Day 1 of 8
Saturday, June 08, 2019 We’d had some gear planning sessions in the weeks/months leading up to the trip so we were prepared by the time our travel day came. We picked them up at about 6am and drove 9 hours from southern IA to Ely. We went to La Tourell’s and unpacked the truck. Then we went back to Ely (longer drive than we expected) for leeches, licenses, and a good supper at the brew pub on the main drag. Back to the bunkhouse which was great for the pre-trip gear packing into packs.
Day 2 of 8
Sunday, June 09, 2019 We had the 6:30am tow from La Tourell’s to the Indian Portage. We’d never done a tow before, it was a cool experience and we’re very glad to get those miles out of the way especially with first-timers. It was hot and a slight west wind helped us be on Moose lake 3 hours after the boat dropped us off. (single portaging mostly, including the last one) It took us another hour to get to Thunder Point or whatever it’s called after a quick stop at the bacon rock, there was a big group on the point so we kept paddling into the north arm of Knife setting our sights on the 2nd bay for a campsite. The wind was picking up and my Fisher showed the site 1464 on the SE side of the point. We paddled into that bay and no site to be found and the wind was picking up from behind us. We paddled down the shore to 1463 which was open but didn’t really like the landing nor the hike up to the site or the trash people had left behind. We pushed hard into the white caps to try and find the site on the point again after comparing notes with another map which showed the site on the N side of the point. We made it after some nervous moments and called that home for the next 2 nights. The site was very nice other than a general lack of shore fishing and all the pollen scum that had washed into the landing area. We raise beef cattle so home-grown steaks and sweet corn over the fire were a great end to a good first day.
Day 3 of 8
Monday, June 10, 2019 We knew this would be a layover day, so we did more fishing and exploring. The fishing seemed best in the shallows for northern and smallies so that’s where we went. The wind picked up again in the afternoon, maybe even stronger than the day before. We waited it out some and ballasted the other canoe better to handle the wind and we made it back to camp in some pretty good rollers. At the time, this was his personal best smallie. We tried fishing humps in the middle of the bay we could see in the sun for walleye and also trolled around for lakers with no luck.
Day 4 of 8
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 We were on the water and generally headed for either Amoeber or Cherry today. The portage from Little Knife to Amoeber was cool with running water sounds the whole way next to you. The island site was open but deep inside I wanted to get to Cherry. We took our chances and the western site on Cherry was open. We setup camp here for the next 2 days. What a beautiful lake, I’d read about it and seen some pictures and they’re all true and then some. We caught fish here and there but nothing crazy except for a big walleye.
Day 5 of 8
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 My wife did land a laker which was her first ever, but we were unable to find any others after hours of trying. We decided to hike the portage to Lunar just to check it out, I’m really glad we weren’t actually traveling this way! It looks rough and straight up right from the Cherry landing and it turns out that’s the easiest part! The middle is flooded by a beaver pond and the last stretch is up a boulder field with the sound of running water under you but unseen.
Day 6 of 8
Thursday, June 13, 2019 We re-traced our steps back through Topaz and Amoeber and then the western portage into the NAK bay. Then we took the portage immediately south into the bay of SAK. Picture is of my wife with CCS pack on her back and canoe. We try to always single portage which means one of us with canoe and pack and the other with pack and small food barrel on front. We ended up on site 1434 which is sort of hidden when paddling by but a nice site once you’re in it. We caught some northerns, smallies, and walleye later that day and ate a few for supper. That afternoon I paddled our butts all over SAK and didn't get a single hit while trolling/drifting for lakers. Not sure what we were doing wrong but that was a waste of time until I switched and went for walleye and hammered them instead.
Day 7 of 8
Friday, June 14, 2019 We wanted to travel today to get through the portages west of Knife so we could easily catch our 8:30am tow the next day. We paddled through light rain all the way across SAK but it luckily ended before the portages. We shed our rain gear and made fairly quick work of the portages and then started looking for sites on Birch. We stopped at 1239 because it was the only one open of the first set of 3. It’s an ok site, but the previous tenants had left it a mess. Food left in the fire grate area, fishing lures left there too, and then while looking for firewood we found what looked like a whole pot’s worth of food tossed out and covered with a few green pine branches. Luckily we had no animal issues but it wasn’t great. Oh yeah, and one of the logs from the camp furniture was still smoldering from a 2nd fire they had outside the grate. We got some fishing in later in the day after stuffing our faces with food and did alright on the bass and pike including a nice large mouth.
Day 8 of 8
Saturday, June 15, 2019 The last day, we were packed up and on the water with about an hour to spare besides paddling time. We fished our way west basically and my wife lost a huge largemouth that jumped and spit her buzzbait. I was drifting with a jig/plastic while she was casting and had a pike that looked to be 40” or so spit the hook as he swirled under me in the clear water. We made it to the tow and got a ride back to La Tourell’s for a shower. Bob runs a nice place that we will definitely return to if we’re tripping in the area again. Some personal best fish were caught, great scenery, and many new memories. My wife was the only one to complete the BW grand slam on this trip of laker, smallie, pike, and walleye.