Floating Lodges House Boat Vacation

Floating Lodges Sioux Narrows Logo
Floating Lodges Sioux Narrows Logo

Back in my mid twenties I went on my first houseboat vacation.  The outfitter was Floating Lodges located on Sioux Narrows, Ontario Canada, on the beautiful Lake of the Woods.  Since then I have never gone on a houseboat vacation other than through Floating Lodges.  And since then I have been on perhaps a dozen such vacations.

The last such vacation I went on was two years ago in 2017.  Next year, sometime in mid June to early July, I am planning another trip through Floating Lodges in Sioux Narrows.  Let me tell ya… I’m already looking forward to it.  A good part of the fun is planning the trip and finding family and friends who want to go along.

Floating Lodges In Sioux Narrows

There are many houseboat rental outfitters around Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods.  I’ve checked most of them out, but I always go back to Floating Lodges out of Sioux Narrows.  The reason for this is simple: Jim Rebbetoy, the owner.  Great guy, straight shooter.  I don’t know what else to say about him, because that short description sums the man up.

Floating Lodges has several houseboats of varying sizes.  The smallest is a 40 footer that sleeps 4-5.  Then there is the largest, a floating palace that is 60 feet, three levels, and sleeps very comfortably 12-14 people.  And there are of course other houseboats in between 40 and 60 feet that can accommodate various group sizes.

Floating Lodges Sioux 60 foot houseboat
Floating Lodges Sioux 60 foot houseboat. Image taken from the Floating Lodges website.

Over the years I have rented and been on most of the Floating Lodges houseboats.  By far the one that sticks out in my mind the most is the massive 60 footer.  It really is a palace on the water; with six staterooms, double beds, bathrooms and showers, a water-slide, picnic tables, lounges, grilling station, fish cleaning station…etc…  you get the idea.

The Fishing On A Floating Lodges Houseboat Vacation

Many people claim that Lake of The Woods is the walleye capital fishing lake.  Certainly I can’t disagree with that claim based on the many other lakes I have fishing on in the States and Canada.  I always do very well when targeting walleyes on Lake of the Woods.

Walleye is not the only species of fish readily available on a Lake of the Woods fishing trip.  The most dominant fish are lake trout, northern, muskie, small-mouth bass, perch, crappie, and of course the walleye.  Pitch for ’em, jig ’em, troll ’em.  Catch and release.  Eat ’em up.

Of the species listed above I have caught them all on my houseboat vacations except lake trout.  I’ve never gone there to target lakers, but they are on my list to get to eventually.  Typically I go after walleye, then smallies, and sometimes for fun northern.  While I do so I catch what I am targeting, but it’s not unusual to pull in a lunker perch or crappie now and then by happenstance.

Me with a slightly larger than typical sized walleye from Lake of the Woods. Me, before loosing 100lbs!
Me with a slightly larger than typical sized walleye from Lake of the Woods. Me, before loosing 100lbs!

The fishing is very good on Lake of the Woods.  Even on slower fish catching vacations I can’t complain; a bad day of fishing there is much better than a bad day at the local waters near where I live.  In some ways a fisherman will get spoiled by fishing on Lake of the Woods.  Fishing back home in Wisconsin for me has never been the same since my first Lake of the Woods houseboat trip.

Anglers in Canada on Lake of the Woods are encouraged to keep walleyes that are under 18.1″.  Whether you have a Sport and Conservation license, you can only keep one walleye that is over 18.1″.  Typical size walleye that I catch on my trips is around 16 to 22 inches.  There have been mornings when trying to catch one to keep for shore-lunch has proven challenging!

My buddy Jim, cooking up some walleye on a Floating Lodges Houseboat vacation at a shore-lunch site.
My buddy Jim, cooking up some walleye on a Floating Lodges Houseboat vacation at a shore-lunch site.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods borders Minnesota and Ontario.  Here are some stats to think about:

  • Maximum depth:  216 feet
  • Islands:  Over 14,522
  • Shoreline:  65,000 miles of shoreline (104,607 kilometers), that’s more than Lake Superior!
  • The center regions of the lake are more remote and see less activity.

Floating Lodges House Boat Vacation

As I write this blog post I am putting together a Floating Lodges fishing vacation with a couple of my son-in-laws.  We are planning on renting a 47 foot houseboat out of Sioux Narrows.  Six of us total.  The plan is we motor out to an area on Lake of the Woods I am very familiar with, base-camp beach the houseboat, and fish the area for several days.

Floating Lodges has rental boats available as well. I rented that one on my last trip.
Floating Lodges has rental boats available as well. I rented that one on my last trip.

There is a lot to do beside fish.  Exploring the remote bays and backwaters is also a lot of fun.  There are many waterfalls that can be found, and even some interesting sights; one year I found an old sunken wooden rowboat in some backwater.  Of course there is also moose, deer, and bear to watch for, and a variety of other wildlife.

Go ashore and explore some islands.  Build a campfire on the beach.  Go swimming.  Soak up some sun.  Get caught up on some quiet pulp novel reading.  Unwind… relax.

No need to worry about keeping in contact with people back home.  The houseboats all have a satellite phone with free US/Canada calling.  They also have Wifi… slow Wifi, but you can at least text and send emails if you want.

What To Bring

Jim at Floating Lodges outfits his houseboats nicely.  Linen, pillows, toilet paper, basic cleaning supplies, and a fully stocked kitchen awaits!  Each houseboat also has at least one propane operated refrigerator and freezer, some larger boats have two!

All you really need to bring is some clothes, swimwear, rain gear (hopefully you will not need it often or at all), personal toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent (depending on the time of year you go), books to read, camera, fishing gear, any food you want to eat… you get the idea.

Bring your own fishing boat if you have one.  You can tie it up to the houseboat and pull it along behind to your destination site.  Or rent fishing boats and motors from Floating Lodges.

Sioux Narrows, Ontario Canada
Sioux Narrows, Ontario Canada

Want To Go On A Floating Lodges Vacation?

Reserve early.  I was just on their website looking at availability and there are some weeks still available this year for most of the houseboats, but not many.  Ideally you would want to contact Jim at Floating Lodges in Sioux Narrows sooner than later to setup your trip plans.  All his pricing is online at his website.  No hidden fees.

A Floating Lodges houseboat trip is great for families, friends, and a mix of both.

You can check out the Floating Lodges website by clicking here.  Tell Jim you heard about him from my website!



TD is the owner and publisher of TD All Outdoors. He has been enjoying the outdoors since since he was a child. Over the years he has spent as much time as he can solo wilderness canoe tripping, overlanding, hiking, fishing, bushcrafting, hunting, hammock camping, and more. Aside from this blog, he also own his own coffee brand, www.folklore-coffee.com.

4 thoughts on “Floating Lodges House Boat Vacation

  1. A group of ten of us from the Chicago, California and Colorado areas have been renting from Jim Rebbetoy’s Floating Lodges for some fifteen years – a couple of the group 30 years plus. Every year is better than the last because of Jim’s excellent service and equipment. Every year he updates and or improves his boats with state of the art navigation, communication and mechanical equipment. He is a gentleman and a professional businessman.

  2. 11-23-2022 – I agree with it all. I’ve been on Floating Lodges (FL) trips since 1984! We fish in Maud & Dominion lakes, portaging our boats in/out.
    Jim has gone out of business as shown on the FL web page. I called and texted Jim on. Monday (21st) but no reply. Do you know anything about his health, whereabouts, anything?
    My group wants to go to LotW next summer but I’m being disappointed in the other rental places. Oh well.

    1. Wow, thanks for the heads up. Was gonna call and see about booking something this year in the late Spring…, but like you said, I see Jim is retired and not taking reservations for 2023. Wonder if he will sell it…

      I had not talked to Jim in about two years. Last I heard he was well.



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