BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
October 04 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1166 feet
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.
Our first loop
June 20, 2006
Number of Days:
The Big Island trip was a great success, great family and great fishing.
Woke up early and broke down camp. made seven portages and hurried back to the truck so I could drive back to ST. Ignace to pick up Lora and drive across the U.P, We stayed at a friends in Gogebic.
We were up early and on our way to Ely by 8:00 am. We saw a beautiful bear cross the road in Wisconsin at 9:00 am. We reached Ely about 2:00 PM; we got a room at the Adventure Inn picked up a few things in town and went to sleep early.
Lots to do today wash clothes, buy supplies, spray all our clothes with permethrin, get our permits, pack all the packs and eat our traditional meal at the Ely Steakhouse then we hit the sack early.
We were up by 4:00 am ate at the Cranberry. Picked up the bait and were on our way to ep 23. It was a beautiful morning, we were on Picket creek by 7:30 AM we were not 5 minutes into the trip, and we saw a small buck 15 yds in front of us, then we saw another one 2 minutes later.
When we reached the portages to Fourtown we saw some people coming out with all their belongings spread all over the place. We had to unload on the beaver dam, then I heard Lora yell in disgust someone had taken a dump right at the portage, right on the trail and didn't even try to dispose of it.
With that behind us, we made it to Gun Lake by 3:30 PM I double portaged and Lora single portaged. We saw a couple of anglers; the boy said the fishing was great the father said it was OK. The five star campsite was taken. By the time we got to the other campsite it was pouring, we set up the tent and tarp and the rain stopped. After the long day we just ate dinner and fished from the campsite and caught a few smallies and were sleeping before sunset.
Up early again sore and tired we had sausage and eggs. I was anxious to go fishing and as usual, I was waiting for Lora in the canoe. We trolled along the shoreline towards the creek that comes in from Gull Lake; we did not get any bites trolling. However, we did get all the bluegills we wanted and a few smallies at the mouth of the creek. When we were trolling back Lora caught a 29" pike, it was her largest ever. When we released the pike I went back to where it was hooked and discovered what I thought what might be a honey hole it was 7' to 9' deep with brain size boulders and cabbage weeds and a drop off nearby.
That evening we went back to what we now call the SPOT and threw out a couple of leeches under slip bobbers and absolutely slammed them. 2 to 5 lb smallies, Lora had one on, it was the biggest smallie I ever saw and she fought it perfectly but the line broke, I did not set the drag right. That was OK because we felt we would get another chance. It was a wonderful evening and we fell asleep dreaming of the next day.
A day of fishing I will never forget.
In the morning we went to the SPOT and caught a bunch of nice smallies, then I caught what I thought was a small fish when all of a sudden my line peeled off like never before, pandemonium had hit the canoe, I fought it for several minutes then slowly I saw the bobber coming up when the line zipped parallel to the canoe when I realized the 10" bass was swimming sideways, then I saw her, she was well over 40" and had t-boned the bass, and after a couple more exciting minutes she let go, and I won the battle I caught that 10" bass, every shredded inch of it.
Then we took a little side trip to Gull Lake saw a few deer one of which it appeared to have been driven crazy due to the bugs it was jumping, twitching and trying to hide in the lake. We caught one 7" perch.
We headed back to camp but not without dropping a line at the SPOT, I figured we could catch a couple of smallies for lunch, we ended up catching walleyes and smallies one after another, when I caught a nice walleye about 17" as I was staring at him as I was bringing him in, when here she came from underneath the canoe and WHAM! she was back! and tried to steal my fish again and I managed to get that fish back. WE now call that pike SPIKE the PIKE due to her tenacious, carnivorous attitude. After we caught our lunch we headed back to camp, fresh walleyes nothing like it.
After lunch and a nap, I was ready for another battle at the SPOT, and it all went according to plan. The walleyes and smallies were cooperating, Lora caught the fattest 19.5" smallie I ever saw, she is quite the fisherwoman. Then to my disbelief, it happened again SPIKE was back, we must be sitting on her hunting grounds she attacked a 15" walleye but this time she gave up after 20 seconds, I guess she learned her lesson, nothing steals my fish! After a great day of fishing, we had dinner and watched the local engineers at work, started a fire, relaxed and prepared our minds for the next days travel.
We started late for a travel day about 11:00 AM it was a gorgeous day, sunny about 80, but by the time we hit Niki Lake, it started to rain we decided to move on. However by the time we made it to Chippewa Lake, it was a downpour so we set up the tent, lit the lantern and started to dry out what we could, and by the way this campsite stinks. When the rain subsided at 6:00 PM we were antsy so we back tracked down the Papoose river, Lora had noticed some pitcher plants on our way in so we wanted to get a closer look and to our amazement there were hundreds of blooming pitcher plants and we took some pictures. then the rain started and the mosquitoes were out in force we hurried back to camp, the mosquitoes were so thick the forest was buzzing.
When we were back in the safe confines of our tent , Lora pulled out her flower book. While we were investigating the pitcher plant, we found out that some insects thrive in the plant. One of which was the ruthless, carnivorous, bloodthirsty BOG MOSQUITO. It not only thrives but also lays its eggs in the digestive juices of the plant. Upon reading this, we decided to make our escape in the morning.
We woke up at 6:30 AM and we were shocked, to not only find the tent covered by mosquitoes but also SLUGS, they were on everything outside. They were on the tent, packs, dishes and boots everything!
It was a dreary morning; the clouds looked like they were hanging right on top of us. We packed in record time but not before taking this picture of a nesting eagle. The rain held off for 45 minutes then it was a steady drizzle. When we arrived at the end of the portage at Friday bay, we saw what appeared to be a mass exodus off the lake, one large group that was much unorganized and a couple that had their routine down, they had told us the fishing was average. Lora and me had a little pow wow , talked about our strategy, and decided as long as the wind was calm and it did not pour we would continue through the rain as far as we could.
At 9:30 AM as we were making our way out of Friday bay we ran into two men 8 days into a 11 day trip they were heading to Moose lake they had enough of the rain and were seeking shelter.
As we made our way to Lower Basswood falls area I had one of those moments, for just a moment, when I was looking at the map and the land around us and for a moment, I was not sure where we were. in addition, that's when Lora said we should be going that way, and in a moment of male ignorance, I lost my temper after 20 seconds, I realized she was right. I quickly apologized and followed her direction.
As we entered the Lower Basswood falls area we noticed campsite after campsite empty then we realized, we might get the campsite we wanted, then 15 minutes before the falls, came the thunder and the downpour it was coming down with such force it was splashing into the canoe we immediately sought shelter, at a nearby campsite. In 9 yrs of BWCA camping, we had our first tarp party it was not so bad it lasted 10 minutes.
Then we were on our way, 15 minutes later we were at the portage to the Basswood river. There was a group of nine coming from the river four looked experienced and five had that, why am I doing this look.
We got our campsite, set up camp and the rain disappeared , and it was a beautiful evening. Two troop leaders stopped by and told us there was a bear problem below the falls they said when they arrived at the campsite, someone left in a hurry they left their tents, sleeping bags and most of their gear they cleaned up the mess and stayed there.
It was a long haul from Chippewa Lake to the Basswood river in a all day rain, I have to hand it to Lora she was a trooper she did not complain once. After a long day like this, we fell into a coma before the sun was down.
I love my mornings; it is so peaceful and serene. There was a thick fog this morning we were out fishing when the fog lifted and everything started to appear including this blue heron that posed for me. The fishing was slow there was a mayfly hatch the last few days, but we still caught some smallies and pike. Then we saw the two men on the 11 day journey they were shocked that we paddled through the rain but most of all I think they were impressed with Lora. We made our way back to camp tightened up camp and washed each others hair with warm water. (what a luxury)
Today's agenda is to visit the picto's on Crooked, and spend sometime on that side of the falls. We caught some smallies, and checked out some of the campsites there are a couple of 5 star campsites below the falls, next time we definitely will stay there. Back at camp we agreed to gather some firewood for our last night, once we dropped the firewood off, Lora took care of the fire while I went out for my last evening of fishing I had saved one dozen leeches from Gun Lake just for this, and I was not disappointed in a 1/2, hr I was out of bait and had a canoe full of walleyes all released. By the time I returned to camp Lora had the fire going as we sat at the campfire, I noticed something just out of the distance of the light. when we investigated, we found a turtle in labor she was in the middle of making her nest, and did not care we were watching, we let her do her business. Another full day and we have a full day tomorrow.
It is another beautiful morning and HOT! As we were braking down camp a couple of forest rangers stopped by, asked about the fishing they were very nice and told us it was going to be in the 90's and rain was coming the next day.
We were on our way by 11:00 AM the Horse river is a great river we saw this doe feeding on the edge. Making our way to Mudro, this is the first time we would go through Tin Can Mike and Sandpit we were a little worried about the portage from Sandpit to Mudro, sure, it was tough but we've done worse.
Once on Mudro visions of cold beverages gave us extra strength and we were flying across that lake then we saw what appeared to be a very impressive buck in velvet, it was to far to get a good look at.
Once we were back at Chainsaw Sisters Saloon, we packed up, had our traditional drinks and got a room in Ely.
As usual,we got our room and I raced to the Dairy Queen and ordered three flamethrower meals with lg cokes and a extra lg chocolate malt with extra malt mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
This day I promised Lora we would shop until 1:00 PM then we hit the road.
all the way home we were reminiscing about the trip the Pitcher plants, SPIKE the PIKE, Bog mosquitoes, the all day paddle in the rain, waterfalls,deer,eagles, countless fish and the company.
That is why we immediately started making plan to go back again this year; we head in on 8/26/06 ep 16 to a base camp on Iron Lake.