BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 09 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1471 feet
East Bearskin Lake - 64
4 seasons on Canoe Lake
June 08, 2021
East Bearskin Lake
Number of Days:
Bunked at Alder camper cabin on Bearskin Lake campground. Having done the early AM drive for a number of years, we certainly agree the better alternative is arriving the night before and hitting the water early on entry date. A thunderstorm woke us around 4 AM and lasted a few hours. Once it cleared, we headed to Bearskin Lodge to grab and load our canoes. This is the 2nd time we've used their outfitting service and have been very pleased. Once loaded, we headed for the paddle to Alder. The short portage into Alder was dry and quick. Paddled the little rocky stream into the big lake and took our time checking available campsites. Nothing seemed better than 2 stars. The best sites were occupied, so we headed toward Canoe lake portage. Another dry and quick portage as we could easily see the two sites (700 and 701) across the lake. Brandon and I took off to explore the best option. We decided on the west site (700) as James and I base camped on the other a few years back. Immediately, we started setting up camp. Brandon and Laramie had the wonderful task of blowing up the two air mattresses which typically require an inflator. After about an hour and a half, we set out to Paddle Lake for some afternoon fishing. Laramie and James secured supper. Afterward, we established our evening ritual of a competitive game of euchre. Bedtime came early - with the help of mosquitoes and rain potential. Always sleep like a baby in the Boundary Waters!
~Bearskin Lake, Alder Lake, Canoe Lake, Paddle Lake
Awoke early for the hope of grabbing a few walleyes. Paddled the north shore of Canoe Lake down toward the Pine Lake portage. Laramie - the newbie - scored with some first time tripper luck. After a couple of hours, we headed back to camp for a tasty shore lunch. Brandon processed firewood for the evening and played another round of euchre knowing an afternoon/evening fishing trip was in store. No luck - but the radio station in Thunder Bay was offering a less than pleasant storm heading our way. A little more euchre, then early bedtime.
Today, we awoke to rain, cold, and wind. The high maybe hit 50. The NE winds were relentless. Periods of hail came for a visit. We spent most of the day sitting under the rain tarp, drinking hot liquids, and listening for a time frame for better weather. Not much excitement on a day like today - but it's still better than a good day at work! Weather did clear up a bit before bedtime, so plans were made for a healthy hike from Pine Lake portage to Johnson Falls.
Woke up to a beautiful BWCA morning. Sunshine and calm appeared to be the norm for the day. Packed some snacks, grabbed fishing poles, and paddled toward the Pine Lake portage. As we paddled, west winds started picking up. Our plan was to fish the walleye hole on the post Johnson Falls trip home. Johnson Falls was roaring from the recent rains. After the mile and a half hike, a dip was in order. Hit both the middle and upper falls. Since we arrived in the AM, we had the entire falls to ourselves. Took our time swimming and snacking. As we headed back down the hill, we saw a few groups of people heading up. Perfect timing! When we arrived back on Canoe Lake, winds were brisk. No longer being able to fish in our kevlar canoes, we struck out for a straight paddle into the wind/waves. Arrived back in camp for a fire and BWCA pizzas! More euchre to end the day.
~Canoe Lake, Pine Lake
Planned a day trip to Crystal Lake. Looked like intermittent showers were the rule of the day. Another short and sweet portage. When winds picked up a bit, we opted to stay on the east end of Crystal and fish. If you've ever been on Crystal Lake, it is named appropriately. When the sun is out, almost looks like it should be somewhere in the Caribbean. Spent some time fighting the wind gusts while casting. Caught a few small ones, but nothing substantial. Knowing we have plenty of meals in the food pack at camp allows for a very relaxing fishing attitude. There is a good reason we start planning the menu for our trip in late winter! We headed back to Canoe Lake and camp. Wind wasn't as swift as the previous day, so we fished to north shore on the way home.
~Canoe Lake, Crystal Lake
Our last full day. Spent time fishing, eating, euchre, and preparing our trip back to civilization. Caught some fish. Made a huge pot of red beans and rice, then relaxed until bedtime. Starting talking about which EP to think about next year. So many choices and so much to think about. In any event, we prefer the lakes off the Gunflint Trail.
Packed camp. Did the once over about 10 times. Left a little firewood for the next group. Loaded canoes and started heading back to Bearskin Lodge. We knew we had 6 miles to paddle, but cloud cover was our friend this day. No need for sunblock. We discovered we had a pack mule with us. We double portaged in - but single portaged out. Brandon the pack mule made sure. Funny how the paddle out always seems a bit longer than the paddle in. Nonetheless, we arrived at Bearskin by 10:30 am. Plenty of time to clean, change, and head down the trail to civilization.