My friends and I are planning a muskie vacation to LOTW or Vermilion during late july. We have not fished either lake before but we’ve heard great things about both. Anyone who’s fished either lake care to weigh in on which we should go to? We’re just looking for a chance at some bigger fish. Any input is greatly appreciated. :)
LOTW or Vermilion?
If this discussion was 10-15 years ago, hands down I’d have said V. Having lived thru some of the most insane fishing on V from 2003 and on, the lake has peaked as others have mentioned. No more pulling up to a spot and catching 5 with 2 over 50”??. It still offers one of the best shots in the country of a world class fish (54”+) but you better be ready to grind. And your mechanics, effort and attention to detail better be top notch. If you get lucky and are there when the fish turn on for a few days it could make your season. See the PMTT there from a few years ago. LOTW offers so much with regard to diversity of structure and style of fishing. A 20 min run will put you in a totally different type of water. There are a lot of little fish (sub 40”) on the Woods but I feel, based on my experience up there over the past 15 years, the size structure has slightly increased and I see more big fish (48”+) now than I used to. But that could be many factors so who knows. Unlike V, you raise a good one on the Woods there’s a good chance you can get back on her without her seeing another bait although the pressure has dramatically increased in the Woods in the last 15 years. The musky schools and sharing of info is putting boats in places I never used to see them. That all being said the Woods offers so much more aesthetically appealing fishing than even V as V has lots of cabins and homes on the lake, not to mention insane pressure nowadays.
Do some research and figure out what type of water you want to fish. Woods offers deep clear meso/lake trout water to stained and shallow fertile water and everything in between. Certain areas of the lake have higher numbers and other sections offer lower numbers but higher size structure. Good luck!
You said you wanted big fish. How big? If 40 is big to you, then hit LOTW and never look back. You will see more fish. You will hook more. You will have shots at fish over and over again. Breaking 50? Meh. Maybe you will. There's a chance. But LOTW is numbers (on average), not size.
Vermillion? Double nickles are out there. Unbelievable sized fish. I saw one that made my knees shake. And I've boated hundreds. That water is just gorgeous, and there is a lot of it. But...if you are on a trophy hunt only, and will forgo follows and small fish, Big V is the place for you. You need to be okay with fishing up there for days without so much as a follow, because the next cast could legitimately be a 55.
I'd ask yourself what kind of structure do you like to fish. I think there are more cabbage weed beds in LOTW. That's kind of a traditional spot. On V, you could be basin fishing, you could be fishing reefs, but there aren't a lot of traditional weedlines. A lot of the weeds I found were not cabbage and therefore I wasn't confident in fishing them.
I want to take my wife on a Canadian musky trip. For me it comes down to LOTW or Eagle. And that is kind of the same debate here. Size over quantity. For her, I need to choose quantity. If it were only me? I'd take the pure trophy hunt, but to each their own.
I musky fished both systems several times. I agree with Fishin Fischers assessment. I've caught 2- 50"s on Big V and zero on LOTW and have spent more time on LOTW. Musky fishing pressure is high on V Depending on the time of year it can be a joke. If you see a fish in prime time you better not leave the spot because you won't get it back. Big V has more amenities. Bars, restaurants, resorts. When Big V Is dead it is dead. You might as well pack your stuff and go home. When its hot the fish you see and hopefully hook will blow your mind. Big V is also much easier to get to and closer. With all that being said if I had a week I would go to LOTW for the solitude and the endless musky structure to fish and explore. LOTW is a special place.
Ive never fished LOTW but many of my buddies fish it a good amount regularly, and Ive personally have fished Big V for many years... heres my spin on it
You need to ask yourself what are YOU looking for? Numbers of fish or looking for BIG fish? Are you happy w mid 40" fish? Are you happy w a 4 footer? Or are you after a legit 50"+ caliber fish??
I know a guy who has over 250 muskies on LOW and finally got one over 50 a few yrs back. Alot of upper 40" fish in the mix also alot of mid 30" fish in that mix
On Vermilion we have close to a dozen fish over 50 but not nealry the numbers. Big V is and can be a very tough bite but she holds some of the biggest of the big, if thats what youre into. Weve had trips there where avg fish was over 50
All this being said, i personally never have a reason or need to go to any Canadian waters. Theres big fish to be had much closer to home
Regardless of where you go, one needs to fish hard. Big girls do not come easy and a lil luck never hurts
I'm just going based on a buddy's experience on Vermilion. He had a guide for a full day and didn't even have a fish sniff his lure. Then he had the rest of a full week to try and get something with what he learned from the guide and saw nothing. I have gone out on LOTW and have seen fish follow without even fishing them. Some nice size ones as well. I know both lakes have tanks but my guess is LOTW has a higher population.