BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 03 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1865 feet
Skipper & Portage Lakes - 49
May 29, 2015
Cross Bay Lake
Number of Days:
(This will be the first of many trip reports I will post when I can find the time)
After having camped in the forest just north of Tofte at a beautiful riverside campsite on the 28th , we were up at the crack of dawn to get bait in Grand Marais and head up to Tuscarora Lodge to get the needed rental equipment and hit the water (only needed a couple canoes for part of the group).
Overall, Tuscarora was a positive experience. Although, we did find it odd that duct tape was placed on the bottom of the rental canoes to babysit how they were treated. We were told they would know exactly what we did to the canoes due to the tape. Also, anti-gun sentiment was very apparent as the rules were read to us. We weren't planning on shooting or anything, we never even mentioned guns. We were basically told to alert authorities if we hear gunshots, as that's what most people do. We just thought it was unusual we would be discouraged from a lawful activity with no prompting whatsoever. We could only assume that past guests had been disrespectful of their canoes, and irresponsible with firearms. No hard feelings.
The experience was overall positive. Ada was straight forward, helpful, and knowledgeable. She even pointed us to some good fishing spots that were productive.
We set off on the river and enjoyed a pleasant paddle to the south end of Cross Bay Lake, where we caught a nice 17" walleye from shore within 10 minutes of landing. That afternoon we set out after walleye. We were targeting walleye but did not catch any until about an hour before dark, when it got HOT. We pulled in 20-25 walleyes, most too small to keep. A few small pike were mixed in, but no bass.
We had a fish feast that night and enjoyed perfect weather.
We got up, enjoyed a lazy breakfast and then got moving and headed to Long Island Lake. The portages were all easy and the route was scenic. One member of our group was in a species contest and needed a lake trout to continue his progress.
When we got there he was to tired to fish, we ended up pulling a couple pike and ate them for dinner. The flies were a bit of an issue, but nets and spray held them off. We had a drumming grouse that hung around all night, I watched him for my entire time on the latrine that afternoon, as did others. Apparently the latrine was his hangout.
We also had an owl that hung around our camp all night, very cool.
Since we had to exit on Monday, and we knew where the Walleye were on Cross Bay, we decided to go back and hit our old campsite to pile up the eyes that night. The sites on Cross Bay were full, so we headed to Ham.
We met a nice German couple who were coming in to the BW with a small child, we exchanged pleasantries but a bit of a language barrier existed.
We found a nice campsite on Ham and located the Walleyes within a couple of hours. Not much size, but enough decent ones for another great walleye fry.
That night, a cousin of mine who happens to be an Iraqi War veteran of the 82nd ABN Div. caught his first ever fish. He went for the cycle with a nice Walleye, Pike, and Smalley....all from shore at our campsite the last night.
We woke up to a slow steady rain, enjoyed a lazy morning with coffee and a lot breakfast and then took the last two portages out.
Great trip, minimal mosquito's and hungry walleye.