There is a very special area of the United States that as a result of the U.S. / Canada border closure, has been basically cut off from civilization and their customers since March. In order to travel there, one has to drive through Canada about 40 miles before entering back into the U.S.
It is the northernmost point in the contiguous United States. It is where the 14,552 islands of Lake of the Woods begin. It is home to about a dozen resorts and the area boasts some of the best fishing in the Midwest. It is Minnesota’s NW Angle.
Most never imagined back in March when the U.S. / Canada border was shut down that things would last this long. So far, local fishing resorts have been cut off from customers since the last two weeks of March with no end in sight.
There is a way to travel to the Angle and stay out of Canada. It consists of crossing big Lake of the Woods which is the size of a great lake, about 40 miles to the resorts with the majority of it big open water, or in the case of this winter, ice.
There is a well groomed snowmobile trail across the lake which is a great option if you snowmobile. One could fly up but with no airport, landing on the ice isn’t realistic for most visitors.
Facing another season of virtually no revenue, the community has pulled together and come up with a solution, the NW Angle Guest Ice Road. There have been ice roads on Lake of the Woods for many years allowing anglers access to good fishing areas, but never an ice road that extended from the south shore of Lake of the Woods all of the way up to the NW Angle. That is about to change.
When the ice is thick enough to accommodate vehicles, most likely in early January through March, visiting ice anglers will have the opportunity to purchase a pass and drive the road both over ice and then through a forest up to the NW Angle.
“This is a monumental task and it is amazing to see the NW Angle area pull together to save their ice fishing season,” explains Joe Henry, Executive Director, Lake of the Woods Tourism. “This project is absolutely necessary to save some resorts who have had little to no revenue since March. Small business owners bringing to the table their entrepreneurial spirit, can-do attitudes, and decades of wisdom to make this happen. The NW Angle is special and this is community and teamwork at its finest.”
The NW Angle Guest Ice Road will begin at Springsteel Resort just south of the Canadian border on the SW corner of Lake of the Woods. The ice road will make its way north staying on U.S. ice up to the border cut trail, a road through a forest where it will end up connecting to one of the main roads up at the Angle. From this road, NW Angle resorts and the incredible ice fishing experiences they provide will be accessible. Details and updates can be found on the NW Angle Guest Ice Road’s Facebook page @nwaiceroad.