BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 25 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1150 feet
Little Vermilion Lake - 12
Ohio Boys going North - 2010
August 28, 2010
Little Indian Sioux River (north)
Number of Days:
After a night on the town in the Windy City where we partied with my friend Jon Obers, Evan and I met a diner for some bagel sandwiches and embarked on our 10 hour drive at 9 a.m. Fueled by cheese curds and beef jerky in Evan's Altima with a broken driver's side door (I hope that is fixed by now) we made record time to Ely. Pulled in about 7:00.
We were very happy to meet Lynn at Voyager North Outfitter's and she was even more helpful and pleasant in person than she was in the many emails I had sent her in the weeks and months proceeding our trip (which is saying a lot). She gave us our big blue bear barrel we rented and after a quick stop at Zup's for our steaks and some dried berries, we were ready to pack it up.
We checked into our cabin at the Lakeland Motel which was very nice, especially for the price. After packing our gear and having a couple brewskies we decided to walk up Sheridan St. for some food and more drinks. It was a nice night to walk and we made our way to the Boathouse Brewery. I was happy to make it but soon realized I forgot my ID and I had to jog the mile back to the motel in flip flops to get my wallet. But hey, its the day before the BW trip. No worries. It just made the beer taste that much better.
Entry day! We met John early Sunday morning for some quick fishing tips around 6 a.m. and we should have been somewhat suspicious when he drew in a "secret portage" for us on our map. We didn't think twice about it. After deciding on some bent shaft paddles for the first time (great choice), we left VN around 7 a.m. It was about an hour drive to the EP and the excitement was growing.
After an easy first portage we had an excellent tailwind and got to the next portage in record time and we were to Devil's Cascade in 2:15. Took some pics and loved the campsite off the portage which is very close to the falls. It would be great for a large group. We found some para cord and leeches at the end of the portage (Leave no trace, huh?), ate a PB and J and continued on through Loon and upto East Loon Bay.
In East Loon Bay, we had our first wildlife sighting. A Coyote! It was walking around on one of the nice sandy beaches that John had pointed out to us on our map earlier that morning. We passed an awesome campsite that had a "detached garage" for the canoes, but it was taken and made our way to the next one where we stayed. It was a very nice campsite as well. Nice rocks to lay on, good tent pad and an awesome view. Evan caught the first pike as we fished before dinner. As we set up the tent I realized we only had 6 stakes when we needed 8.
Dinner was steaks wrapped in bacon, asparagus, and cookies for dessert. Fished for an hour after dinner, no luck. After a gaze at the stars and a meeting with Jim Beam and Sailor Jerry, we called it a night.
Little Loon - Slim Late - Fat Lake.
We ate a huge breakfast of "the mess" (including all the bacon grease from a pound of bacon, split between the two of us), broke camp, took a quick rinse in the lake, and started paddling. We had grand intentions this day until the "secret portage" from Slim Lake to Fat Lake.
This day will forever be known as the day of the "secret portage"! Not only was the portage overgrown, muddy, uphill both ways, but the temperature was the probably 85 - 90 that day. We couldn't decipher where the trail was half of the time, I fell down, got the canoe stuck multiple times, and because it was so hot, I eventually just walked straight off the trail and into Fat lake fully clothed. At that point we ate some lunch and decided to just stay on Fat lake for the night. We cracked open our bag of wine, floated around in the water on our life jackets and fished for a few before dinner. After casting for bass and trolling at all depths, we still didn't have a bite for the day. It was okay, we were just happy to have made it through the portage.
Dinner was stuffing, chicken, and gravy (and more bagged wine. That stuff is heavy, you have to drink it quickly. The lone campsite on Fat is awesome, especially on a clear night. While watching the stars I had deja vu and vague memories of being there on a previous trip while in college.
Fat - Eugen - Gun - Little Beartrack
We broke camp faster than yesterday, mostly attributed to a quick breakfast of shake and pour pancakes. We fished Fat lake again on our way out with no luck again. Portaged to Eugene which was very easy. I finally got my first fish, a nice pike that we nicknamed "Lunch." We both caught many pike and I lost my most effective lure trying to shake off a 14 inch pike at the boat. I learned my lesson. (Catch a pike = re-tie your lure).
One other highlight of the day was that while we were fishing and had my pike on the stringer, it jumped out of the water and into the canoe! Scared the bejesus out of us.
We made our way up to Gun, which is a magnificent lake, but the best campsite was taken. So we ended up making our pike shore lunch at the available campsite and then went to little beartrack.
In hindsight, we should have just taken the 30 rod portage from Eugene, but decided to take the only campsite on the lake and base camp for a couple of days. Two nights in a row with our own lake is what it is all about. We made camp, made burritos and went out fishing for the night. Evan somehow broke the inflow tube off of my Katadyn water filter (luckily it still worked with a duct tape modification).
Awesome sunset + cigar + whiskey = Great night's sleep.
Big Beartrack - Thumb - Finger - and back.
Finally a real fishing day! After some biscuits and gravy (which were awesome) we had a quick portage and paddle to Thumb lake and then to Finger. I thought for sure we were going to see a moose in the fog, but we did not.
Trolled the west bank of finger for walleye with only a couple of bites. No fish. Then Evan caught 4 pike in a row on the NE side of the lake. We caught a couple other bass and ended up eating a pike and a bass for lunch at a campsite that sits on an island. This campsite is badass. There was a huge boulder field in the middle of the island that looks like something out of a movie. Lunch was awesome, I cut up some lemon and layered the fish with butter, lemon and a cajun shake seasoning mix. I think I actually enjoyed eating the bass more than the pike.
After lunch the fishing would heat up for the rest of the trip. Evan caught a FAT 18 inch smallie on a white mepps over a downed tree and we started to develop a pattern (at least until Evan lost his white mepps on same downed tree. haha.) But we did decide that silver bladed baits when it was sunny and gold when it was cloudy seemed to work well. I even caught a walleye on a white spinnerbait while fishing for bass. We caught fish all day long and even caught a couple on top water baits.
Another funny story: Evan lost a lure to a pike. That pike would later follow my lure, with Evan's lure still stuck in its mouth. After that, the same pike jumped out of the water trying to shake the lure out and almost jumped into the boat!
We filleted the walleye and headed back to Little Beartrack for the night. On our way back we saw 3 otters swimming in Big Beartrack, but couldn't dig our camera's out in time. It turned out okay thought because they enjoyed watching us paddle by as much as we enjoyed watching them watching us.
Little Beartrack - Eugene - North South - Section 18 - Slim - Little Loon - Big Loon Bay.
Travel/Fish day. At breakfast (breakfast burritos) we decided that even though we had quite a distance to travel, we would fish the whole day. Good decision. This was the best fishing day of the trip.
Although there was a slight drizzle, I started the day by catching 2 pike on consecutive casts from the end of the portage on Eugene. We both caught pike all day, but I was able to get a decent smallie on a spider jig on North South and then a 18 incher as we stopped at a campsite for a snack. Evan caught a nice smallie on a chartruse spinnerbait with a white grub trailer and we made our way over to Section 18 pond with no expectations of catching fish. We were wrong. I caught a nice bass and Evan had two separate bass on that would have been the biggest of the trip by far. It was evident that the cooler weather on this day was helping. We stayed on this small lake (pond) for at least an hour and a half.
At one point we saw a guy who was in a solo canoe, standing up, paddling bare chested and he had a long white beard. It was awesome. We dubbed this guy "Poseidon." Poseidon, if you are reading this, keep on doing what you do.
We continued fishing our smallie pattern on the East coast of Slim and I had a couple of follows on a white rooster tail but caught a pike that left my roostertail unusable. I switched to a Heddon tiny torpedo and caught the biggest smallmouth of the trip followed by a 17 incher on the next cast. I think Evan was pissed he didn't have a tiny torpedo in his box.
Topwater in the middle of the day? It could have been because there was a nasty storm a-brewing. We looked to the west and had an "oh-shi..." moment. We booked it to the next and final portage and made it just as the skies opened up.
Found a campsite on East Loon Bay that John from VN had recommended and it was amazing. Sandy beaches and great fire pit. Too bad it was raining. We had some trouble making a fire and so we made pasta over the campstove. AND because it was the last night we had to drink the rest of our hooch. That didn't take too long.
Quick Oatmeal breakfast, broke camp and headed in. We timed this trip pretty well because we had a tailwind on the way back too. The temp had also dropped to about 40 degrees with 20 mph winds. (great weather for the LAST day of a trip). We made it back to EP 14 in about 3.5 hrs. Hitched our ride back to Ely and went to the Boathouse for a lunch and a couple more beers.