BWCA - Questions and a Brief Trip Report

Got some trip suggestions at another National Park, or know of a great place in the middle of no where? Share them here, plan your trips, and hook up with other individuals on the forum.

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hooky
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BWCA - Questions and a Brief Trip Report

Post by hooky » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:34 am

I got talked into doing a boundary waters trip. On 5/24 we go in at Sawbill Lake and come out on 5/29. I've never been up there, so I'm not sure what to expect, have no idea about routes and hope I can figure out which lakes have the best fishing.

My buddy and I are still "negotiating" the thought of a loop vs. a basecamp. He's never caught a walleye before and is single minded about that goal, so it should be pretty easy for me to be a hero and put him on walleye. For one day, I'd like to try to get in on the tail end of shallow lake trout too.

Anyone familiar with that area and willing to share ideas on possible route/basecamp options that would allow for decent fishing and fewer people? I'm not looking for GPS coordinates to fishing spots, just an idea of which way to go after we put in.

Thanks.
Last edited by hooky on Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.


WindChill
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Re: BWCA

Post by WindChill » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:34 pm

I have not been at Sawbill yet (hopefully the next trip) but have researched it just a little. I know the "Lady Chain" which goes west from Sawbill to Alice is supposed to be very nice. If you make it that far there are pictographs on Fishdance. I also know there is the wreckage of a plane NNW of Sawbill in the area of Zenith lake.

I dont fish so cannot help with that, but if you have not found it yet, the absolute best place (IMHO) for BWCAW info and advice is the message boards and maps area at bwca.com. A site called Quiet Journey is also supposed to be pretty good but I have not visited there.

As for base camp versus a loop - I have always been a travelin' man. I can see more and get deeper into the wilderness if I stop where I stop and continue from there the next day. Some folks like to base camp and day trip because they prefer to do the portages without all their gear. It really depends on the focus of the trip. I suggest do some more research to find the lakes you want to hit and see what the mileage looks like.

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:43 pm

I signed up at bwca.com last week. Its been a pretty good source of general info so far. The focus is fishing, so i'm trying to go through the report section now.

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head2north
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Re: BWCA

Post by head2north » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:04 pm

Very familiar with the Sawbill Entry point and surrounding area so if you have any questions. let me know.

To answer you specific requests.....

The best Lake trout fishing would be up in Cherokee Lake (beautiful lake) or Frost Lake (seclusion). You could make a
route from Cherokee down to the Temperance Lakes and back west from Kelly. There are some longer portages on this
route.

Walleye population to the east (Smoke, Burnt, Flame - nice private campsite) and west (Grace, Phoebe [Lady Chain])

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:04 am

Thanks head2north. Would a basecamp on Cherokee also give me some walleye fishing options for day trips out of there? it looks like there are a ton of day trip options in general and I've thought about a base camp for a few nights on Cherokee and then doing the temperance loop on the way back. I've also been thinking about an out and back route going either east or west on those lakes you mention. There are so many options that I'm approaching analysis paralysis. :)

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Re: BWCA

Post by head2north » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:14 am

Up in Cherokee the fishing is Lake Trout so if you are looking for Walleye, dipping down and spending some time in
Temperance/Brule area would offer this catch. If I had 5 nights in the area and was looking to get a little more remote.
I would plan my trip as follows :

night 1 : Frost (Cherokee if I got there and didn't feel like going the extra mile) Trout Fishing
night 2 : Frost (Cherokee if I got there and didn't feel like going the extra mile) Trout Fishing
night 3 : Either of Temperance Lakes, Explore area (Brule) and Walleye fishing
night 4 : Stay extra night in Temperance area or continue loop, Walleye fishing
night 5 : Burnt or Flame Lake, Walleye fishing.

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:29 pm

head2north, I'm thinking about doing that loop. Not sure which way yet though. Maybe the other way so the portage to/from cherokee is done with the least weight possible.

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Re: BWCA

Post by head2north » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:56 am

There are four longer portages on this route. I remember them all and will rank them

Hardest to easiest.

1. Burnt/Kelly (230r) Up and Over a very elevated ridge.
2. Sitka/Cherokee Lake (140r) Very tough, don't let short length fool ya.
3. South Temperance/Creek (240r) follows creek on fairly flat run
4. Ada/Cherokee Creek (180r) Can get swampy if there has been lots of rain, some ups and downs

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:37 am

That's good info. Thanks. I may just decide if I want to finish up the trip fishing for trout or walleyes and let that be my guide.

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:22 pm

It will be trout fishing for the first 2 days, then down through Temperance and into Kelly/Burnt coming out. We figured if we blank on trout those first couple of days, we'll have steaks. We'll finish it up with fresh walleye after the steaks are long gone.

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Re: BWCA

Post by head2north » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:50 pm

Minnesota Lake info for fish survey and depth maps:
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/index.html

Maps of camps were I have overnighted and were I have caught fish
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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:29 am

I'd love to catch one of the 2 sites on Frost and do both days there. It seems like it would be very peaceful.

Thanks for the mark ups. I really appreciate it.

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:43 pm

Well, my partner threw me a curve last night over a beer while we were pondering over the map. He agreed that as long as we can single portage, he'd be willing to do Wine for a couple of days and then onto Trail for a couple of days. Everything I've read is that Wine is a great trout lake and Trail is a really good Walleye lake. Personally, I'll have no trouble getting my gear down so I can single portage. I'm hoping he'll be able to pare his stuff down.

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Re: BWCA

Post by head2north » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:07 am

Its like being in a candy warehouse and only getting to choose one piece. With all that BWCA offers I always have a tough time choosing a route.

In fact, looking at your new plan, I have reconsidered my Minnesota Fishing Opening trip. I had narrowed it to the Lac La Croix expanse, and am now
thinking about going down the Louise River and back up the Frost River.

Anyways, whatever trip I end up taking, I always enjoy - its the choosing that's tough (I suggest you don't have any more beer before trip. :P )

Let me know how trip goes when you return!

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Re: BWCA

Post by hooky » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:20 am

If I cut out the beer, who knows what a glass of bourbon will make us decide?

Something tells me this won't be the last time I plan a trip up there.

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