Boundary Waters Trip Reports, Blog, BWCA, BWCAW, Quetico Park

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

May 26 2024

Entry Point 23 - Mudro Lake

Mudro Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 19 miles. Three accesses into Mudro Lake involve portages ranging from 20–185 rods.Easiest access is from private la nd with parking fee.

Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1166 feet
Latitude: 48.0356
Longitude: -91.8301
On the Water- Monday July 20th-
On the water late considering how far we need to go today. Up the Horse river to the falls by 6pm. Started raining and NO campsites available. Mudrow-Alruss-Tin can Mike-Horse Lake-Horse River-Basswood. 13 miles by water. (not counting portages)

Tuesday July 21st-
Rain all night, all morning and all day. Went north by petroglyphs, table rock and the the Crocked Lake Narrows across Thursday bay to campsite. Basswood-Crooked Lake-Wednesday Bay-Thursday Bay. 11 miles in the rain.

Wednesday July 22nd-
Up early and calm winds to take advantage of, considering the big water we have to cross. Found beaver dam to lift over and did a portage from hell between Pandos lake and Chippewa Lake. VERY steep and slippery after rain. Many mud holes. Then the mile portage after Wagosh Lake to Gun Lake. Never saw another soul in a canoe or campsite the entire day! Thursday bay-Friday Bay-Pandos Lake-Chippewa Lake-Wagosh lake-Gun Lake. 11 miles by water.

Thursday July 23rd-
Finally had a dry night. got everything dry!!! A few portages today to Fourtown Lake campsite. Easy day by comparison. Gun Lake-Fairy Lake-Boot Lake-Fourtown Lake. 6 miles. Put the long miles at the first of the week for a buffer for contingencies!

Friday July 24th-
Last day. Stormed last night bad. A few portages today with one bad one between Fourtown Lake and Mudrow lake. To entry point by 1pm. Ready for a hot shower! 4 miles

45 miles by water
13 miles by portage (3 trips each)
58 miles total.

Crooked Lake 4th July 2015

by MDMark
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 30, 2015
Entry Point: Mudro Lake
Number of Days: 10
Group Size: 5

Trip Introduction:
Our planning for this adventure began back in the fall of 2014 as my best friend Dan and I agreed the summer of 2015 was a go for another Boundary Water trip. It would be my second and Dan’s third trip to the BWCA. We were hoping on bringing some friends and family along for the trip. Our party ended up consisting of myself, my 12 year old nephew Nathanial, Dan, his wife Julie and their 9 year old son Tucker. With consideration to the group going I suggested a fun family trip; perhaps exploring the numbered lakes. Dan would have none of it; we were going to find a great remote fishing lake. We settled on a 10 day Crooked Lake loop. The planning went into full force throughout the winter and spring of 2015 as we combed over magazines, blogs and made way too many purchases on line. I am thankful for the advice given by Jason Zabokrtsky of Ely Outfitting Service, as well as many members of BWCA.COM including some great fishing tips from Quetico Mike and others. We caravanned west from our home state of Maryland in two vehicles. We had a great trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan stopping in Marquette for a night. We arrived late the next afternoon in Ely where we would spend one night camping at Shagawa Inn Resort and the following night at the Ely Outfitting Services new bunkhouse. We really enjoyed spending time in Ely meeting some of the locals, making last minute purchases at goodwill, buying fishing licenses and leeches, and enjoying a great little town.

Day 1 of 10

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Up early and on the road around sunrise we arrived at the entry point to find only mosquitos to greet us. We unloaded and shuttled down to the portage. Everyone seemed to handle their loads ok, which was good considering we had packed everything but the kitchen sink. We would not be starving on this trip. Down the creek and across Mudro in a nice breeze gave our paddle muscles a chance to warm up. We spoke to some folks headed in the opposite direction on Sandpit who had seen a bear on the previous portage. We would not have the same luck but did manage to catch the first fish of the trip near the landing of Tin Can Mike. My nephew Nathanial, who has an insatiable appetite for fishing, was the first to catch a fish. Back in the boat I had my nephew store the rods for the paddle. What a pretty lake this was; beautiful with good fishing to boot. Dan had not stored his rod while paddling across Tin Can Mike and caught a really nice smallmouth on a Five of Diamonds.[paragraph break] Nathanial and I paddle ahead, up Fourtown, to locate a good unoccupied site. We ended up with the island site at the far northern end. It is a beautiful site with multiple tent pads that looked south across the lake. We spent the afternoon fishing, swimming, eating and relaxing.


Day 2 of 10

Wednesday, July 01, 2015 After a nice breakfast of fresh eggs and bacon we loaded up to travel again. We slowly made our way down the Horse River encountering a little traffic in both directions. As I paddled my nephew took the time to learn how to work the Zulu. He had great success catching a couple of nice bass in the 18 inch range. I finally got in on the action at a some of the landing pools and caught a couple of mid-sized bass. At the last portage I realized I had left my lifejacket up river. Our team split up. Dan, Julie and Tucker went ahead to find a good site near Lower Basswood Falls while Nathanial and I paddled up stream in an empty boat to retrieve my life jacket at the last portage. It was a very peaceful afternoon with many ducks and other birds quietly going about their business. I was a little concerned that we would not find a site close to LBF but was relieved when looking across from the Canadian side of the river I could see Dan and Julie’s tent perched high on a bluff at one of our favorite campsites of the trip. We enjoyed an afternoon around camp and went fishing near dusk where Nathanial caught another half dozen or so bass. Poor Tucker went out fishing with his dad and once again came back skunked.


Day 3 of 10

Thursday, July 02, 2015 We were all very excited to head north and explore Crooked Lake as well as enjoying the open water with no more portages until the food was eaten down. Right off the bat I caught a nice 20” walleye trolling a deep diving rapala in firetiger; a lure that would catch many walleye on Crooked Lake. We spent a good bit of time viewing the pictographs and enjoyed feeling the link to the people of the past. I had intended to bring some tobacco to appease Maymaygwayshi, the mischievous trickster thought by the Ojibwe to live in the cliff, but never followed through with purchasing some. I had my nephew pick out a couple of small lures that we left in nocks of the cliff face.[paragraph break] We stopped for lunch along the route and made plans to fish a narrow spot on the lake that created a lot of current. We marked large schools of fish on the portage depth finder and drifted leeches on many different types of jigs for almost an hour. Not one fish caught among the group. We headed north again when I spotted the white head of a bald eagle bobbing up and down in the brush on a small island. I told my nephew to get really quite while we let the wind push us up to the island. With camera in hand I was the eagle struggle to take off; flapping it’s wings in an awkward manner. When he finally did take flight I saw what was hindering his take-off; one of the biggest small mouth bass of the trip hung from his talons. He flew off to eat in peace.[paragraph break] The wind picked up as we headed towards Wednesday Bay and the sky began to darken with rain laden clouds. We began looking for a suitable campsite and passed up a few before finally settling on an exposed camp on the southern point of a large island. We hustled to get camp up before the clouds unloaded. Typical of my nephew, he had his fishing rod in hand and was working a zulu around the perimeter of camp. He got a massive strike in an open patch of weeds from a giant bass we dubbed the “camp bass”. Over the next couple of hours we managed to get nearly a dozen strikes out of this bruiser but could not hook and land it. We joked Maymaygwayshi was messing with us and did not like our offering we made earlier in the day. Everyone had been skunked since leaving Picture Rocks.[paragraph break] The weather settled a bit as it neared the late afternoon. Nathanial and I went out in search of fish. We headed south back to a place not far away where a narrow point caused noticeable current. Nathanial had at a half dozen or so misses of both small pike and bass. We finally tried a weed cocked cove off to the side. Bingo! We got a couple of rises out of some bigger pike. Nathanial was still fishing a zulu on light tackle when a big pike came us and grabbed it boat side. It bent the rod and broke the line. After that I picked up my heavy rod rigged with 30 lb braided line and a titanium leader. I attached a Lucky 13 in the frog pattern and threw it out far from the boat towards shore. I let it sit until all the ripples faded and then popped it once. A huge pike lifted its head and tried to inhale the lure but missed. I popped the lure two or three more times and the pike came charging. It smashed the lure and dove, racing towards the canoe. It went right under the boat where we got our first good look at it and turned right and ran some more. It took line at will and would then turn and race back under the boat in the opposite direction giving us another look at it. I told Nathanial to work the boat towards the shore as there was no way I was going to bring this beast into the canoe with us. Each time the pike turned and charged in the opposite direction the lures trebles began to work themselves free of its boney mouth. On the 5th or 6th pass the pike finally spit the lure and swam free. I turned in disbelieve to my nephew. His hands were trembling as he held the paddle, but had the biggest smile I had ever seen stretched across his face. Maymaygwayshi would have the last laugh today as we paddle home skunked. It was the only day of the trip Nathanial failed to catch a fish but I would bet his most memorable of the trip.[paragraph break] It rained and thundered throughout the night.


Day 4 of 10

Friday, July 03, 2015 The boys continued in the morning to try and catch the “camp bass” to no avail. We packed up the headed west towards our intended destination; Friday Bay. We experienced stiff winds for the first time on the trip as we paddled down the narrows towards Big Current. We stopped and fished from shore and from boat at Big Current. We caught a couple small bass but nothing to write home about. Finally, as we were getting ready to leave Nathanial caught a nice 24” walleye, which we keep for that evening’s first fish meal of walleye mac and cheese. The wind really challenged us as we rounded the bend and entered the top of Thursday Bay. After finding one camp taken and not thrilled with the site a the east end of ? island we settled on a nice site on the smaller island just before entering Friday Bay. It had a nice protected landing site with a great tent pad as well as a couple of smaller tent pads down a trail along the water. This would be home for the next couple of days. We proceeded to set up a proper camp with a hammock, rain-fly and a red, white and blue string of pendants my wife had sewn for me out of handkerchiefs to help celebrate our Nations birthday. [paragraph break] We went fishing again nearing dark. We caught some nice fish on the backside of ? island, including a 26” pike. We ended up in the far back corner where Nathanial caught another nice18 inch bass on a Baby 13 in frog pattern. Tucker was still skunked as the end of the day; he still had not caught a fish on the entire trip.


Day 5 of 10

Saturday, July 04, 2015 Nathanial and I slept in late. Dan had woken up early and caught a few fish off the top of ? island, just across the channel. We had a nice lazy morning with a big brunch of pancakes and bacon. Nathanial had gone off exploring the island and fishing. He came back to report he had seen a big pike off the southern point. So I told Tucker to get his rod and let’s go. We had to bush whack through a lot of undergrowth to get to the point. I helped Tucker with his cast and swapped out a few lures. No sign of the big pike. I tied on a small gold rapala for Tucker and had him stand on a blocky bolder close to the water. As he reeled it in for the second or third time we saw a fish dart out and grab the lure. The little guy fought hard but soon Tucker landed his first fish; a nice rock bass. The only one we would catch the entire trip. His skunked streak was broken! He was a happy boy.[paragraph break] We all went out fishing in the afternoon trolling lures halfway down Friday Bay and towards Saturday Bay. We had a lot of success catching many walleye and pike. Julie also broke her skunked streak by catching a couple of nice fish. Again walleye for dinner along with some 4th of July moonshine to celebrate. [paragraph break] We all went out fishing again in the evening. One of our best outing. We caught many niced sized bass in the cove on the front of ? island. We all ended up fishing at a spot with-in view of camp where water moved over a shallow reef. We caught a few fish. Dan, Julie and Tucker headed back to camp first. I got my lure snagged and was struggling to keep from getting tangled when I hear Dan yelling from camp. I can see his boat drifting from camp is the fading light. Dan jumps into the lake and swims in all his clothing to rescue his canoe. Nathanial and I quickly head back to camp to find Dan trying to get into dry clothing in the worst swarm of mosquitos I had ever seen. We spent the rest of the 4th of July celebrating with a campfire, good conversation and more of Uncle Mark’s “ cough medicine”.


Day 6 of 10

Sunday, July 05, 2015 Up late again. We are concerned about the weather report we here on the radio. They are calling for high winds, thunderstorms and a load of rain late in the day. Dan and I spend the morning making sure there are no dangerous trees limbs near our tents and better securing the rain-flys. Then we go fishing and exploring. We found the old car on the Canadian side of the lake. Tucker catches a 27” pike which ends up the biggest fish of the trip. The storm does not disappoint. It rained heavily from 4-8 pm with a lot of distant thunder. We were hearing reports of gale force winds to the south and west. Thankfully it was only heavy rain we dealt with. The lake rose at least a couple of feet before night fall. We had a late wet dinner.


Day 7 of 10

Monday, July 06, 2015 We again wake up late and the crew decides to break camp and begin heading home. There was a strong cross wind out of the north-west as we canoed down Friday Bay. I caught a 23” walleye and Nathanial caught a 17” bass off a reef near the bottom of the bay. At the very bottom of the bay there was a small stream entering the lake. We dubbed it the “Bass Hole” after catch 6 nice bass on Zulus over the next 20 minutes. Dan ended up with a 19” bass, the biggest of our trip.[paragraph break] We then headed up out of Crooked on the muddiest trail I has seen in years. My poor nephew had been sent on this trip with what I call “water slippers” by my brother. Carrying the now lighter food pack which probably still weighed nearly 50 lbs., Nathanial got stuck in the mud multiple times losing his slippers. He wanted to bring a machete on the trip (I would not let him) but I bet next time he brings a decent pair of water shoes or boots. We cruise through Papoose, Chippewa and Niki; all pretty little lakes. We end up camping at the one site on Wagosh. It was a fair little site perched up high on a bluff but had the foulest latrine I have ever experienced. We did a little fishing around camp and on the lake. Nathanial caught a perch but Dan, Julie and Tucker had much better luck on the other side of the lake.


Day 8 of 10

Tuesday, July 07, 2015 We headed up the mile long portage trail fairly early the next day. On the first trip across the trail, while carrying his three person canoe Dan’s back went out. I hurried back to help him but he soldiered on finishing the portage on his own. Julie, Nathanial and I divided his gear up for our second trip to give his back a rest. Although not back to normal his back did manage to hold up the rest of the trip. We worked our way to Fairy Lake where we took the nice camp site close to the portage. Nathanial and I fished hard that afternoon, working back up to Gun and even Gull Lake with mild success. Upon our return to camp we heard about the camp snake that keep aggressively chasing the crew. It was just a small garter snake but after moving it into the bushes three times Dan put it in one of our now empty leech lockers for the night. When we let it out on our departure in the morning it was supper pissed, rearing up ready to strike.


Day 9 of 10

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 We were faced by the strongest head winds of the trip upon entering Boot Lake the next morning. We were all now seasoned veterans that handled it with no problem. I actually saw Tucker lounged back with his hat covering his head totally relaxed as his parents were digging deep to forge ahead through waves and wind. [paragraph break] Entering Fourtown Lake and scanning it with binoculars brought us back to reality. There were more people on this lake than we had seen over the course of the last 9 days. We finally found an empty site at the far end of the lake. It was ok and had a nice view looking north. We fished and played a bit. There was a nice hill across a small bay that looked like it had a lot of exposed rocks on the top. I decided to go see if I could get cell phone service to give my wife a call. As I climbed the small hill I notice it was almost completely covered with ripe blueberries and other berries. I thought for sure I would come across a grazing beer at any moment. I was able to talk with my wife for a few minutes from the very top of the hill. It was also a great view of our campsite and the lake. We caught a few fish near camp that evening. The crew had a couple more games of Ono which had turned into a nightly ritual with Dan, Julie, Tucker and Nathanial. I mostly took the quiet time to read and listen to the laughter and the sounds of the wild.


Day 10 of 10

Thursday, July 09, 2015 We head out early with a light fog rising off the lake. The portages into Mudro confirm our desire to return to civilization. We were back to Ely before noon where we enjoyed the simple pleasures of civilization before heading home the next day.


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