BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 23 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 4
Elevation: 1471 feet
East Bearskin Lake - 64
Canoe Lake for 19th consecutive trip
August 11, 2018
East Bearskin Lake
Number of Days:
Left the cabin in N. Chippewa County, WI @ 4 AM. We always spend the day before packing our two Duluth packs and one gunny sack (for food bag and camp chairs). We brought our breakfast and coffee for the drive and hoped the HWY 61 construction wouldn't slow us down too much, planning to be on the water before 11 AM. Construction crews were on weekend break - so not much delay. Arrived at Bearskin lodge by 10 AM and grabbed our rental - 17' Northwind. All went well as we loaded and off the beach by 11. The wind was not an issue as we paddled east toward Alder. Checking the campsites ahead of time, the original plan was to grab one of the two 5 star sites on Alder. We had no idea how busy this area was - but all the campsite on Alder were taken, so we headed toward Canoe. As luck would have it, the 5 star across the portage was open and we grabbed it. Great bear hanging trees and quite a few excellent tent pads to ponder. First things first, we hung our catadyn filter bag, rehydrated, and ate our ceremonial summer sausage and cheese. All went well as it was dry as a bone. Temps were in the mid 80's - a bit too warm. Set up camp, hung the food pack, and strung the poles for fishing.
Headed fishing into Paddle Lake. Navigated the rock stream on the west end of Canoe - as the water level was extremely low. Had to hop out 2x - but it was well worth it. Each of us were successful with northern and bass. None were big enough to keep. Headed back to camp for some drinks - still in the 80's and quite sunny. We were wondering if a burning ban was imminent due to the very dry conditions....? Gathered some firewood and planned the afternoon fishing trip. Planned a day trip to Johnson Falls in the morning.
Johnson Falls day trip. From the first time we explored the Falls a few years back, it's often a desire to head back. This time, the heat was out and a quick dip would be rather relaxing. Headed toward the Pine Lake portage, ditched the canoe/paddle, and started the long hike to Pine. At Pine, we headed west on the Johnson Falls trail. Met up with a gentleman and his daughter who we saw entering Canoe from Alder after sunset. Glad they found the last remaining campsite on Canoe. The Falls were running at their summer time low, which meant a nice long soak under the falls.
Day fishing trip to Alder. Hoping for some walleyes, but the sun and heat would not cooperate. Fished the east end pretty hard, then decided to head back to Canoe, fishing along the way. The first cast after the portage, James landed this 30" northern which we decided would be our dinner.
Fishing Trip to Crystal. Crystal is a gorgeous lake - aptly named. Had a few strikes, but mattered little as this clear lake is worth the trip.
Back to Paddle lake and some more paddling in Canoe lake. Fish were plentiful, but appeared to be uninterested in hard strikes. We speculated the heat and sun throughout the week shut them down. We enjoyed observing these 8 loons that would drop into Canoe Lake every morning. We wrestled with what to call them, then later checked and labeled this photo "An Asylum of Loons."
Packed up and headed back toward the lodge. Long paddle ahead - and as fate would have it, the slight wind was out of the east, so at our backs the entire way. Encountered quite a few days of Canadian wildfire smoke with probably helped with our sunburn chances. Decided to pay it forward and leave the next campers some dry firewood. Stopped in Grand Marais. Our 19th consecutive year of Father/Son paddling successful. Not a drop of rain either. Next year marks our 20th.