numbers is about as good as you could expect to have anywhere.. 100 fish+ per boat days easy if you want to keep rigging all day.. we likely did that in 1/2 day, but didn't really keep track and never rigged for more than 1/2 day as we were looking for bigger fish.. most fish in that fast action bite were in that 14-18" class on livebait rigs.. with the occasional fish over 20". Biggest on livebait rigging I believe was 26". Trolling boards on the other hand didn't put numbers in the boat, but was far better for the piggies and big pike as well. We ended up trolling boards a great majority of the time looking for bigger eyes and that is how we got the bigger ones - including the 74 cm one pictured. Walleyes were in from 8-25', with the majority in either the 13' range outside of the weedline a bit on the break or along the 19-20' break. Some up in the weeds and right on the weed edges in 8-12'. Spinner rigs worked best for us as the fish were failry active most of the week. One guy would rig a crawler, while the other rigged a fathead. Gulp on the rigs also produced about equally as well.

    Most of the big pike came fishing boards for walleyes, but we got a few casting including the 37". We had a lot as mentioned above in that 30-35" range, but couldn't find one over 40. We also trolled spoons and some other larger baits on boards (huskie jerks).. Some of the larger walleye came on the huskie jerks behind boards.

    We fished the Northwest Bay, Alexandria Bay, and Ash Bay. Best pike fishing seemed to be to the North in Ash, and smallie fishing was best for numbers of fish seen in that bay as well. Walleye was best for us in Northwest Bay, although that is where we concentrated our efforts most.






    Mayfly hatch was in full swing..


    18.25" caught on a bitsy jig and craw trailer from behind a big boulder - notice how the fins are very beat up from the recent spawn....










    74 cm, or 29.13" eye











    Dan Wood
    AnglerInsider.com
    MidWest Fishing Forums
    Dan@AnglerInsider.com

  4. #4
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    Great report guys. Sounds like you both had a good time and caught a lot of fish, The pictures are great.
    johnboy@anglerinsider.com

    2008 MFL champion

  5. #5
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    Cant Believe Mayflies Hatch Already !

  6. #6
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    Looks like some great fish guys. Pulling boards for big eyes is as fun as it gets. Mix in a big pike now and then...WOW. Great report too. Dan you are on a pig walleye terror this year
    Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital
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  7. #7
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    Looks like a good time up on the Canadian side of Rainy.
    Stupid people are like slinky's both are pretty useless, but make ya smile when push them down the stairs

  8. #8
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    Nice job Steve and Dan on the Eyes and the pike. I like the pictures of the doe and the fawn too.

  9. #9
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    Looks like a great trip, nice fish and nice pics, Dan, that is a dandy walleye!

  10. #10
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    great report guys! sounds like a great trip too! very nice pictures!
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  11. #11
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    Great report guys. Lots of awesome pics were taken.

  12. #12
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    Great pics and awesome report!!! Thanks guys!!
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  13. #13
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    PATRICK R is offline 2008 & 2009 Pig Hunter Walleye Contest Champ
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    Cool pics guys, thanks for sharing!
    "Earth is the insane asylum for the universe"

  14. #14
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    Looks like a very successful trip. Congrats on the hog walleyes!

    Dan, You should sell your Ranger and buy a "walleye boat!"

  15. #15
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    Great report Steve and Dan! That looks like a great time. I love the pictures!
    Check out my photos at:
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  16. #16
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    Sounds like a great trip Dan. Those are some dandy fish !!!
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