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Jack L

Boundary waters 2019

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Jack L

Personal preference.

 

West side you generally enter through Ely on the Echo Trail.  East side you generally enter through Grand Marais on the Gunflint Trail. 

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caleb

And the Gunflint Region is generally a bit rockier and more rugged, while the Ely area can be a bit flatter and smoother.

 

Ely is also a bit easier access, while going up the Gunflint usually takes more time.

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Dogwood

So for a rookie sounds as though Ely is a better choice.

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Reeba
26 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

So for a rookie sounds as though Ely is a better choice.

Since we've always gone in with kids, nephews and their friends,  we've always had novices with.  What I would say is all areas are good.  With your group whether novices or experienced evaluate what they want to do and how much paddling/portaging they will tolerate.  Very simply stated some groups want to cover territory and see a lot and spend less time at camp and fishing.  Other groups (always the case with my group) want to get in and base camp and spend most of the time fishing/ swimming/ paddling the lake you're on, and b.s.ing around a campfire.  The two groups don't always mix.  At least that's what I've been told by others who have been the organizers of trips.

 

  Our group loves to fish and fortunately for me they love smallmouth bass fishing.  The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent all sides of the bwca so that makes it easier for me to plan.  If they want walleyes or lake trout then you need to plan more carefully.  

 

  A great resource for planning is the bwca.com website.  They rate portages and campsites and show lengths of portages, list outfitters, have trip reports etc.  Bear in mind some of the trip reports may include people that are willing to portage farther than your group.  Also bear in mind that kevlar canoes are much lighter to portage.

 

  For fishing information, Minnesota has an excellent website  Minnesota Lake finder that gives detailed fish surveys.  Bear in mind that if it's an old report, there may be more smallmouth than the report indicates as smallmouth are increasing in range and number.

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Dogwood
42 minutes ago, Reeba said:

Since we've always gone in with kids, nephews and their friends,  we've always had novices with.  What I would say is all areas are good.  With your group whether novices or experienced evaluate what they want to do and how much paddling/portaging they will tolerate.  Very simply stated some groups want to cover territory and see a lot and spend less time at camp and fishing.  Other groups (always the case with my group) want to get in and base camp and spend most of the time fishing/ swimming/ paddling the lake you're on, and b.s.ing around a campfire.  The two groups don't always mix.  At least that's what I've been told by others who have been the organizers of trips.

 

  Our group loves to fish and fortunately for me they love smallmouth bass fishing.  The smallmouth bass fishing is excellent all sides of the bwca so that makes it easier for me to plan.  If they want walleyes or lake trout then you need to plan more carefully.  

 

  A great resource for planning is the bwca.com website.  They rate portages and campsites and show lengths of portages, list outfitters, have trip reports etc.  Bear in mind some of the trip reports may include people that are willing to portage farther than your group.  Also bear in mind that kevlar canoes are much lighter to portage.

 

  For fishing information, Minnesota has an excellent website  Minnesota Lake finder that gives detailed fish surveys.  Bear in mind that if it's an old report, there may be more smallmouth than the report indicates as smallmouth are increasing in range and number.

 

Excellent advice thank you.  The trip would include myself and one other.  Bass fishing would be a priority.  As one who's yet to go on a dedicated canoe camping trip I would likely start with a 3 or 4 day venture.  Thinking early to mid-Sept when the bugs are down?

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caleb
38 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

 

Excellent advice thank you.  The trip would include myself and one other.  Bass fishing would be a priority.  As one who's yet to go on a dedicated canoe camping trip I would likely start with a 3 or 4 day venture.  Thinking early to mid-Sept when the bugs are down?

 

If bass fishing is a priority, mid-June can be phenomenal.  But the bugs can get serious.  Early fall can be great too, but it can get cold.  If it rains when it's cold, it can start to feel like a long trip.  

 

It's always a good time to go, but there are always pluses and minuses.  I like early to mid-June, and then August.  If I could go in September, I'd go then, too.

 

As for length, I treat four days as a minimum.  A four day trip is really a two day trip with a day on either end dedicated to getting in and out.  If I were coming from Michigan, I'd try hard to have at least five days.

 

If/when you get serious about planning the details, let us know.  I think there's a significant group here who can help you get it sorted out.

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Remo

Jack, thanks for this PE. I've never been there, probably won't get there either, but I sure enjoyed your pics and commentary.

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Chukarman

Wonderful adventure. Doubly excellent when your son is along. Thanks for posting.

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erik meade

bravo! @Jack L

bravo!

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Cooter Brown

Beautiful, a dream trip for sure.

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Kansas Big Dog

Memories made! 👍

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Reeba
12 hours ago, caleb said:

 

If bass fishing is a priority, mid-June can be phenomenal.  But the bugs can get serious.  Early fall can be great too, but it can get cold.  If it rains when it's cold, it can start to feel like a long trip.  

 

It's always a good time to go, but there are always pluses and minuses.  I like early to mid-June, and then August.  If I could go in September, I'd go then, too.

 

 

I agree, but would add to this that in early July most of the lakes have a hex hatch in the evening.  From that point on even into August the smallmouth will be rise to poppers or if you're not fly anglers, rise to top water lures every evening.  They spawn from Memorial weekend and some will still be spawning in early July,  so they stay shallow (10 ft. or less) into early July.  After that they are a little deeper.  But really there are enough smallmouth and ideal smallmouth habitat that it's good pretty much anytime.

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Breakfast Boy

Great trip report and pictures!  Geez I want to get back up there.

 

I went on a solo trip, and my first trip to the BWCA, in June of 2018.  Definitely one of my most memorable trips ever.  The BWCA is a beautiful place and based on my personal experience, 4 days won't be enough.  You'll want to stay for at least 5 days or longer.  I went in off the Gunflint Trail (eastern side) through EP47 (Lizz/Swamp Lakes) and used Rockwood Outfitters for lodging the night I arrived and the night I left the BWCA.  They have a bunkhouse that you can rent for a night really cheap, think it was 30 bucks a night or so, and just have a place to sleep.  I used all my own gear, food and kayak so that helped keep cost down since I already owned backpacking gear.  As for fishing, June was pretty good to me with the smallmouth.  I camped/fished on Vista Lake most of the week and the fish hit a crawfish colored Ned rig.  Everything else I threw (spinnerbaits, crankbaits, etc) produced zero fish.  Even the pike were only hitting the Ned rig.  Pike were small but the smallies were nice sized.  Caught a couple of walleye and smallies on Caribou Lake, also on the Ned rig, on my last night of camping.  Like I said, that was my only trip, but if I can help anyone plan a trip up there please shoot me a pm.

 

42947044141_91a4b604f8.jpg

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caleb

Nice shot, @Breakfast Boy  I'm pretty sure we camped on that site a few years ago and waited out a storm with a tarp strung between the pines behind the fire pit.

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Breakfast Boy
6 hours ago, caleb said:

Nice shot, @Breakfast Boy  I'm pretty sure we camped on that site a few years ago and waited out a storm with a tarp strung between the pines behind the fire pit.

 

Thanks @caleb It was that campsite on the south side of Vista.  I got super lucky that site was open when I got there.

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