BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
October 04 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1498 feet
Missing Link Lake - 51
EP 51 scout out trip
June 15, 2012
Missing Link Lake
Cross Bay Lake (50)
Number of Days:
Got a standard daybreak start and paddled across round lake over to Missing link. First portage out of round is not long or particulary short. A few rocks here and there but mostly a slow uphill climb. I am nursing a slight hangover and feel like we are moving at a snails pace but the work has to be done in order to obtain the reward, so we press forward. Missing link is small but kinda pretty, it has brookies but we don't stop to fish and move on to snipe. The first thing I notice from this area is the lack of red and jackpine. Mostly wall to wall black spruce which usually means lots of mosquitoes.
The portage to Snipe is longer but seems easier. Maybe I'm just feeling better or maybe I'm getting in the groove again. Snipe I am told is a very pretty lake but I am not overly impressed with it or it's campsites. The fishing doesn't look very good so we move on toward Cross bay lake.
Snipe to Cross bay is a easy portage of almost downhill. Once at the bottom of the hill the rain from the previous night and the sun from today collide and ignite a firestorm of mosquitoes. We get lit up and move quickly out into the main channel of Cross Bay to seek refuge.
Cross Bay is very marshy and I have heard is a great place to spot moose. I can see how that could be. Our plan is to reach Long Island lake but out in Cross bay we find a particulary good looking fishing spot with a decent camp nearby. So we pull up short and make camp at 10:00am. Set up camp and go see what might be in the spot we saw earlier. 14 walleyes in 45 min. Not to bad for noon fishing. We keep a couple for dinner and rest the hole. Dinner is chops, walleye and knorr rice. A nice fire and off to bed.
Saturday morning is nice and the wind has changed directions from the North to a hard SE wind. My experience is that a SE wind usually means oncoming rain. We cook steak for breakfast and plan to fish hard all day. At noon we hit our walleye spot again and pull out 3 more. We decide to keep none as we need to eat some of the stuff in the food pack. We fish another spot in the afternoon and watch a cow moose 30 yards away lazily feeding. While watching the cow my canoe partner hooks a nice walleye and I am treated to a great show. Watching him bring in this walleye with one eye and watching the moose with the other. The clouds are getting dark and we can tell a big rain is going to come down. We hustle for camp, tidy things up, grab a quick snack and hit the tents to watch the rain and read.
Fathers Day! The morning looks great. Camp is wet and soggy but for the most part today looks like it might be another good day. The wind is hard out of the north and has been all night. The plan was to book it down to Long Island and fish for lakers but the wind is blowing hard and Long Island might be really whipping up the waves, so we decide to explore our area further. We hit the spot again and pull out a nice norther of about 33 inches and 2 more walleye. We try to bushwhack to Dawkins lake via Dawkins creek and are finally pushed back only a few hundred yards from making it in there. There is some fire damage in this area but there is already good head high underbrush and I suspect this might be a great area for a moose hunter to try. Dawkins lake will have to wait another day. There is a small waterfall on the east side of Cross Bay lake that we saw coming in and we decide to bushwhack up to it and explore the lake that is producing this fall. For a small lake it is surprisingly deep and fishy.
We begin to notice more and more Mayflies are hatching. We see another moose and catch a few more fish before the clouds roll in and another big dumping of rain hits around 8:00pm. It rains pretty steady for 5 hours and both of our tents take on a little water in the corners but nothing unbearable.
We wake up to a still lake but a light rainfall. The night before we talked that we had seen enough of Cross Bay and wanted to move camp. All of our gear is wet and Tues and Wed are projected to be gully washers so we decide to pull out early, get a shower, dry out and maybe re-enter from a different EP along the trail if the weather doesn't look as bad as suggested. We decide to exit through Ham lake instead of re-tracing our steps through Snipe and Missing Link. Ham is a gorgeous lake. I'll say it again absolutely gorgeous. The falls into Ham lake are some of the prettiest that I have seen and the walleye and smallie fishing in Ham isn't too bad either. I will be back on Ham again someday for sure.
We inspect the campsite where the Ham lake fire began. I am surprised that only a thin strip of land Ham is burned at all. The lake is basically unaffected. The river coming out of Ham is a series of small rapids and some really cool scenery. After a few hundred more mosquitoes bites we are out of the woods and get cleaned up only to find that the rains predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday are reported acurately. Today will be our last day up the trail.
The trip was two days shorter than plan, the walleye fishing was much better than I planned, the scenery was as always better than plan. The wildlife was plentiful and I am glad that we left a little something on the table for another trip. The biggest surprise was Ham lake itself.