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TominMpls
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07/12/2018 09:44AM
So I just grabbed a Man Chain permit for mid August. We're entering from a Gunflint BWCA entry point and exiting at a Fernberg Road BWCA entry point and yes, I know the logistics of that will be hell, but that's what we're choosing to do. We've applied for our RABCs and acquired all the permits.

None of us have ever *really* been in the Q - we've used several of the Q portages along the border lakes. We're aware of the fishing restrictions, and the differences in sites (don't forget to bring a trowel). I know the Man Chain is busier than other areas, but expect we'll find much, much greater solitude than we've otherwise experienced.

Anything we should be specifically thinking about, planning to go southwest down the Man Chain?
 
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AmarilloJim
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07/12/2018 11:11AM
Look at the pictos on Cache Bay. Be careful when hiking the rocks on your way to look at Silver Falls. Most of the portages on that route are like super highways! I had to clear a few trees out on the portage into Other Man earlier this spring. You will see more people the farther SW you go. Other Man and This man will be your best bet for solitude.
ghull
 
07/13/2018 07:17AM
I just returned a couple of weeks ago from Quetico where we basecamped on That Man end of June/beginning of July. I took my two boys for their first Q trip, and it was a great trip overall. We went for three days w/o seeing anyone, so I certainly wouldn't consider it busy. We entered through PP, so going the opposite direction you'll be taking. We took the Carp to No Name lake to That Man portages instead of going through Sheridan. I can't compare to the Sheridan portage, as I haven't taken those before, but the two portages we took were fairly short. I would say around 80 rods or so. The Carp to No Name portage is a little overgrown and mucky, but not bad. You should have no problem locating the portages coming from the North going South.
That Man is a great lake. Very clean, clear, easy to navigate, good sites, and has some interesting cover and submerged rocky islands for good fishing. We did well on Smallmouth, Lake Trout, as well as a few Walleyes. If you're looking for Pike, we found Carp and Birch to hold a ton.
The water levels were high enough to where we could paddle through the portage from That Man to No Man. We only had to get out once to carry over the downed tree. All of the other trees, we could maneuver under. We did have trouble getting through the portage from No Man to This Man. My map had two possible portages. Neither of which were really passable. You may have better luck.
The portage from That Man to High Man is rather steep, but short. High Man is a cool lake to check out and also leads to Emerald. We didn't make it to Emerald, but I've heard good things about it.
You'll have a great time, you'll have solitude, and should have good fishing as well. Here are a couple pics from That Man.
07/13/2018 04:28PM
Nice photos. I, too, am headed through the Man Chain in mid August. I'm amazed at the wide availability of permits for all of the Cache Bay entry points and not expecting to see many people before getting to the Carp Lake area.
bobbernumber3
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07/13/2018 08:15PM
poxy: "... I'm amazed at the wide availability of permits for all of the Cache Bay entry points..."
Janice says entry is down because of the "high cost of towboats". We all choked back laughs thinking of crossing permits, bait restrictions, and camping fees. We grumble every year, but always return.
08/09/2018 09:11PM
Does anyone have any recent experience taking Beaver, Fisher, etc. to Knife Lake? Slower than through Plough because of more portages, I know, but I’m curious about that as an alternative. Also, any recommendations if north end campsites on Ottertrack aren’t available?
08/13/2018 07:35PM
One more question: Has anyone been into Blackstone via Bell (or vice versa) lately? Wondering about portage condition.

Trip is next week. First in Quetico. Whoot!!!
bobbernumber3
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08/13/2018 08:01PM
No recent information, but my son and I did the portages between Beaver, Martin, Mink, and Fisher. Short lakes made it seem like a lot of portages for the distance traveled. Only have been to Blackstone once and that was via Slate Lake. From Bell we were told was called "The Blackstone Boogie". I did catch my largest northern ever on Blackstone. There is only one campsite on the lake. I fainted once on the Plough portage to Emerald(?). Sat on a log because something didn't feel right and then ended up on the ground. I think it was lack of breakfast. Other than the north campsites on Ottertrack, there is not much there. We did catch walleyes from camp at an Ottertrack site... first site on the north side when heading west from the Benny Ambrose marker (about a mile down the lake, mol). Not much to see at Bennie's site, but okay for a stop for lunch on the American side of Ottertrack.

Have a great trip!
08/13/2018 09:47PM
Thanks, that’s helpful. We’re going with a relatively vague itinerary and an interest in some off the main loop options.
AmarilloJim
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08/14/2018 07:24AM
There were some trees down in that area this Spring. Didn't do the exact portage your referring too. You might want to have your saw ready.
08/14/2018 02:56PM
AmarilloJim: "There were some trees down in that area this Spring. Didn't do the exact portage your referring too. You might want to have your saw ready."

You’re referring to the small mammal lakes or Blackstone?

Edit: Misread the post. I get it. Saw is packed
24kGold
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08/16/2018 11:13PM
Did Blackstone years ago. The campsite there is first rate. The fishing was incredible. Deb at Seagull says there's an easier way in than through Bell. At least a few years ago she said it was an easier portage. You never know how well trails are maintained in some places. When I took the portage from Bell into Blackstone, I slogged through moose muck for quite a ways. It was tough and I was much younger then. I still remember the sucking sound with every step...but I digress.

Went down the Man chain in 2004. Some portages were mucky but really enjoyed the area. The island campsite on Other Man is one of the best I've ever used.

I'll be at Seagull on Saturday. Maybe I'll see you there since we get a tow Sunday morning at 7:00. We have a group of 9. Can't miss us. LOL.

Terry
08/17/2018 08:44PM
Saturday is driving day. Have a great trip and thanks for the info.
TominMpls
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08/27/2018 04:55PM
We're back from our trip. It was fun getting our permit from Hannah in Cache Bay. We had a really great time. We stayed on This Man and Birch in the Man Chain, and also Lake Isabella on over. This was the middle of a much longer trip for us - we started at EP 49 and went to EP 23 - but Quetico was absolutely the highlight of the trip. I'll assemble my notes from the trip and write up a trip report soon.

I suspect that future trips will be centered around Quetico, not the BWCA. The American side just felt really overused after being in Quetico.
 
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