BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 08 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 1.5
Elevation: 1235 feet
Little Gabbro Lake - 33
Little Gabbro Fishing Loop
June 22, 2005
Little Gabbro Lake
Number of Days:
Unfortunately, we get a late start due to travel arrangements. My brother arrives in Minneapolis/St.Paul airport at 0415 after an all-nighter. We compare gear, toss out duplicates and head out to Ely. The folks at Voyager North are very knowledgeable and point out good fishing spots. We pick up our canoe and head out to Little Gabbro entry. The weather is beautiful and our first(195 rod) of eight portages goes without a hitch.
We catch a few Northern while trolling silver/black rapalas through Little Gabbro and Gabbro. Like an idiot, I try to remove a treble hook bare-handed and get a hook buried deep in my right index finger. A few tylenol and some slicing and dicing get it out and we're on our way. We make camp in Bald Eagle and feast on steak fajitas and enjoy a wonderful sunset. Tequila for dessert.
We make a breakfast of potatoes (roasted the night before) and eggs, before heading out to Turtle Lake. The portage is fairly rigorous, especially the beginning....uphill and rocky. The water in Turtle is shallow, fairly murky and my water filter gets clogged very quickly with muck. Fortunately the Northern fishing is good. We don't catch a lot of fish, but those that are caught are decent size. The campsite on the island is taken, so we opt for the next closest. That night, the wind picks up. We move our tent for fear of getting blown off the rock. But the weather is warm and the wind is a welcome break from the heat. We enjoy a bug-free night and chow down on Northern Pike and penne with a creamy tomatoe sauce. The vodka and crystal light hits the spot as well.
Wake up to pancakes with peanut butter and jelly. This becomes our breakfast of choice. We break camp, catch a few northerns and watch three hawks searching for fish in a tandem formation. Then we make our way to Clearwater. The 214 rod portage is long but not bad overall. Clearwater is an absolutely beautiful lake and we chug water like it's going out of style. There's no one on the lake and enjoy watching an Osprey circle and land near the portage to Camdre. We don't catch any fish on Clearwater, but we basically trolled through, realizing that we want to get to Pietro for some smallmouth fishing. The two portages go OK but unknown to us, Denimdemon loses the tip half of one of his rods when the rod tube comes unlatched. He makes a third trip through the second portage and finds it. We get a "five star" camp site atop a tall rocky point with a nice view of the island and head out for fishing. The SMB action is RED HOT and we quickly realize that we need to stay for an extra day to fully appreciate the fishing on this lake. We eat a bass and alfredo pasta for dinner. Jack Daniels and cocoa...mmmmm.
Another breakfast of pancakes and we're off to land over 40 fish between the two of us, including 5 double hookups. The SMB are VERY active and we fish 6-7 hours straight, casting as close to the shoreline as possible. The fish are holding very close to the waters edge in any visible structure. There are so many rocky points/dropoffs to name. The entire Eastern shore, island and western inlet seem to be the most productive. The fish we caught were of all sizes and are caught on crankbaits, silver and gold rapalas, bucktails and small chartreuse spinnerbaits as well as buzzbaits in the evening.
We eat another bass for dinner because we didn't want to try very long for walleye. The bass action is too fast for comparison and we quickly get bored jigging for walleye. There's no freshwater comparison to the fight of a smallmouth bass. Fried bass with potatoes and onions hits the spot after a long day fishing. Watch a few loon swim/fish/call while eating and reading books. Wash dinner down with Tequila/vodka/Jack....bad idea
The booze hits my head harder than expected. Worse yet, the pancake mix is gone. We eat fried potatoes and dried eggs. The eggs have the texture and taste of burnt rubber and I enjoy the flavor intermittently the rest of the day. Not quite the hangover helper I needed. We brake camp and make our way to Gull. Since we stayed and extra day on Pietro, we need to travel all the way back to the Little Gabbro entry today. The portage to Gull is a piece of cake. Gull looks like a nice lake but we don't have the time to explore or fish. There are two portages to Bald Eagle from Gull and the first is very short. In between there is a short marsh paddle that is quite beautiful, scenic and serene. The second portage is more intense, mainly due to the length and a few elevation changes. We get to Bald Eagle and have the good luck to have the wind at our backs for the majority of the return. We troll through Bald Eagle, Gabbro and Little Gabbro and catch one last northern and stop for a picture. There's plenty of wildlife to be seen...Bald eagle, two deer drinking water, turtles. No moose. The transition from Gabbro back to Little Gabbro involves a short rapid which we run through inadvertently fully loaded down with packs. Fortunately we steer through straight and make it unscathed. The final portage to the truck is not bad and we get a shower and cold drink back at the outfitters. All in all a great first trip. One more day for this loop would have been better as we didn't get to enjoy Gull lake. I had trouble adding photos on this report...will have to put them somewhere else.