Trophy Muskie, Big Walleye, and First-Class Hospitality
A very easy drive-to destination located just a few hours’ drive North of the border in International Falls. The fishing and accommodations are incredible, and the Swafford family at Manotak Lodge will make you feel right at home!
There are over a dozen cozy cabins, with enough space to accommodate 2 to 4 people, or even larger groups up to 12 people. They offer a number of different lodging plans you can choose from. Without question, the American Plan is the way to go if you want everything taken care of from start to finish. In my travels across Ontario, it’s very rare to find somewhere that offers a plan with SEVEN FULL DAYS. With the American Plan, it includes boat use (50HP Yamaha 4-stroke, 28 gallons of fuel, depth finder, aerated live well, net, anchor), fish cleaning (wrapping and freezing), power hook-ups at the dock, towels, and bedding, WiFi, three meals per day, and daily maid service. Price it out and you’ll see this is an amazing combination!
The lodge is situated on the shores of Perrault Lake, about 9,500 acres in size. It is connected to Cedar Lake, which is also similar in size. A couple of years ago, Jeremy Smith filmed an episode of Angling Edge while staying at Manotak. He caught his personal best walleye, a 32-inch monster during that trip. Most anglers visiting target the trophy walleye and muskie here. But there is also northern pike, whitefish, perch, and smallmouth bass. Now, smallies are my favorite fish to catch, so I had to fit some time in to cast for them.
Walleye was top of the list, with muskie second. Needless to say, Jeremiah Swafford knows this lake extremely well, and at our first stop, we boated a 27-inch gravel lizard in no time! Mid 20-inch Walleye are common here, with the chance to catch a lifetime best 30-inch PLUS! For the Muskie, this lake has produced low- to mid-50-inch in the past few years. The size of the lake makes it easy to cruise around and switch gears from walleye to muskie to smallmouth. During the evening, we threw for submarine ’skies that lurk in the shallow weed beds of summer.
You also have the options for remote lake fishing. There’s a muskie lake for numbers. Yes, numbers! Now, they don’t get as big as the Perrault fish, but if you want to catch a few in the low-to mid-30-inch range, your odds are excellent! We didn’t fish there, and they say the average day is three to five boated, and 10-15 follows. That’s some fun action. Manotak also offers daily fly-out to a remote wilderness lake for numbers of walleye, pike, and smallmouth. Options!
With the American Plan, you get three delicious meals each day. Breakfast can range from scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, and a home-baked biscuit to blueberry pancakes and sausage links. Lunch can be either a packed sandwich with drinks and snacks or a shore lunch kit. For dinner, this can be from roasted pork tenderloin and gravy, chicken and wild rice soup, scalloped potatoes, salad bar, peas, and a peanut butter pie cup to a New York strip steak with garlic butter, roasted asparagus, salad bar, homemade bread, and a blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. Bottom line, the food is superb! Bring your appetite.
No trip is complete without a shore lunch. This is one of the highlights of any trip to Ontario. No restaurant can compare to the outdoor experience of fresh-caught walleye, fresh wilderness air, fire-heated beans, and sharing stories with new friends.
I mentioned the fish cleaning service they offer that’s included in your stay. This is also unique, because not only do they fillet and wrap your catch, they freezer-pack it for border crossing! You can bring back fresh fillets to share with your friends and family. Or enjoy them just for yourself!