BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 17 2017
Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1361 feet
Wood Lake - 26
Wood Lake May 2014
May 22, 2014
Number of Days:
Our morning began at about 6:00am when we rose from our slumber at the Super 8 in Ely. We all made plans to take one last "civilization shower" before our entry this morning. This trip, I am joined by my buddies Jarod and "George", both on their third trips with me and our greenhorn, Tyler. This is my first trip up here without the guidance of my father, but he gave me lots of advice before the trip and I spent half the winter planning this trip. We headed over to Britton's at 7:00 to fuel up with a big breakfast. After that, a swing by the gas station and we rolled into the Kawishiwi Ranger Station right before 8:00am. After we got our permits we were on our way! The short drive to the Wood Lake E.P. got the adrenaline going! We were headed down the portage before 9:00am. We found our campsite and got camp setup. With the short portage and paddle, Day One truly felt like a full day in the wilderness. It wasn't long and the guys and I were digging out our fishing gear to get out on the water. [paragraph break] It took about 5 minutes on the water before my 3" Tube Jig started producing fish. A couple of quick smallmouths set the tone for a great day! [paragraph break] We took a break for some afternoon coffee and a much needed rest for our backsides! [paragraph break] Back on the water, which quickly produced our first 4 pound smallie of the trip. [paragraph break] After catching a bunch of northerns, we headed back to camp to start dinner preparations and to try some shore fishing. We got our slip bobbers all rigged up and got the leeches out. I was quite interested in all the debates on the BWCA.com forums about leeches in cold water prior to our trip, but in the end we brought them in. We started catching fish before we even had dinner started.[paragraph break]Dinner the first night was steaks over the fire with some instant mashed potatoes.[paragraph break] After dinner, the fishing got pretty fast and furious, including a couple of northerns, a sucker, and many walleyes, including a couple of 4-5 pounders. They bit until well after dark. And I got to experience one of my greatest BWCA moments, when I watched my lighted bobber disappear in the darkness, and after setting the hook, I caught the eye of a nice walleye deep in the water in front of mefrom the light of my headlamp. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] The night ended with a cup of hot cocoa and a brief sit around the fire. The first night the temps dipped down into the 30s, but we should have enjoyed it while we could, as it was truly the only "cool" night we had up there.
Day 2 we got up to a little fog, and prepared some instant oatmeal and coffee. [paragraph break] Our focus today was to go work the East side of the lake, including the little bay that appears to be very shallow on all the maps. The wild rice was already up halfway, but the pike were everywhere! After a few hours of catchin', we headed back to camp for lunch. [paragraph break] After lunch, everyone hid from the sun for a while (some of us even squeezed a nap in). Did a little more fishing after sleepy time. Then we headed back to camp, geared up for bobber fishing and then started working on dinner. It again didn't take long for results. [paragraph break] Made a dinner inspired by similar dishes I had seen recipes for on this site. Fish tacos! Opened a box of Cajun Shorelunch and added about 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. Then we chunked up the fish, cooked it pretty hot to the point of a little char. Then we added the fish, coleslaw, chipotle mayo, and lime juice to tortillas. We served it with a side of red beans and rice. It was amazing! [paragraph break] We ended the evening with some more walleyes, a campfire, and some very good sleep.
We awoke this morning and made a huge batch of just add water pancakes. Everyone ate until they were uncomfortable. The plan was to calorie up for a day of tripping to a few close lakes. We weren't very keen on what the weather might do, so we climbed the rock hill behind our site and checked the weather and radar on our cell phones. Since I had cell reception, I did check in with my wife and tell here we were having a wonderful time. She let me know she was busy spending money on furniture while I was gone. We decided to stick close to home today and focused our efforts on the Western side of the lake. A couple of views from "Reception Hill:": [paragraph break] The day consisted of a variety of northerns, smallmouth, and even a day-time walleye. After another great day on the water, we made our way back to camp and prepared a tin foil dinner, consisting of: fish, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions (for those that liked them...). [paragraph break] We wrapped up the night with some walleye fishing and a little bit of bug slappin'. They progressively thickened every night we were there. They were still very mild at the end of our trip, but you could tell all those 80 degree days were bringin' them out.
Woke up on Day 4 and started by preparing another dish that was inspired by a recipe I saw on this site. Made a big breakfast of Cheesy Hashbrowns with Spam and dried apricots. Very hearty meal to start the day! [paragraph break] The weather was looking pretty good, so we decided to try and journey out to some different lakes today. We headed out for the portage to Hula Lake and enjoyed all the bald eagles all over the place! [paragraph break] We spotted the portage to Good Lake, but we decided to see what lies ahead on the river. Our original plan was to take the river to Indiana Lake and then portage over to Good Lake. Several rapids, beaver dams, and ridiculously shallow spots in the river, we gave up on our pursuit of Indiana Lake. By then, we were so wet, sore, and defeated we did not even want to try and get to Good. We had heard that people catch pike in Hula so we paddled down to the Southwest corner and starting catching northerns at a pretty good pace. As we move back toward the portage to Wood, the pike fishing got better and better, to the point where we enjoyed about 3 straight hours of non-stop pike action. Nothing really huge was caught, but it sure made us forget about our failed journey just hours earlier. [paragraph break] We did decide to break for it back to camp to allow half the day's worth of sun to dry our boots, pants, and what-nots. After a light lunch, we decided it was time to truly focus on the smallmouth bass we had been catching all over the lake. We geared up and went out, with nothing but smallies on the mind. We were not let down! [paragraph break] We experience some of the greatest smallmouth bass fishing I have ever been a part of! [paragraph break] We went to shore to make the "last supper" as our time was quickly coming to a close. We fried up a large batch of fish and then cooked up everything in our food pack that wasn't for tomorrow's breakfast. A feast was had! [paragraph break] One last night with a little bit of fishing and the slow, sinking feeling of knowing the trip is nearly done. Went to bed a little on the earlier side tonight, the little bit of travel did 2 things: 1) just plain tuckered us out and 2) took away from our designated nap time in the afternoon.
The only rain of the trip came down heavy during the night. We awoke to a campsite full of puddles. We had done a decent job of covering everything the night before. We quickly boiled water for instant oatmeal, then got the last pot of coffee on. We wolfed down breakfast as we crammed and packed everything into their rightful place. We clocked how much time it took to go from site to vehicle, and it was an hour and 5 minutes. The trip overall, was good on all fronts: successful fishing, beautiful weather, and just being back in the wilderness. I thought of this trip as a scouting trip, as my 4 year old is going to want to join me on a trip very soon. This obviously wasn't a huge trip into the BWCA, but every minute of it felt like the Boundary Waters. We did see other canoes every day, but that is to be expected on an entry lake. Can't wait to get back up here in September. Thanks for reading!