A trophy walleye factory nestled in the quiet woods of Sunset Country, Ontario in the Precambrian Shield; just a short two-hour drive from the U.S and Ontario boarder through International Falls, MN, is where you will find Dogtooth Lake Resort. If huge walleyes are on your bucket list and you’re looking for your new personal best, look no further—this is the place you have been dreaming to visit!
Dogtooth Lake is a 6,200-acre lake, but it actually fishes fairly small due to it being so long with lots of islands sprinkled throughout the narrow system; there definitely is no shortage of great fishing locations. With 167 miles of shoreline and connecting to Kilvert Lake by an easy navigable channel, that adds another 2,400 plus acres of amazing fishable gin-clear water. The large walleyes Dogtooth and Kilvert are famous for can be caught virtually any time of the year as the lakes have it all, from large 4- to 7-foot feeding areas, 10- to 30-foot channels, reefs, and shoreline breaks. If you’re looking to put some walleyes in the frying pan, there is a good population of those in Dogtooth and Kilvert as well.
These lakes are home to some great smallmouth bass, lake trout, and trophy pike fishing in addition to the amazing walleye opportunities. The smallmouth alone could wear you out, but if you get into the big toothy pike or the giants of the deep, lake trout well, you’d better get some rest, because a week of it will tire you out.
On one of my trips this past summer, I brought along another guy who has pretty much fished everywhere and knows everyone in the fishing world. He shared my bucket list aspirations of fishing Dogtooth Lake for those famous giant walleyes that swim there. That guy was none other than my boss, mentor, and friend, Al Lindner. It was a funny coincidence, as Al and I had been talking this past winter about Ontario lakes we hadn’t fished yet but were on our bucket list, and Dogtooth Lake was on the top. So when the opportunity came up, my first conversation was with Al and he was all over it.
One of the beautiful things about Dogtooth Lake Resort is that it’s a drive-to destination, which meant we were able to bring our own boat with as much gear as we wanted! Although we only used a handful of baits for walleye, we chased smallmouth too. But again, we used only a few baits that just plain worked. During this mid-summer trip, the big walleyes were focused on the mid-lake reefs, of which Dogtooth and Kilvert both have a bunch. Al and I spent much of the first couple hours of our trip just finding the reefs, marking the ones that held the bigger marks, and fishing only sparingly to confirm they were walleyes. Thus we developed a “milk run” for the week so when the bite would slow on one particular spot, we wouldn’t spend much time searching for fish because we’d already done our homework.
When I say our trip was filled with confirmation of Dogtooth Lake’s trophy-sized walleye reputation, it’s no fish story. Day One brought no fish under 5 pounds, with the biggest tipping the 10 pound mark. That day, we caught only one fish that would have been considered pan fry-worthy. Our Day Two was pretty much the same, but we did catch a few more that would have been good eater-sized for a shore lunch. The big gal walleyes were still our focus, and they cooperated. As I stated earlier, the walleye baits we used during our trip were minimal, consisting of Rapala #7 Jiggin’ Raps and 1/4 oz VMC Moon Eye jigs tipped with a 4” Big Bite Bait Finesse Swimmer or Northland’s Impulse Paddle Minnow.
It seemed that whenever we would look toward the shallower early-season walleye spots, we would run into the smallmouth bass, which are definitely a ton of fun. So the last day, we decided to focus on those bronzeback bulldozers. Pretty much any smallmouth-looking area held fish, which are around those submerged big boulders in the shallow bays or on rocky main lake points. Let me tell you, if you want to have lots of action with every fish acting like a 5-pounder with a great opportunity to tip that mark, Dogtooth Lake has a great population of them. Again, the baits we used were only a few. Pulling double duty, the 1/4 oz VMC Moon Eye Jig with a paddle tail was a great option. Also, the top water bite was red hot with the Rapala Skitter Walk and X-Rap Pop being the go-to baits.
Dogtooth Lake Resort is a drive-to destination that offers first-class multi-species trophy fishing catering to the hardcore angler, but also to those looking for the fun-filled family vacation. They are equipped with a great swimming beach, floating swimming dock, water slide, diving board, kayaks, campfires, great fishing off the docks and many other activities for the whole family.
Dogtooth Lake Resort consists of 10 very comfortable, fully furnished housekeeping cabins with all your bedding, towels and linens included and range from two to four bedrooms. Cabins include all the cookware and dishes, electric heat, refrigerator, stove, microwave, coffee maker, full bathroom, BBQ on lakeview decks, along with Wi-Fi and satellite TV, giving you everything you need for the ultimate vacation. They do offer boat and motors to those choosing not to bring their own boat. The resort has a convenience store that carries an assorted selection of groceries as well as gas, live bait, fishing licenses, and more.
For those who prefer to be on their own, they have an outpost on Dogtooth Lake which features a two-bedroom cabin equipped with kitchen, living and dining rooms, propane grill, fishing cooker, indoor shower, and outdoor plumbing along with a fish cleaning house. If you’re looking for the ultimate Canadian adventure, Dogtooth Resort has another outpost camp an hour north of the resort, with a cabin that sleeps eight on the lake that features walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike.
The Jones family purchased Dogtooth Lake Resort in 1988 and continue to help run it with their son, Kyle, who took over the management of the resort in 2014 and then ownership two years ago. His transition from an accountant to resort owner was an easy one. His love and knowledge of fishing and the outdoors, along with his rapport with guests, is a win-win for him and the repeat Dogtooth Resort customers who come back year after year.
When you talk about bucket list destinations like Dogtooth Lake Resort, it isn’t a place you visit once. When you get spoiled catching those big hefty walleyes and even the tough smallmouth, northern pike, and lake trout, you make this Ontario Experience an every-year trip. Just plan to put it on your calendar every year, and look forward to the possibility of hooking into your next personal best catch.