BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
July 02 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1864 feet
Lizz & Swamp Lakes - 47
Awesome week on Horseshoe Lake
July 02, 2016
Lizz and Swamp Lakes
Number of Days:
Lizz was an easy paddle, and the portage to Caribou was fairly easy also. We got thru Caribou fairly quickly, and the portage in to Horseshoe was gravy. Once on Horseshoe we decided if either of the 2 sites were open that we like we would grab them and pass on going to Vista (we were getting a bit tired). The 2 we wanted were both taken, so we paddled to the one between them, campsite 674. There was a couple that were just getting ready to jump in their canoe so we thought "rats, its occupied". Turned out they just stopped there for lunch and were leaving so we got the spot! Dan and Diane checked over the site, and they loved it. Plenty of room for 3 tents and a pretty nice latrine area, and the exit and entry for our canoes was shallow and easy to maneuver. We loved the site!
Day 3-5 One thing I noticed was there were alot of mayflies floating on top. This proved to be the reason why the fishing was tough, and the fact that every day had a post card sky, bright blue and lots of sun. We all went out fishing and we caught a few walleyes but nothing real big. Duane caught what I think was a sauger, it had dark blotchy spots on it. When we got back from the trip I did some research and I guess a walleye has a white tip on the bottom of the tail and a sauger doesn't. We had a ton of turtles hanging out around the site; some very large snappers who were loving the mayfly buffet and some painted turtles that came up on our rock every evening to try and lay their eggs. At times there were 3 or 4 at a time, as soon as one of us would get up out of our camp chair they would scramble back in to the water. I caught one decent walleye that was just over 23 inches, and it fed the group that night.
We had wonderful days with great food (Diane is an exceptional cook, everything was well planned out and delicious) and occasional naps in our hammocks; life was definitely good. We day tripped down to Vista; the portage was short but very rocky. We had lunch at the 5 star site; it was nice but we all liked our site on Horseshoe better. Here is a pic from the Vista site.
Day 6 Wednesday was a day I'll never forget, it was like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom! The guys got up at 4:30am to go fishing. Dan and I were heading towards the west side of the lake when we saw a cow moose with twin calves swimming from the north shore to the south shore. She was out there quite a ways, so we decided not to paddle towards them. A short time later while were fishing I heard something behind me. I turned around to see another cow moose with a single calf; and they were close!
Then, after they swam by I noticed across the lake in the bay there were 3 other animals standing close the water. We paddled over and it was a cow elk and twin calves! I only had my GoPro so I couldn't zoom in on them. They all walked behind the bushes/trees so I couldn't get a decent shot. We could see the face of the mother thru the trees; she just stood there and looked at us; it was definitely an elk, so cool! Ok, it gets even weirder now. So we head back over to the north side because it has some nice structure. I'm throwing a roadrunner type jig with a white gulp twister. I toss it up close to shore by a log and something smacks it, my line is pealing off and I try to flip the switch so I can backreel. I'm thinking it's a big northern because it starts to tow the canoe! I look to the left where the line is being taken and a freekin beaver surfaces! What the! Dan and I just look at each other in shock. I was able to break the line and let it go. I didn't see my lure in its mouth but the way it hit it right away I'm thinking it may have went after it. Crazy stuff. We caught a few fish and headed back to tell the girls of our escapades that morning. They both wished they would have came out also. That afternoon we were hanging out by the campfire grid and talking. I was standing there and a large hare ran right between my legs! Everyone's like whoa that was a close encounter. I started to walk back to our tent area and a pine martin ran right in front of me! We thought maybe it had scared the hare into running thru our camp. To top off the day and the trip we were all sitting around the cooking area around 8pm when a pack of wolves started howling. It was so cool! They howled off and on between 8pm and 4:30 am the next morning. It sounded like they got within an 1/8th mile or so. That was my favorite part of the trip as I have never heard wolves in the wild before. Day 7 We headed out around 10am, it was our first cloudy day of the week, but it was fairly calm. It was an easy paddle, and we returned back to our trucks at the entry point 47 parking lot. We didn't catch a whole of fish but still had a great time. I think Horseshoe has a fair amount of good size walleye and northern in it. It's a very nice lake and campsite; I would recommend it to anyone looking for fairly easy portages and wildlife viewing.