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      Basecamping/Fishing from EP 38 Sawbill     

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mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/08/2017 10:49AM
Doing some early planning for a last-week-of-June trip next summer. I've combed through past posts and haven't found what I'm looking for so I'll pose the question here:

Looking to base camp and do a lot of fishing going in from Sawbill. Cherokee was recommended for base camping bc of the scenery but I have read over and over that it is a terrible fishing lake. I don't mind staying on a bad fishing lake for the scenery as long as there are good spots for day trip fishing. But I can't find much in the way of promising reviews of Brule, Long Island or any of the lakes in the area.

Is it worth base camping on Cherokee and day-tripping to area lakes to fish or does anyone have a better recommendation for a base camp with lots of good fishing nearby going in from Sawbill? I'm partial to Sawbill but the outfitter (Sawbill) will also shuttle to the following lakes (don't know the EP #'s off the top of my head) -

Kiwishiwi (did the Lady Chain loop out of there last year)
Hog Creek
Baker
Homer
Brule

So I'm open to suggestions from these points as well.

We'll be targeting walleyes for eating but always enjoy catching smallmouths and would love to tie into a laker or two. So a variety, with walleyes being the primary target.

There will be three of us in one canoe. We're fit (or at least, will be by then) and don't mind a couple of rough portages to get to a good spot. Would prefer to spend no more than one day getting to our destination. Our trip will be Monday to Friday.

Open to any ideas. Thanks in advance.
 
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09/09/2017 10:08AM
In that area I've had decent luck with walleye on Sawbill itself. On a trip w/ my younger daughter at age 7 we caught some walleye on Smoke. And the best day of fishing I've had in the bwca was with my older daughter on Jack at age 9. She was catching walleye so fast I stopped fishing to man the net, take pictures, and enjoy the smile on her face. We also saw 5 moose from the Baker entry point to camp on Jack. There were 2 different cow moose w/ calves and a bull hanging out on different parts of Jack while we were there.
WHendrix
distinguished member (274)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/09/2017 03:31PM
I've not fished there, but I've read someplace that the fishing is very good on South Temperance. It looks like the most direct way to get there is through Brule. Of course you run the risk of wind on Brule. The next best way would probably be from Baker.
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/09/2017 05:19PM
Smoke looks like a good option for whenever I convince one or both of my daughters to come with me. Probably the 13 year old but not this year b/c I have other plans for this trip.
I can't find Jack Lake on the map. I know you said enter at Baker but I don't know where to from there. What is it close to?
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/09/2017 05:19PM
Smoke looks like a good option for whenever I convince one or both of my daughters to come with me. Probably the 13 year old but not this year b/c I have other plans for this trip.
I can't find Jack Lake on the map. I know you said enter at Baker but I don't know where to from there. What is it close to?
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/09/2017 05:32PM
Sorry about the double post. Computer had a moment.

As to South Temperance, is it realistic to think we could base camp somewhere near the south end of Cherokee and day trip to South Temperance to fish and make it back to Cherokee in one not-too-long day?
09/09/2017 08:48PM
Going north from Baker it is Peterson, Kelly, Jack, Weird, and then South Temperance.
walleyehunter422
member (38)member
 
09/10/2017 10:27AM
I've basecamped on north sawbill a couple times(early June) and had good bass fishing and ok walleye. The walleye bite was better at low light hours. Bass where found around the wild rice and islands . I also caught a lot of medium sized pike on my topwater bass poppers, but I wasn't targeting them. The portage to kelso has an inlet (moving water) fish hang around there . Almost all of the north sites are nice for basecamping. Lake Alton is a easy 30 rod portage away and also a good fishing lake. I've had luck around the island on the north end and a sunken island just south west of the big north end camp site. A good day trip is to go north on the Kelso River and find the Dolman rock. Ask the sawbill outfitters for better directions; they are super friendly. Smoke is another good day trip option I caught alot of good eater sized walleye there. The only down side to camping on sawbill is sometimes you see alot of canoes coming and going with it being an entry lake and most of them are headed to Cherokee.
1bogfrog
distinguished member (141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/10/2017 03:51PM
There's good walleye fishing on Sawbill, and even better walleye fishing on Smoke. If you base camp on Cherokee, there certainly are lakers in there. Not as many as there are in other lakes to the north, but they're present. You could easily day trip to Frost and catch lake trout as well.

If you head out of Kawishiwi, Koma is known to have good walleye fishing as is Malberg. (Try fishing the base of the rapids where it flows into Malberg, especially if there's a decent amount of water coming through there). All things considered, our best walleye fishing luck has come with jigging live leeches or the plastic equivalent when in the BW.
Birdknowsbest
distinguished member (171)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/10/2017 11:17PM
quote mfl1776: "Smoke looks like a good option for whenever I convince one or both of my daughters to come with me. Probably the 13 year old but not this year b/c I have other plans for this trip.
I can't find Jack Lake on the map. I know you said enter at Baker but I don't know where to from there. What is it close to?"


For whatever reason the map on this site doesnt show water where Jack lake is. The red dots are there that show campsites. Look at the interactive map. Its just north of Kelly and South of Weird lake.
09/11/2017 06:23AM
quote Birdknowsbest: "quote mfl1776: "Smoke looks like a good option for whenever I convince one or both of my daughters to come with me. Probably the 13 year old but not this year b/c I have other plans for this trip.
I can't find Jack Lake on the map. I know you said enter at Baker but I don't know where to from there. What is it close to?"



For whatever reason the map on this site doesnt show water where Jack lake is. The red dots are there that show campsites. Look at the interactive map. Its just north of Kelly and South of Weird lake. "


hmmmmm...... it's just 2 red dots in the middle of nowhere on the bwca.com map.

mfl1776 you can use this voyageur online map to see where Jack is.

voyageur map 8
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/11/2017 08:04AM
Ducks - Thanks for the link. I'll take a look.

I finally found Jack on the map.

Thanks for everyone who's posted so far. I think I'm narrowing it down.
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/11/2017 08:37AM
Follow-up question:

Is it realistic to think we can make it from Sawbill Store/Entry Point 38 to Frost Lake (basecamp on Frost) in one day or is that a two day paddle?
1bogfrog
distinguished member (141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/11/2017 09:22AM
quote mfl1776: "Follow-up question:


Is it realistic to think we can make it from Sawbill Store/Entry Point 38 to Frost Lake (basecamp on Frost) in one day or is that a two day paddle?"


Its absolutely realistic, and not all that difficult if you're single portaging. You can comfortably do it in 7 or 8 hours without rushing.
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/11/2017 10:05AM
Cool. Thanks, bogfrog. We did 9 hour days every day last year so one day to get there and one to get back won't be bad in comparison and still leaves us three days to camp and fish which is perfect.

I think I've decided on our route/plan:

Sunday - Fly into Duluth and drive to Sawbill
Monday - Sawbill to Frost and make camp on Frost
Tuesday - Fish Frost
Wednesday - Fish South Temperance
Thursday - Break camp and paddle back to north Sawbill and make camp at north end
Friday - Fish Sawbill and Smoke
Saturday - head back to Outfitter and fly home.

I've got some wiggle room by adding the day on Sawbill in case we get windbound or the weather otherwise complicates things.

And it won't be all fishing. We'll entertain ourselves otherwise. Two of us have small children at home so just being able to chill undisturbed in a hammock will be pure heaven.
1bogfrog
distinguished member (141)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/11/2017 09:56PM
If you're going to fish South Temperance on Wednesday, you may do well to just camp there that night and then head down through Weird, Jack and Kelly and over through Burnt and spend your last night or two on Smoke fishing. It would save you some back-tracking and inconvenient portages. If you search this site, you can also find threads referencing the old mine just off one of the portages for Jack Lake. Check it out if you decide to head that direction, its pretty cool :)
09/11/2017 11:01PM
Burnt is a decent walleye lake too.
BuckFlicks
distinguished member (433)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/13/2017 04:46PM
I wish we could fly in to Duluth. It was usually a couple hundred more to fly there than to MSP... so it wound up costing less to fly to MSP and rent a car than it does to fly to Duluth. Now American doesn't even fly to Duluth anymore.
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/13/2017 07:24PM
Its slightly cheaper than Minneapolis for me but my wife found a great last minute deal when we went last summer. Hopefully, we'll have similar luck again. If not, I've budgeted for it.

My buddy on the other hand, lives in Chattanooga and it is ASTRONOMICAL for him to fly into Duluth. He ended up flying out of RDU with me and our other buddy because his wife and kids spent the week with my wife and kids. We don't have to worry about that this time around b/c he and his family are moving to the area in the Spring so he'll already be up here.
fishinfool71
member (46)member
 
09/21/2017 01:19PM
Looking at your itinerary I would agree with 1bog frog. Day one to Frost is doable, and the Lake Trout fishing is good, but they might be down deep at that time. Decent pike and Smallie fishing there also. Move Wed to S Temperance. If you leave by Mid morning you could be set up by mid afternoon on S Temp. I like the South Campsite near the portage it is set on a cliff and the rocks go to the waters edge. Good walleye fishing from there. Easy paddle to the W side of Brule if the action is not live on S Temp. Head the next Day down through weird, and Jack. Definitely troll some rapalas or a spoon in Jack. When you get to the portage at S end of Jack going to Kelly leave the gear and canoe off to the side. There is a small path near the large tree heading back to an abandoned gold mine. My son, 12 at the time, spent 1 hr there digging and exploring. Only about 50 yds into the woods. Take a nice paddle down the narrows of Kelly, When it opens up near the island, drag the plastics again. Depending on how you feel you can stay on one of the Kelly sites(all pretty nice). My suggestion is to press on to Burnt (the 240 is rough, but Burnt is worth it) On Thur you might still get one of the sites on Burnt. It is a popular lake this time of year. The fishing is the reason. Bets Walleye lake in the area IMHO. Been to this lake on 4 separate occasions and never had a day where we did not catch at least 20 walleye(most of eater size). The BWCA .com map does not show the site on the far north end behind the island, but it is there. If nothing on Burnt, smoke is a nice lake and yields some walleye and northern of note(actually has perch there also). Getting out from Burnt or smoke is pretty easy and may take 3-5 hrs depending on weather. I could write all day about the fire lakes, and the Sawbill Area. Fishing is awesome.
Feel free to email me for more detail fishing spots.
mfl1776
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/26/2017 08:32AM
Thanks for the helpful info, fishinfool71. I'm definitely going to try to find the old gold mine. Sounds very cool.

I've given up the idea of chasing lake trout on this trip. Not gonna go that far north. Our route will go thusly:

M - Sawbill to Cherokee (I figure this will be the toughest - or at least longest - leg of our trip so best to get it out of the way early when our muscles are still fresh).
T - Cherokee to S. Temp (fish S. Temp and maybe far-west edge of Brule - not interested in braving the windy main part of the lake)
W - S. Temp to Jack (fish Jack and look for old mine)
R - Jack to Burnt (fish Burnt)
F - Return to Sawbill

I realize this is the opposite of my original base camping idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we like to keep moving and would probably get bored staying in one place for more than a night. And the way I have it planned, our trips from one camp to the next will be short - not day-long affairs like we did last year, with the exception of maybe day #1. This will leave us plenty of time for fishing, exploring and relaxing.

And thanks to everyone else for the helpful information. Now that our route has been decided, I can get to the task of getting myself in BWCA shape (currently in Netflix-binging shape, which is to say, out of shape).
 
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