Day 1 of 6
Friday, September 02, 2011 It all started at the beginning of august. I began to get those pre trip jitters where you cant think about anything else but that day you enter the BWCA. Suddenly I was less productive at work, spending far too much time on BWCA.com (im a recent and enthusiastic member….) Thankfully I don’t think anyone at work noticed too much. Which may say something about my job…hmmm. But that’s neither here nor there. Finally Friday, September 2nd arrived. 6 of us left from the Chicago area at around 130. Made the 6 hour haul to St. Paul where we scooped another member of our trip at the airport, followed by the final four hour trek to Ely where we arrived at 1 am. We went immediately to our place to stay for the night and got a quick four hours sleep and were up by 5.
Day 2 of 6
Saturday, September 03, 2011 We had a good breakfast and were to the outfitters right at 6 am when they opened. With us we brought two Wenonah’s, one a beautiful red 87 sundowner, and an 03 Minnesota II. But as there were 7 of us we rented a minny III from the outfitters to take the other three. I was a little worried at first about the prospects of a three man canoe as I had never been up there with one before but it was actually great. It not only was the fastest in the water with three paddlers but I found it enjoyable to have two paddling mates. We had quite a few loose ends to tie up (bait, some food items, etc..) as we were coming together from all over the place, and us such didn’t get to our entry point till 1030. Took the 30 rod portage to the little creek that dumps you into mudro and we were paddling down the meandering creek by 1130. The first 3 portages that take you into fourtown are pretty misleading. They are short but they are rockier than Mordor (yes that was a lord or the rings reference)….. With seven guys we single portaged all week, but the first three proved difficult because we had some greenhorns who didn’t really understand the concept of a portage yet, to them 150 rods just meant an army of fisherman. But they picked it up quickly and we made it into fourtown without too much trouble. On our way through Boot we noted some big cliffs that looked very jumpable, we noted the place and pressed on. We decided to stop in Gun for the night and got the big south facing campsite you see across the bay when you come in from fairy. We ate a dinner of camp burritos (tortilla, onion, green pepper, salsa, summer sausage, cheese) and then went out fishing. Didn’t have the best of luck that first night. Only three walleye to speak of. So we went back to the tents when it got too cold and tucked in for the night, but only after taking a quick late night swim to rinse off the days grime. Slept like infants, (I Woke up many times, but somehow felt very rested in the morning. Thats how it always seems to go up there)
Day 3 of 6
Sunday, September 04, 2011 I wont say too much of the trip from Gun to Crooked because there is not too much to say. We traveled the distance. That will suffice. Although we did pass one Australian paddler who I quote “didn’t fish”. I found this strange. ..Once on Crooked we were greeted with a tenacious headwind and It took us about an hour to paddle from the end of the ol 300 rodder to the island campsite on the north end of Friday. This would be our home for the next two days. We had risen very early so we were to the campsite by 11 o clock and had the whole day at our fingertips. It didn’t take us long to get camp set up and hit the water to do some fishing. We immediately caught several (5 or 6) very edible northern of which we kept two (see pictures), but other than that the day didn’t hold too much action. I think my companions were worried we wouldn’t catch very many fish, but I warned them it was the middle of the day and not the primetime to catch any walleye. Just wait till evening I said. And so they waited, and we went out fishing from about 5 till about 9. And lo and behold!!! …….we didn’t catch much, a couple walleye and a northern. Slim Pickins for wetting seven rods. Now I was worried. But not because we weren’t catching fish, but because I so desperately wanted the guys I brought up here to love this place as much as I do. Even though fishing is the main draw for me up there I could enjoy myself without catching a thing because I just get so much joy out of the incredible beauty that is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. But as it was my friends first trip, they haven’t developed that sort of bond, and they just wanted to feel the pull of a walleye on the end of the line. So we turned in for the night feeling just slightly defeated by ol crooked.
Day 4 of 6
Monday, September 05, 2011 We awoke at 545 to a BEAUTIFUL day on the water. It ended up being 70, sunny, and just a slight northern wind all day. Perfect BWCA weather if you were to ask those who know about such things. The mornings fishing adventure produced several more northern but still not the plethora we had been looking for. So far we had been jig fishing with leaches and worms and tossing crank baits, from 15’-25’. That afternoon I decided to try a different technique. We hadn’t caught much doing spot fishing so I thought we needed to cover more ground and find out where the fish are. So how do you hit a lot of territory fast while fishing from a canoe? You troll. We began trolling around the islands in the north end of Friday in about 20 feet and had immediate success. We caught a few decent size northern and a couple mammoth bass. Then we started paddling between the islands and we started to catch suspended fish over 60 ft of water. We did this for hours off and on throughout the day catching fish consistently throughout. My brother landed what I estimate to be a 36-38 inch northern paddling just in front of our campsite in over 40 ft of water. That evening after a day of fishing, swimming and relaxing, we had a walleye and northern feast for dinner feeling like we were eating the spoils of a great victory. Spirits were high. And that is where they would remain the rest of the trip. After doing some clean up we entered the fray again. This time with renewed vigor and even higher expectations. Friday bay conceded the fight early that night and stood no match for our seven lines. We fished till sundown catching numerous northern, and somewhere around 20 walleye, with smallies sprinkled throughout. All of these prisoners we captured were released to fight again, but not after many pictures to prove the victories. [paragraph break] That night we sat around the campfire swapping stories of fish from the night. By the time we went to bed I think our numbers had grown to about 200 walleyes that day. Funny how that happens. Maybe it was just the fire, but I swear I could see the same boundary waters love cultivating in the eyes of my companions that my brother and I have from all the times my dad has taken us up. Thanks dad. Couldn’t have done this without you. I saw one mosquito that night, it was almost nostalgic. It was the only one I saw all trip. They had been like a distant memory this trip and seeing this one reminded me of how bad they can be at certain times of year. I promptly killed him. “Yeah, September is not such a bad time to be up here” I thought.
Day 5 of 6
Day 6 of 6