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      A Soldier's Family Victory Trip: Seeking advice on Crooked Lake area for Big Pike     
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Fisher48
member (5)member
 
12/19/2017 10:20AM
Hello Everyone,

I'm a soldier based in Colorado and I'm planning a "Victory Trip" for my son and I this June. It's called that because a few years ago he overcame a life-threatening disease that hospitalized him for several months. Now a strong teenager, this 2-week father/son trip is his victory!

Spending two full weeks fishing the Crooked Lake area in mid-June. We're both experienced pike fisherman and also enjoy smallmouth. REALLY want him to tangle with a 40-inch northern - would much rather catch just one huge gator than dozens of small ones.

I'm flexible on changing but right now the plan is to enter at Mudro, work our way up through Tin Can, Horse, and the Horse River to Basswood Falls. Will work Crooked from East to West on Crooked. We have 2 solid weeks so plenty of time to fish/travel a long route.

Couple of questions here...and let me thank you in advance for any input you may have!

1. What specific areas of Crooked would you recommend for big pike? Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday bays?

2. Any specific campsites you'd recommend on Crooked?

2. Exit options: Would you recommend exiting through Friday via Chippewa/Gun/Fairy/Boot/Fourtown route or come out further east via Iron, Sunday lake/Beartrap River/Beartrap Lake route? I like the thought of this route because we wouldn't have to paddle back east from Curtain Falls (which we want to see). But I'm reading about current on the Beartrap River. We'll go with whatever route (exit Friday Bay or the Falls) has the best pike fishing on the way back to Mudro. Any lakes on either of those 2 routes particularly good fishing? If the Curtain Falls route is clearly better for fishing than Friday Bay and Beartrap has a strong current, I could, of course, reverse my entire route (enter Crooked by Curtain Falls and exiting down by Basswood).

THANK YOU!

 
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QueticoMike
distinguished member(4764)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/19/2017 11:42AM
Welcome to the message board! Glad to hear your son is doing well now! Thank you for your service. I have never fished Crooked for big pike, I'm sure some people will chime in with some good suggestions on where to fish and where to camp.

With that said, my 5 biggest pike up there ( all over 41 inches ) have come out of Basswood. You might want to do some research on Jackfish Bay. Two weeks is a lot of time to explore different lakes up there. Maybe you can check out both Basswood and Crooked?

Good luck on your trip!
Fisher48
member (5)member
 
12/19/2017 11:50AM
Thanks Quetico Mike! I've seen a lot of quality comments from you in the different forums, particularly newcomers. Much appreciated. I looked into Basswood, Jackfish Bay particularly. My concern about Jackfish is that motors are allowed...the "wilderness" aspect of this trip is as important as the fishing. Valid concern?
jwartman59
distinguished member(3074)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/19/2017 01:59PM
No current on the bear trap river. All sorts of fish at the base of curtain falls. Years ago we caught really large northern there, nothing like pulling in a big fish in a strong current,
Ranger800
member (16)member
 
12/19/2017 02:31PM
There are some pretty big pike on Fourtown as well if you are planning on passing through there. Fish around the point at campsite 1102.
QueticoMike
distinguished member(4764)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/19/2017 02:49PM
Fisher48: "Thanks Quetico Mike! I've seen a lot of quality comments from you in the different forums, particularly newcomers. Much appreciated. I looked into Basswood, Jackfish Bay particularly. My concern about Jackfish is that motors are allowed...the "wilderness" aspect of this trip is as important as the fishing. Valid concern?"

Sounds valid to me. You might want to try the Quetico side sometime to get away from the motors on Basswood. My life time best smallmouth, pike, walleye and lake trout have all come out of Basswood in the Quetico.
12/19/2017 05:27PM
A couple of things. The long portages on that route have pretty mellow terrain. The suckiest portages are going from Fourteen back to Mudro. Table Rock on Crooked is a cool place to visit for a lunch break, but the campsite is below average. Lower Basswood Falls is awesome. Shortly after the falls, if the water is calm you'll see all these little whirlpools and feel a strange current. The campsite where the Horse river starts is good. I love Crooked Lake
Bdubr
distinguished member (105)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/19/2017 06:01PM
Glad you two are able to make this trip...it’ll be a blast! As a fellow Veteran, thank you for your service! My 8 year old son and I have been on nine BWCA trips together, and the memories made are priceless....

In regards to the route, and seeing that you have 2 weeks, you have countless options. With that amount of time I would suggest doing a big loop along the border lakes.

You could start at EP 16 Nina Moose River North and make it to Boulder or Tiger Bay on Lac La Croix with an EARLY start and manageable wind.
Spend a few days on LLC, which offers what you’re looking for in terms of big pike and bass (Boulder River, Never Fail Bay, Fish Stake Narrows).

Then paddle over to Iron Lake and spend a few days doing the same (Curtain Falls, Peterson Bay)
Then Crooked (Saturday Bay = huge smallmouth, pike all over)
Then Basswood (Jackfish & Pipestone Bays for monster pike)
Exit via Fall Lake. Very scenic and historic route that offers great fishing opportunities all along the way. Or you could paddle out via Horse River to Mudro as you stated above.
No matter what, all the routes you listed offer good options for fishing and scenery :-)
WhiteWolf
distinguished member(5094)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/20/2017 01:19AM
Saturday Bay = Big Pike. If it's a late spring- fish the deep holes just outside Curtain Falls on Iron in the 30-40' range in mid June. The water will have warmed up enough that the big guys will have moved from the current areas into nearby deeper water foraging on Cisco/tullibee. 3/8oz jig tipped with 6"+ white Powerbait (something that looks like a cisco). Very large Pike can be had that way on Iron.
Fisher48
member (5)member
 
12/20/2017 08:39AM
Wow...this route suggestion of La Croix, Iron, Crooked and Basswood really fascinates me. Thanks for taking the time to suggest it! 2 questions..both of which I suspect I know the answer but will ask anyways.

1. How would you suggest I get from the exit point at Mudro or Fall Lake back to EP16...I'm assuming outfitters have shuttle services available...anyone you'd recommend?

2. That's a lot of paddling...doesn't scare me us at all...actually is exciting. Our focus is on pike fishing so I want to ensure we have enough time to fish a lot and not be spending the bulk of each day paddling instead of fishing. We're both in excellent shape (my son just ran his first marathon (guess who's gonna carry the heavy Duluth bag?) so the portaging shouldn't be an issue. Does this trip still allow for a ton of fishing grassy bays thoroughly? Thanks!

p.s. If I do decide on this route, would you mind if I email you directly to get some more specific guidance?
Fisher48
member (5)member
 
12/20/2017 08:46AM
Thanks! We'll be there June 12th thru the 25th. Think that's early enough for the pike to still be in those holes or will the water have warmed up to where they've moved out?
Bdubr
distinguished member (105)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/20/2017 09:19AM
Fisher48: "Wow...this route suggestion of La Croix, Iron, Crooked and Basswood really fascinates me. Thanks for taking the time to suggest it! 2 questions..both of which I suspect I know the answer but will ask anyways.


1. How would you suggest I get from the exit point at Mudro or Fall Lake back to EP16...I'm assuming outfitters have shuttle services available...anyone you'd recommend?


2. That's a lot of paddling...doesn't scare me us at all...actually is exciting. Our focus is on pike fishing so I want to ensure we have enough time to fish a lot and not be spending the bulk of each day paddling instead of fishing. We're both in excellent shape (my son just ran his first marathon (guess who's gonna carry the heavy Duluth bag?) so the portaging shouldn't be an issue. Does this trip still allow for a ton of fishing grassy bays thoroughly? Thanks!


p.s. If I do decide on this route, would you mind if I email you directly to get some more specific guidance?"


1. You are correct, there are shuttle services available through almost all of the outfitters up in Ely. I almost exclusively use Pack Sack Canoe Outfitters who are located in Winton, just a few miles past Ely. Their lodge is on Fall Lake, so all you would need is a shuttle to EP 16 if you chose to come out Fall Lake. Also, they can pick you up at Mudro as well if you choose to come out that way.

2. Yes, this is more paddling than the route you mentioned. However, you will still have plenty of time to explore and fish. This route is great because there is potential for monster pike and bass all along the way, especially once the border lakes are reached. With that many days, I would personally have a hard time staying just on Crooked (even though it's a personal favorite of mine).

By staying in the Crooked area, you would certainly have it easy each day and have more than enough time to find monster pike and bass, but there is so much more to explore and fish in that area, so again....I really like the idea of a border lake route.
I have done this route several times for extended periods of time, so I'm happy to help any way I can. Feel free to email me directly through the site...
Ohiopikeman
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
12/20/2017 05:56PM
Fisher,

If it's 40" or better pike that you are after, then Crooked and Basswood are as good as you are going to find anywhere in the BWCA.

If you want to maximize your time in the proximity of big pike, then I suggest focusing your efforts in these spots:
1. Saturday Bay - Crooked Lake
2. Jackfish Bay - Basswood
3. Wed, Thurs, Fri Bays - Crooked

If you put in at Mudro, it's very easy to sneak into Jackfish on the way into the park or on the way out of the park. My advise would be to head straight for Saturday Bay, then spend your two weeks working your way back. Plan on at least two days for Jackfish Bay, maybe more if you have any trouble at all in Crooked finding fish. I've been into Jackfish numerous times and it's never treated me badly. You will see some 14' boats with outboards on them when fishing Jackfish bay in June, but it's a fair trade for the kind of pike that live in that bay!

When targeting big pike in any of these places, my best approach has been:
1. The best time of the day is sunrise to roughly 2~3 hours afterwards.
2. Focus your efforts on thick weedbeds with close access to deep water. Even in the heat of summer, big pike will be here 1st thing in the morning before the sun gets too high. Once the sun starts getting too high, the big pike will move to the deep water and are much harder to locate.
3. If you get any overcast windy days, the big pike will be in the shallower weedbeds all day long. Fish these days hard.
4. I've had excellent success using Williams Wabler spoons, large bucktails, and 6"~8" musky jerkbaits and glidebaits.

There is a small bay just upstream on the south shore side from the Table Rock campsite on Crooked Lake. It's really shallow and weedy, but if you get a windy overcast day don't pass it up! I've camped on the Table Rock site with my son and his friends a number of times; it is one of our favorite sites. Hanging a bear bag here takes a lot of rope and creativity, but it can be done.

Best wishes for an awesome trip!

Dave



Guest Paddler
 
12/21/2017 05:16PM
Hi Dave,

Thank you for the info! I've decided to do the border lakes route for the 2 weeks...entering at Nina Moose up to LLC, over to Iron and then Crooked, finishing up the trip as you suggested in Jackfish and Pipestone. Would you mind if I emailed you directly to ask a few more questions?

Thanks!

Steve
Ohiopikeman
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
12/22/2017 12:26AM
: "Hi Dave,


Thank you for the info! I've decided to do the border lakes route for the 2 weeks...entering at Nina Moose up to LLC, over to Iron and then Crooked, finishing up the trip as you suggested in Jackfish and Pipestone. Would you mind if I emailed you directly to ask a few more questions?


Thanks!


Steve"


Steve,

Drop me an email at pikeman01@yahoo.com and I'll give you whatever additional information you would find helpful. I have entered Crooked by going through Nina Moose / LLC as well as going in through Mudro. Seeing Curtain Falls is a big benefit of going the Nina Moose route.

Dave
The Great Outdoors
distinguished member(5620)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/22/2017 12:29PM
You could make an easier trip by taking Range River into Jackfish Bay of Basswood Lake, in early June and fish at the end of Jackfish with frozen Smelt off a group of islands in the area.
Many in the 20+ pound area are taken in that vicinity, and the lake also has many large Bass.
Don't want to be specific and create too much traffic there, so stop in the bait shop before your trip, and we can show you where to go.
PS-Fort Carson Colorado I assume?? 5th Mech? (if that unit is still around) :)
cyclones30
distinguished member(1356)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/30/2017 07:38PM
Great trip ideas, we've done trips on this entire route. We love to fish and have done well in many spots. Feel free to email me for specifics. smidikey@yahoo.com

Crooked, jackfish bay, fishing below all the falls, iron, etc. Great potential. My dad even caught a 38" pike while walleye fishing on Fourtown that's still swimming on one of the trips. But sounds like you won't be headed that way. Curtain falls is a must see as you said. As are the basswood falls and wheelbarrow for all their own reasons.
Fizics
distinguished member (146)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/31/2017 12:05PM
Good luck hooking some skis!
 
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