BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

August 20 2017

Entry Point 80 - Larch Creek

Larch Creek entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 53 miles. Access from the canoe landing at Larch Creek. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1217 feet
Latitude: 48.1270
Longitude: -90.8304
Larch Creek - 80

Larch Lake - May 2016

by adludwig
Trip Report

Entry Date: May 28, 2016
Entry Point: Larch Creek
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 6

Trip Introduction:
A great trip that showed all of our first timers the true wilderness experience.

Day 1 of 4

Saturday, May 28, 2016

We departed from the Tofte AmericInn at around 5:30am. We were heading toward Grand Marais for breakfast at South of the Border Cafe. This place has been our destination for every trip up the Gunflint over the last few years. We filled our bellies and fueled up for the day.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] This trip our group of 6 consisted of: Myself, Dad, Cooper, George, Mike, and Shaun. Dad and George have both made many trips. Cooper is my 6 year old, making his first trip. Mike and his son Shaun are tripping with us for the first time as well. When we planned out this trip, we knew we would be bringing little boys, so we picked a short and easy journey to get the boys introduced to the BWCA. After breakfast, we headed up the Gunflint Trail, which ended up being an hour and twenty minute drive. We unpacked the vehicles and loaded the canoes into Larch Creek. It's amazing how narrow the first stretch of the creek is. We were glad the water was running high, because that cannot be a fun stretch in low water. We still had 5 beaver dams to jump on our way to the lake, but we were well on our way![paragraph break] [paragraph break] This is the first time any of us had been in a burn area. It was cool to see how much of the rocky hills and walls you could see with the forest height so short. We spotted the first campsite to the south and saw it was occupied. With the threat of rain, we had decided to check out all the sites on Larch to shorten our travels. We headed toward the island site and upon inspection, declared this our home for the next 4 days. This was a perfect site for the boys, with so much wide open space for them to explore and play. The canoe landings were all rock, but they were never too slippery during our comings and goings. We then set out to find the latrine, only to find it way up the hill very far from the campsite. The bugs had been terrible since we got out of the vehicles at the entry point, but this site seemed like it would catch the wind pretty good and keep the bugs at bay. They were however, terrible in the woods the entirety of our trip! We started setting up our camp, with ample choices of where to put the tents up. This site would be perfect for a large group with multiple tents. We also found many trees where we could successfully hang the food packs. We got camp all setup and decided to do a little fishing before we ate some lunch. Dad, Cooper, and I headed for the shallows to the west behind our camp. In a half an hour we caught 17 northerns throwing spinnerbaits in the shallow, lily pad filled waters. Now, that we knew they were biting, we headed out to see if we could find some walleyes. It took us a while to find any kind of depth on the main lake. After doing some exploring, Dad starting casting a twistertail on a jig and quickly caught two very nice walleyes![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We decided to stringer the two walleyes for meals tomorrow. We had lunch and dinner planned today, but I had heard that the walleyes aren't too easy to come by on Larch. We went about finding dry firewood so we could cook up our brats for lunch. Everyone enjoyed cooking their brats over the fire. The menu chosen for this trip was a little more kid-friendly. Cooper wolfed down his lunch and was ready to go back out in the canoe![paragraph break] [paragraph break] As we tidied up camp, the rain started falling gently, but we were excited to get back out fishing. Fishing was a little slower, but soon we looked to the north shore and Dad asked what was in the water. Upon further inspection, it was a mother moose with two little ones. We connected with George, Mike, and Shaun, and they had seen the moose for quite some time, working their way down the shoreline. We didn't last too long, as the rain continued to be a bother. I convinced Cooper to take a rest in the tent, as he was nodding off while we were out fishing.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] George and Dad went out in the canoe to do some more exploratory fishing. The rest of us stayed on the island and rigged up to do some shore fishing. I rigged up a slip bobber and put on a leech. It wasn't too long before I noticed my bobber was no where to be found. I pulled in another nice walleye. Our third of the day! Later we got a picture of the three we had on the stringers. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] Mike, Shaun, and I continued to fish and explore the area, when Dad and George notified us of another moose on the western shoreline! I grabbed my nice camera and snapped a few pictures of a mother moose with a single baby. That was 5 moose in one day![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We finally decided to start some dinner. No one was really too hungry yet for the feast we were going to prepare. We always bring in steaks to cook over the campfire the first night. Dad and George had wrangled up some nice dead cedar while they were out fishing. I also brought in some green pepper and mushrooms to saute up with our steaks. Dad cooked up the impressive pile of steaks, while the rest of us worked on the rest of dinner.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] Dinner and cleanup was pretty late, so there wasn't much done after that, other than some hot chocolate around the fire. Then, it was off to bed.


Day 2 of 4

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday morning we awoke to a steady rain. It had rained really hard overnight but with my REI tent on bought on this very website stayed completely dry! We lingered in our tents until about 7:30am, when the rain at least slowed down. We made a huge breakfast of blueberry pancakes and little sizzlers. We had thought about daytripping over to Clove this day, but the constant threat of rain kept us pretty near camp. We went out and had a very unsuccessful time catching walleyes. I was able to scratch up a little smallmouth that we appropriately named "Taco Meat". The plan was to have a feast featuring fish tacos for dinner.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] The rain chased us into the tents for the afternoon and everyone decided to make the most of it and take a good old nap. Some slept longer than others, but it was some much needed rest! I got up and did a little fishing and then decided to do a little bird watching around the island.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] As others starting to rise from the tents, we got started on the fish tacos for dinner. We had to clean the fish, filter water and then get the fire started. We chunked up the walleyes and the smallmouth in bite sized pieces. Then we coated then with a bag of Andy's Red breading mixed with a packet of dry taco seasoning. Then, we fried up the fish pieces extra crispy. The fish was then put in a tortilla with shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix), chipotle mayo, and some lime juice. Everyone loved the fish tacos! This was only my second time making them in the BW, but they turned out amazing again. I saw this recipe in the Cooking Forums on this very site.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] After we cleaned up dinner, we prepped for a big campfire to take us past sunset. Shortly there after Shaun was hooting and hollering from down by the lake. He had caught a pretty good sized smallmouth while bobber fishing. It was the biggest smallie of the entire trip![paragraph break] [paragraph break] As we sat enjoying some hot chocolate, we heard the howl of a wolf. The wolf immediately set off a bunch of coyotes, bunch from time to time, we were still hearing the sound of wolf howls. We were two days in, and my son had already seen moose and heard wolf howls! He was holding up very great, enjoying all of this time outdoors.[paragraph break] [paragraph break]


Day 3 of 4

Monday, May 30, 2016

We got up early and had a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal packets and some warmed up pre-cooked bacon. We were determined to get over to Clove Lake and fish some new water today. We quickly broke camp and headed to the portage. I was surprised how narrow and overgrown this frequently used portage was! We started on the south end of the lake and I had a bass surface behind a topwater early, which got me excited for things to come. Other than a few northerns, our day was a letdown. We covered a lot of water going all over the lake, mostly to keep hiding from the ever-changing wind. We met up with the guys on the western side and headed for the campsite near the entry for lunch. George, Mike, and Shaun had found a marker up on the shore that they pointed out to us. We got out and snapped some pictures before lunch.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We went up to the western campsite on Clove and had some lunch. Today we were having peanut butter and jelly flatbreads with trail mix and a Snickers bar for dessert. We decided that the wind was getting unbearable, so after lunch we headed back to Larch. A very curious bald eagle greeted us upon our return. That eagle followed us around fishing the rest of the day.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] George, Mike, and Shaun had scratched up a few small smallmouth bass to get a start on our fish dinner for the night. The guys went out fishing, while I convinced Cooper to take a little nap again. Dad and I once again cruised the island for birds.[paragraph break]

[paragraph break] It was then decided we were going to eat an early dinner so that we could actually be out fishing at sunset. Dinner got a big boost with the stringer that George, Mike, and Shaun brought in![paragraph break] [paragraph break] As we prepared dinner, Mike noticed a huge snapping turtle sunbathing on a rock right off the island. This was probably the same bugger that had been visiting our stringers of fish. He knew did get any of our fish, but we kept moving them around. He was a big guy![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We ate a huge dinner of fish and hashbrowns, did up the dishes, and got out for our last hurrah at fishing. So far, just Shaun and I had completed the "trifecta", catching northerns, walleyes, and smallmouth bass. Dad was focused on getting his "trifecta" before the end of the night! We went over off the rocks on the eastern shore and boom, Dad got his smallmouth! "Trifecta" complete! [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We fished for a while longer, but we all knew we should get back in and start tearing down some of the camp. This would help keep things moving in the morning when we wanted to get out of camp. We did squeeze in some hot chocolate time, as the boys had come to love this time of day. Then, it was off to bed, with our time drawing to an end.[paragraph break] [paragraph break]


Day 4 of 4

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

We rolled out of the tents nice and early this morning to get a jump on the long day ahead of us. Overnight, the temperature dropped nearly 15 degrees. We all were scrambling for more clothes in the middle of the night. As we packed up camp, and prepared a quick breakfast, it started to rain. We ate our oatmeal and dried fruit in a light rain. After the coffee was gone, we packed up everything and starting packing the canoes. This campsite had been a great home the last 4 days. One of the things that I like most about this campsite was how many Ladyslippers were growing on the island.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We headed out from camp and made our way up Larch Creek. The beaver dams forced most of us out of the canoes when we got to them. We made it back to the entry point in under an hour. Then, we packed the vehicles and started the 6 hour drive home. This trip brought a lot of different things: Great wilderness experiences - Seeing the moose, the ladyslippers, all the wildlife, and hearing the loons, made it quite the adventure. The challenges - The rain EVERY day of the trip, the constant changing winds, and the cold front that came in definitely affected the fishing and our attitudes from time to time. I hope this is a trip that Cooper has memories from for the rest of his life. I enjoyed watching him experience all the things that one can take for granted after multiple trips. It was cool to share these days with my Dad, and for him to watch his grandson enjoy all these things. George, Mike, and Shaun also had a blast. It was fun watching them do everything they could to get Shaun catching fish and just having a good time. I cannot wait to go back, and Cooper can't either![paragraph break]


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