The Best Summer Getaways: Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Troll the border

May 14, 2012
Outside Magazine
Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Lake of the Woods, Minnesota    Photo: Layne Kennedy/Corbis

In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, one stands out: Lake of the Woods, a 1,727-square-mile behemoth. For locals, it’s a famously enviable destination—especially if you like to catch and fry fish. There are 65,000 miles of shoreline and 14,000 islands dotting the lake, and you can reel in walleye, one of the best-eating freshwater species in the world, just about anywhere. But you want a boat, and there’s no better place to get aboard one than Ballard’s, a working-class resort near Baudette (guide-and-lodging packages from $385). Instead of a concierge, it offers a fishing hotline and a fleet of aluminum skiffs. The owners, Steve and Joanne Ballard, have 14 guides working for them; Steve still fishes nearly every day in order to stay abreast of the latest piscatory developments, so you’re guaranteed a good day on the water. Come sunset, chase your pan-fried catch with a High Life or three at the resort’s lakeside dining hall and bar.

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