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TheTugistheDrug
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05/25/2018 10:42AM
Another great trip into the Quetico for my 22 year old self. 7 of us, + 1 12.5 year old beagle were in the Batchewaung area from 5/19 - 5/24. This marked what was another trip for my grandfather who has been coming to the area for around 60 years. Now 82, he still was getting over the portages easily and carrying his fair share of equipment. Every year I think a trip might be his last he proves me wrong. It is so great to see someone his age take canoe trips and be in his element. I don't think there is another place on Earth he'd prefer to be.

Weather was excellent with temps reaching 80 and the skies cloudless every day but the 19th and 24th where it rained. The bugs weren't a problem until the 22nd after several hot days in a row. At first it was only occasional swarms of black flies, but on the 23rd and 24th the mosquitoes made their appearance. We also traveled through some marshy water between lakes and upon returning through these waters several days later we found water levels had dropped about 6 inches which did make travel upstream a little difficult at times. Several portages into rarely accessed lakes were full of downed trees and bent tag elders blocking our path so our group put in probably 2 hours of cutting and sawing our way through trails.

As for wildlife, several moose were seen by members of our party and piles of moose crap could be seen on almost every portage. Thankfully there was no sign of bear activity anywhere. Plenty of loons, gulls, ducks, eagles, and even an osprey were seen.

Yet another trip with a fire ban was a little bit of a disappointment, but cooking with the stoves provided just as good of fried fish and other meals. Even after some rain the morning before we put in, all the hot weather really made for bone dry moss and lichens. It was no question the ban was necessary.

We fished Batchewaung chain of lakes with moderate success from 5/19 - 5/24. I'll go into what and how we caught all the different varieties of fish and how/when we caught them.

Laketrout: Our group of 7 total people in 3 boats caught somewhere between 10-15 laketrout throughout the trip. Fish were at the surface and we initially trolled using various lures including deep running, and shallow floating rapalas, and little cleo's. I had all my success using an orange/silver little cleo. My paddle partner and I would troll until we got a fish, and if it was calm enough on the water we would then cast. This tactic worked great as we caught 8 fish this way. It should be noted you should use a good swivel when trolling any kind of spoon (my friend learned this the hard way and ended up with a nasty mess of twisted line). It should also be noted that no laketrout were caught when we paddled through batchewaung on our last day.

Walleye: Fishing for walleye was allover the place. Our group did catch more than we could count, but some days and lakes we'd catch a lot of them even right next to shore, and other days we'd catch none. Many fish were caught using a 3/8 or 1/4 white jig head and a corresponding sized white twister tail. I caught most of my fish on a green pumpkin colored berkely smash tube rigged with a tube jig jerked around off the bottom. Various rapalas and white swim and jerk minnnows also produced fish.

Smallmouth: After our first day of paddling and not fishing hard for smallmouth we had great success on HUGE pre-spawn smallmouth. The fish were moved into the shallows by our second day on the water in the smaller lakes we were in and most we caught after 5/22 were already on their beds. Two members of our groups had very good success with their fly rods using streamers and poppers in the evening. Other smallies were destroying jerk shads, swimming minnows and floating rapalas all day in the right shorelines. At times fish would only hit silver and white minnows. On one particular lake that I know doesn't get fished often we caught trophy fish after trophy fish. I have never seen so many big bass on that lake. Every 4th fish would be in the 18-22 inch range. One bait I tried very hard to use was the z-man chatter bait with various trailers and colors used. This lure was discussed on this site and I thought the lure would destroy smallies, but I did not catch a single smallmouth on the lure. It did however catch several northern and one walleye.

Northern Pike: What a strange time to fish northern. We saw several big 40+ inch females being chased by males, spawning in the shallows on multiple lakes.These fish did not respond to any lures thrown at them. Throughout the trip we had difficulty consistently catching any sized northern. Success was sporadic and several fish were caught while jigging for walleye, the chatterbait as mentioned earlier caught at one time 3 different 20-25 inch northern at one beaver house. Big spoons of various colors didn't produce many fish until 5/23 when two members of our group caught a 39" inch and 43" fish within 2 minutes of each other at a small water fall inlet. First fish was caught on a gold floating rapala without a leader by the 82 year old member of our group and the second was caught on a mostly green and yellow accented daredevil. I fished a big 10" plastic minnow and caught quite a few decent fish myself.

Overall GREAT trip! Hope everyone going in can have as much fun as we did.
 
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Lotw
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05/25/2018 12:06PM
Sounds like a great trip!! I cant wait much longer.
QueticoMike
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05/25/2018 12:51PM
Thanks for the report!
carmike
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05/27/2018 12:06PM
Great report!
 
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