Day 1 of 7
Saturday, June 19th, 2010 Mostly cloudy, scattered showers, mid 60's Woke up at 5:30am, finished packing. Breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and french toast in Ely. Stopped at Spirit of the Woods for a pound of leeches and the permits. Driving the Echo Trail, started off as a nice road, then turned bumpy, then turned to dirt and gravel. The parking lot at the entry point was crowded, close to 30 cars. Unpacking and the first portage to the Mudro entry point went well, no lost gear, no canoe mishaps. The first paddle was along a narrow channel in the weeds. We hit a few rocks. The opening to Mudro lake was really cool, exactly how I imagined the lake would look like. The wind was low and from the north which created a mild crosswind. The trip across seemed to go quickly, next thing, first real portage to Fourtown. Mudro had a little rock dam with driftwood and a little stream waterfall next to it. The portage was easy, lots of little rocks. The long portage was very difficult, alot of up and down hills, lot of steep rocks. We thought the portage was the hardest part but the wind was coming from the north to NW, the paddle up Fourtown was very long as well. Approaching the exit of Fourtown we saw a bald eagle in a tree right along shore. We almost got close enough for a great picture. The portage to Boot was short and wet. Boot was a very pretty lake, a couple great rock cliffs. The first part heading west was a little easier, not a lot of wind. After making the turn to the north it was into the wind again. The portage to Fairy was easy too, although the packs were feeling heavier. Fairy is a very pretty lake with the big island. We were disappointed to see canoes at our target campsite on the east shore. We stopped on the western campsite to snack and discuss options. Dean’s suggestion was a couple more portages to Gull through Gun. We ran into some rain showers on Fairy and Gun. When we approached the exit on Gun we decided to either stop at the north site or see if the first site on Gull was open. Dean went across the portage and found the site was open so one last portage, finally. The site was a great choice, open, breezy (no bugs), lots of rocky shoreline, a peninsula point, a great “kitchen” setup, and a great view. We work for a while to get tents and tarps set up, then finally some fishing. After that many hours paddling and portaging, I’m ready for a couple hours of relaxing shore fishing. I catch and release a 10” smallmouth and another about 8”, both on slip bobbers and 3” black minnow grubs. After a while Dean and David return from canoe fishing, time for dinner of steak, garlic mashed potatoes. Boy did that smell and taste great after a hard day. Soon after that it was time for bed. I slept like a log, earplugs worked well! Fish count: 2 smallmouth
Day 2 of 7
Sunday, June 20, 2010 Mostly sunny, 75-77 Woke up early, not as early as Dean and David, and did a little pre-breakfast fishing. Paddled to the island and back. Landed a nice sized smallmouth, 15-16”, kept it for dinner. Back to the camp for a breakfast of bacon, pancakes, and dried blueberries. After breakfast more fishing. I catch another smallmouth, this one is smaller, about 10”. We spend the day fishing, hardly anything is biting, still no sign of walleye. For dinner we have fish and rice. We had 5 or 6 fish, Dean filleted them, I cooked them. Boy were they good. After dinner more fishing, no luck, nothing biting. Going to bed at dusk as the mosquitoes came out. Fish count: 4 smallmouth
Day 3 of 7
Monday, June 21, 2010 Partly sunny, light rain from 3 – 8pm Another great nightsleep, great sunny calm morning. Kraig and I went out fishing before breakfast near the portage from Gull to Thunder. A shallow rocky bay. I caught a skinny 10” smallmouth. I hooked a small northern near some lilly pads in 6-8 feet of water, he took care of the release part himself next to the boat. Breakfast was powdered eggs and bacon bits wrapped in tortilla. Not terrible, the eggs are a weird consistency. After breakfast and quiet time we decide to make a day trip to Thunder. The trip over is quiet, short portage to Mudhole and then Thunder. The second has a little rise and fall to it and very muddy. Mudhole is a small round bog pond, not very deep, didn’t fish much. Thunder was a bigger lake, nice structure of fallen trees and branches all around. Boulders, logs in the water, islands, a great campsite on the left point that would make a great basecamp. I didn’t catch anything there. Kraig caught his first, a small northern. We paddle around, hear a few rolls of thunder and see darker clouds rolling in. We start to head back to camp, rain greets us before we leave Thunder lake. We race back to camp and take shelter under the tarp we rigged that morning. We get a brief half hour from the rain and take advantage to make dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread. By the time dinner is done cooking it starts a light rain again and we eat under the tarp. I may grow to like spaghetti again, after a long day paddling it tastes really good. We sit around and trade stories for a while and then retire to our tent. Kraig, Shane, and I play a game of Hearts and then call it a night. Fish count: 5 smallmouth, 1 northern
Day 4 of 7
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Mostly cloudy, clear sunset A relaxing day, no day trips. Breakfast of Egg McMuffins with canadien bacon and cheese. A short morning solo paddle lands me a smallmouth on a fake worm. Midday fishing I catch 2 more smallmouth, they are fun to catch and a nice dinner. Dean and David bring back some smallies and a perch from their morning trip to Gun. Fried fish and noodles for dinner. In the evening we all hang out on the peninsula and fish and have fun. A beautiful sunset tonight, I hope the video I took does it justice (it didn’t). we return to the tent and play a game of Hearts before sleep, Kraig wins. Fish count: 8 smallmouth, 1 northern pike
Day 5 of 7
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Partly cloudy, afternoon downpour, rain/storm at night. We decide to do a long day trip through Gun and the Bullets to Moosecamp. We make an early breakfast of pancakes and bacon, mmmm bacon, and begin packing. The paddle out does not go well. Kraig is grumpy because he hasn’t caught many fish. He starts off steering the boat but gives up after Gun. Dean gives us some spinner baits to use as we troll through the Bullets, they are supposed to be filled with cabbage plants and pike. We arrive to find they are not that weedy. Within about a half hour I give up on the spinner and user crankbaits from there out. We get to the far campsite on Moosecamp and still haven’t caught anything. I had 1 strike on Bullet2. After a short stop for a snack and group photo we head back. Kraig and I get back to the first portage first and stop to fish. Kraig catches a nice walleye and his mood improves greatly. Soon after that I hook up on something big, it bends the rod in half and then the line snaps. Don’t know what it was, we got a quick glimpse, it was big. That was on 8lb fireline that it snapped. Portaging back through Bullet2 we troll across, halfway I hook up with another fish, this time a 20ish northern. Kraig got a picture, hopefully it turns out. It’s my largest fish of the trip and he put up a good fight for a northern. I release him on his way. Soon after that we notice some storm clouds rolling in so we race through Bullet1 and the portage. We wait out a brief downpour before paddling across Gun and back to basecamp. We quickly get a fire going for dinner before another band of rain moves in. We have baked walleye and rice and stuffing for dinner. After dinner we hang out and fish and watch a turtle, or more likely he was watching us. I catch another smallmouth and northern in 5’ of water on a leech. Darkness comes, another great sunset. Fish count: 9 smallmouth, 3 northern pike
Day 6 of 7
Thursday, June 24, 2010 A nice down day. I spend quite a lot of time paddling the solo canoe and taking pictures.
Day 7 of 7
Friday, June 25, 2010 What a way to wake up. Calm day, dense fog. Portage out.