We got skunked on late trout on Duncan but did great on smallies using tube jigs near shore a few Mays back. We did a day trip to Moss Lake and drifted jig heads with night crawlers about 30 ft down to pick up a handful of nice lakers.
About 10 years ago we spent a Memorial Day weekend on Duncan. We camped on site 661 which is sitting out on a point and we were able to catch a handful of lake trout trolling back and forth in front of the camp with spoons and small crank baits. Potentially you could do this from shore.
Highlight was a day trip to Rose where we got into some nice smallmouth along the south shore about 2 miles or so west of the portage. Trolling while we were traveling got us a couple of lakers too. We then walked the BRT to the lookout which we definitely worth the effort.
Hey Pete, we will be in a yellow Wenonah with a red bandana tied to the back. Be cool to hook up with you and swap stories, maybe help each other up the Stairway Portage:). Lake Trout novice but hoping for a few, maybe you can show us the way.
Let me know as we get closer if the dates will coincide. Your group/canoe? Maybe I could buy you that Trail Center Breakfast Sunday morning?
Trail Center serves a delicious breakfast. I highly recommend.
Hello, lindylair. Should help if you are going in on a Sunday when most are coming out. I May be in the same area. My voyageur map says trout are average in quality but above average sized. I would like to walk the stairway postage just to check it out. Without fear perhaps. Unless I can get serious about training. Got a flying moose on your canoe? Pete
bposteve, I have not been to Honeymoon Bluff but am hoping for some similarly spectacular vistas along the BRT on this trip. I have however had the Clearwater breakfast and second your recommendation. We will be driving up the day before and camping somewhere nearby the entry so will have some time that morning. I have also been in Trail Center but have never eaten there - do they serve a good breakfast too?
cyclones, thanks for the tip. I listened to most of the podcast and it had a lot of good information, although the Duncan specific info didn't start until about 25 minutes in. Left me with good ideas of what campsites to seek out and hiking opportunities. Also left me a little confused about the fishing which seems to be both mediocre and with good numbers of LT with trophy potential. Guess I will find out although I am a total newbie to that species. Hope we find a couple.
Also did not realize, although I probably should have with the ease of access and Rose Falls nearby, that it such a potentially busy place. I am hoping that our entry in mid May dilutes that a little bit and we are able to get comfortably situated in a decent campsite and it's not Jellystone Park up there. I have no illusions of seclusion, just hope it's not crazy.
Still soliciting fishing tips, although I have at least a good base to start. Thanks all for the help.
There is a public landing toward the west end of West Bearskin. Follow the Gunflint Trail until the turn off to the right just before you get to Trail Center. I believe the road you turn onto is 65. Also called Hungry Jack Road because it goes to Hungry Jack Lake and Hungry Jack Lodge.
Follow the dirt road and follow signs to go to Camp Menogyn. You will pass by the turn off to Hungry Jack Lodge. Just before you get to Camp Menogyn is a small lot on your left side that will have numerous cars parked in it. That is the public landing for West Bearskin. If you drive too far, you will just dead end at Menogyn's landing on Bearskin and can turn around to go back.
It does save a lot of paddling. If you like hiking, this road also has a trail to Caribou Rock which is a beautiful overlook of surrounding lakes.
I never camp on Duncan so I can't speak to fishing or campsites. But it is well worth taking a day trip over to the portage into Rose Lake to see the falls and another scenic overlook.
Haven't fished Duncan, but you should find them shallow at that time of year. Second the little cleos and crankbaits.
As far as preparation -- it doesn't get much simpler, or tastier than fresh lake trout in my opinion. Fillet with the skin on. Season and grill on a piece of tin foil. Eat and enjoy. I don't even do oil/butter. I find a small bottle of seasoning a lot easier than bringing lemons and garlic and butter and onions and stuff. I've used lemon pepper, montreal, cajun, or just sea salt and ground peppercorns.
Listen to episode 70 of the Tumblehome podcast (who has ads here sometimes) they spend the while time talking about your lake. Campsites, fishing, access points. You won't get a more in depth review than those guys.
As for lakers, we've had our best luck trolling or drifting with little Cleo spoons. Deep, shallow, and anything in between depending on time of year
We were there in July a few years ago, there was pretty significant blowdown that year and most campsites on the lake were quite a mess. I'm sure they've been cleaned up by now. At the time the campsite just south of the portage in looked best, and 664 was pretty decent too.
We had no luck with the lake trout so unfortunately can't help you there. Did catch a few small mouth though.
We used the put in at the East end of Bearskin but saw people coming in from the other more Western landing and were pretty jealous. Probably knocks 20 minutes of paddling off.
Unrelated to your questions, but two non-BWCA recommendations for you. Have breakfast at Clearwater Lodge. Call ahead and make reservations either for the day you put in or take out. Beautiful place, really nice folks running it, and one fantastic breakfast. They do have bunkhouse accommodations too if you need them. Second, be sure to make the hike up Honeymoon bluff. Fantastic views for very little effort. View is every bit as good as you'll get from the BRT at the stairway portage.
Last minute change of venue for us, got a permit for 5/17 to a lake/area I know little about, Duncan Lake. I have some questions, if anyone has answers:
I have never fished Lake Trout before, I understand they are there in Duncan but maybe not the most abundant. Any tips on location and technique?
Any standout campsites? Shorefishing potential a plus.
I understand that you can put in at the West Bearskin landing on the east end of the lake but there may also be another option closer to the west end. How do I get to that spot and is there parking?
We wanted an easy in spot with some good photography possibilities as well as some hiking. Sounds like Rose Falls is a nice spot and the BRT is also nearby with some relatively easily accessed overlooks?
Given the time we are entering I wouldn't expect too much competition for campsites and Rose Falls could well be roaring. Hope the ice is out well before our trip:)
Thanks for any help.