Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      LIS Loop question     



distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/30/2018 08:33AM  
I have a permit for next week at EP 14, i have done many trips but this will be my first solo and first time in this area.

My plan is to head up LIS to Slim and either cut over via Fat lake or work my way up and around through North and Sleep, but eventually coming down to Oyster and back out through Shell. I'm wondering if im going to be pushing too hard the whole time or if 5 days is enough for this route, I would like to fish some as well. What has me the most concerned is that last stretch from Oyster and back out and those look like big portages.

My other thought was to come out EP 16 if this was going to be too much for 5 days?
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
08/30/2018 09:03AM  
Without knowing how fast you paddle, how efficient you are at portaging, if you single or double portage, how much you want to fish, and how many days of the 5 you want to paddle, it's hard to say. But, I can tell you that you have roughly 4 days of 7 or so hour days of moving at a good clip, if you double portage. Cutting thru Fat will shorten that up a little if all goes well. If you can make it to Fat and fish on first day I would say you can do this trip easily in 5 days. I could not.
I have paddled this area quite a bit, but have not done a solo trip yet. Wind and weather, and if I remember right, water levels on Pocket and Ge-be-on-e-quet creek may be a factor also. Also I would not plan on dry footing this route, especially soloing. you will have a hard time at landings going from oyster to Ge-be. I've had great weather on Loon several time, and once I've also done the portage north into Loon only to find scary white caps. We did make it to a site on Loon, but I would not have even thought about it if I was by myself. Also if you only make it to Loon the first night you will probably not make this loop and have time to fish much in 5 days. That being said, it is an awesome area and if you have been many trips with fishing, you should know what you are capable of. I can tell you I could not make it from Oyster to LIS EP in one day. It would take me 10 hours or so with good conditions to do that stretch.
I think it's an ambitious trip, too ambitious for me to do in 5 days and have time to relax and fish. This route also is pretty hard to cut short once you get past your Fat lake option, if you get slowed down by weather or a great fishing spot, you can really only shorten it by a few hours a best by going out EP16.
If it were me planning a 5 day fishing trip from LIS I would do a Loon, Lac La Croix, Gun, Eugene, Steep, South( or Fat), Slim, and out. You can reverse it if windy going in, and you can shorten it by going from Snow bay of Lac la Croix to North and South lake, and then south to Slim. Or skip LLC all together by doing, Slim, Fat, Eugene, Steep,North and South, Slim, and out. This EP has many ways to lengthen or shorten your route and so very flexible. I like that choice.
Or EP 16 do Agnes, Oyster, Ge-be,Rocky, Green, LLC, Boulder Bay, and back out Agnes.
I haven't solo'd yet but I've read a lot about it and have my first one coming up too. remember you have to do all paddling, portaging and camp chores too.
I don't mean to discourage your route, if you are young and/or full of piss and vinegar, then by all mean have at it. For me I would want a 6th or even a 7th day option. Good luck whatever you decide.

distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/30/2018 02:05PM  
I would like to be able to fish the evenings, and i would be double portaging, my speed in a solo canoe is average. Originally i had the following planned without going through Fat at all;

Night one camp on Slim 6 hours from EP.
Night two camp on Finger 6-7 hours
Night three camp on Oyster or sooner, 6hours
Night four camp on Shell 5-6 hours
Day Five out to LIS 5 hours

I do have the ability to go to a 5th night as a buffer but its not planned.
08/30/2018 02:30PM  
That looks like a good plan and easily doable if moving all 5 days, but you know the saying " God laughs when man makes plans". Knowing you have the 5th night option, you have me sold. That is a great route. Have a great time!
distinguished member(1931)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/30/2018 02:41PM  
campnfish: " What has me the most concerned is that last stretch from Oyster and back out, those look like big portages. ?"

Those are big portages, but two of them are just a walk in the woods. However, the portage from Shell into Lower Pauness can be flooded out. When I went through there a couple years ago (also on a solo) the section that is on the eastern side, near that spit of a pond next to the portage, had spilled into the path. So I ended up loading the canoe and pulling it through the water. Ended up being 30 or 50 yards long. Water was about knee deep.

I did pretty much the same trip as you are planning: EP14, Little Loon, Slim, FAT, Gun, Takuchmich, LLC, Pocket, Gebeonequet, Oyster then out at 14. I had scheduled 14 days for my trip but ended up doing it in 7 days, 6 nights. I did have a layover day on Takuchmich island campsite, which I recommend that site.

I skipped North Lake because I heard the portage from North to Steep is a real bear. On the other hand, the unmaintained portage from Slim to Fat is no easy thing either, but it is pretty flat.

On Gebeonequet, you should check out the throne room someone made out of stones. It was there a couple years ago. Next to the western campsite on the north end of the lake.

Oyster has some lake trout that I was able to pull up in August the year I went.

Its a nice area and in retrospect I wish I had slowed down and taken the full 14 days.
08/30/2018 05:36PM  
Just did that loop in June. 1st night on Slim, next 2 nights on Finger, then 2 nights on Hustler. Some portages are long, but none too bad. We singled them, so doubling will take time. We were also in tandems, not solos, but every travel day was at a leisurely pace. So, our trip was six days and five nights with two layovers. You can do it in five...and I think you'll have time to fish the evenings.

We debated, but did not do the Slim/Fat portage. I enjoyed paddling those lakes and the Steep portage is not that bad. I'm not convinced the portage would have saved us any time. (Slim/Fat).
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/30/2018 06:13PM  
The problem with the slim/fat portage is i wouldnt reallly want to stay on Fat so early the second day, so id just be passing through unless i made the first night.
08/31/2018 10:10PM  
I find that I travel longer and farther solo than tandem. I leave earlier and arrive later at camps. Set up and take down is faster and easier. My meals are simpler and faster. Campsites that are marginal/poor for groups are actually nice for a solo. I think your schedule is fine.
09/04/2018 04:35PM  
I just finished that route yesterday. I did a 9 day trip; 3 layover days and 6 days paddling solo with my dog. My canoe is a small tandem, so about 10 lbs+ a real solo boat, I had about 13-14 lbs of dog food/gear, and I am not a light packer to begin with but do manage to double portage. I had to drive up from the Twin Cities and did not get to the entry point and on the water until about 1pm, and storms were forecast from 2pm onward, so I eagerly rushed to the first spot on Upper Pauness I could find as lightning was hitting ground not far away. That night my weather radio woke me up at 2:30 am with a warning of a huge storm, so that kept me up for a few hours leading me to not bother paddling the next morning. I stayed my second night on Little Loon near the portage to Slim, third night on Fat, fourth on Ga-Be, and rest of the nights on Oyster. Yesterday I paddled from Oyster out to LISN. It took me about 10 hours, with a 30 minute lunch break. I was spent when I got home. I was dreading that first 320p, but it was actually really easy - just long. Smooth elevation up and down, clear path, and even the 75 yard swamp crossing had nice corduroy to step on. Went very fast. I actually found the Shell-Pauness portage at 220 much worse; poor footing in spots, bad, mucky landing on both ends, and the middle was flooded out. Wet footers would do ok with the knee+ deep water, but I had just changed socks and was not eager to soak my rubber boots so had to float across.

The first portage on the map out of Pocket is not needed - just paddling into the creek. Its very weedy, and with any headwind (which I had every day of my trip) can be slow but is passable. Oyster is nice. I like the first site as you come from Rocky, and had some success fishing just on the outside of the hump into the big lake. Did not catch a lot, but did record my personal largest laker the other day on a Gold Rapala. They were all down about 30-35 feet, but would come up sometimes to feed.

I think 5 days is doable for someone in good condition who packs light and moves quickly, but it doesn't allow for bad weather, and I'm not sure how much time it would allow for fishing in the evenings. I was caught off guard by how early it was already getting dark.
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/04/2018 09:34PM  
Im in Ely tonight, probably wont get to EP until 10am, will see how it goes, at some point i have to make a decision to go the entire route or come back the way i put in. My gear pack is about 40lbs, my food pack is about 15lbs, and my canoe is about 30lbs. My knees started to act up last week on the treadmill carrying about 35lbs, so i am a bit nervous about that.
09/05/2018 03:13PM  
campnfish: "Im in Ely tonight, probably wont get to EP until 10am, will see how it goes, at some point i have to make a decision to go the entire route or come back the way i put in. My gear pack is about 40lbs, my food pack is about 15lbs, and my canoe is about 30lbs. My knees started to act up last week on the treadmill carrying about 35lbs, so i am a bit nervous about that."
Go get 'em, Brian. You'll be just fine. Have a great trip and tell us about it when you get back.
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/11/2018 09:23PM  
Just a quick post trip update, i did end up taking the Slim to Fat lake Portage. I would never take it again, besides it being pretty tight and probably 250 rods, i dont think i saved much time. I also think i choose a very aggressive first solo and learned alot, good and bad.
09/11/2018 09:54PM  
Did you use your optional 5th night? I thought your plan looked pretty ambitious. I know someone said they did it with 2 layover days, but they were tandem and single portaging. Big difference. I'm glad you made it, and learned what your capabilities are soloing. I would like to hear more from you about how your days were, having to do everything yourself. Moving, and in camp. I am going on my first solo, entering on monday, so any insight would be greatly appreciated.
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/11/2018 10:22PM  
I didnt use the optional 5th night, i actually slipped loading my pioneer pack in my canoe on day 2 and messed up both shins really bad, i also think i got a bug before i went in so i was not feeling 100% and didnt want to stay another night. The portage landings were all rocky or muddy or both, they were long as well, some 200's, 280, 310, and the Slim/Fat was up there as well. I also had very high winds going in and coming out of LIS, in fact on loon i had to pull off for an hour or so because of the white caps.

The problem i found was lack of hours with light, getting to a campsite that is east facing makes this even worse. I would plan to be at your campsite by 2:30 or 3:00 pm, anytime later and your hurried to get anything done. Now if you skip a fire then things get easier, but with 7:30 sunset i would have been very bored if i had to go to my hammock at 8pm.

Minnmike, where are you going in, whats your route and how many days?
09/12/2018 09:50AM  
Thanks Camp, Yeah it can be pretty windy on Loon and you don't know it until you get there. Sorry to hear you slipped and got hurt. Portage landings are my #1 concern soloing. Getting in and out.

My route is quite lengthly as I will be doing 30 day trip. Basically it will be Going in on Moose River EP16 and Thru Agnes to LLC. Follow border to Sag, but after Prairie portage, I will leave border and go thru Ensign, Vera, And over to Spoon. Then up Knife to Amoeber, and Topaz to Cherry. Through Lake of the Clouds, GIjikiki, Ottertrack, and over to Sag where I will stay at Voyageur Outfitter for a shower, meal, beer, wash my cloths and have 2 more weeks of food waiting for me along with some extra gear.
The second leg of my trip from Sag to my take out EP37 Kawishiwi Lake is less planned. Just depends on what I want to do. Lots of options.
So sept 17 to oct 17, I turn 50 on the 18th so this trip is my present from my wife. I wasn't planning on a solo, but wanted to do 30 days and no one I trip with could or would want to do 30 days. I am very excited and a little nervous.
09/14/2018 09:28AM  
Hey MinnMike, your first solo trip is going to be 30 days, and in the fall? I like your sense of adventure! I know you must be almost set with gear and packing, but thought I would toss this out for you. I want to underscore campnfish's comment about lack of hours with light, as you will be up there when each day is 12 of darkness or more, so here are two last minute gear suggestions for you to consider. If you don't already have one, I suggest you pick up a Luci Light (or other solar lamp). They are light, small, and cheap. I keep a cord and small biner on mine so can clip it to the top of my tent, by my head for reading, or under my tarp for early morning breakfast. Will also save your headlamp batteries. Secondly, consider getting a Solo Lite stove (or other twig stove). I took my new Solo Lite on my last trip and loved it. I bought it for an extended 17 trip I was planning mainly as a way to reduce the fuel (white gas) I would need, but found I really liked keeping it going after the water was heated just for the fire. While heating water I feed the fire with 2-3 inch sticks (pencil to marker size), but once the pot is off I feed 6-7 inch sticks in horizontally, and get a nice 10-16 inch flame. It is not as nice as a real camp fire, but it takes vastly less wood - meaning less gathering and processing. I almost always found enough wood on the ground within 10 feet of the fire grate - stuff others dropped. I would't try to dry my boots with it, but having that flame on raining evenings was great. And with a small and fairly easy to control flame, I was very comfortable having it under my tarp - - though I know not everyone would. I checked many times, and the tarp never got as warm as it does on sunny days. Mine, the Lite, is a mere 9 oz. The slightly larger Titan is just over a pound, but produces better heat. And either will help reduce the amount of fuel you need. Good luck, and happy birthday up there!

Campnfish - hope you did enjoy your trip, even if there were some tough learnings. Not feeling 100% will certainly put a damper on any trip.
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/14/2018 10:11AM  
Thanks Jaywalker, i did enjoy the trip.

Like Jaywalker mentioned having a luci light was something i had, and i loved it, i also had a headlamp but just having light around camp when there was no fire was awesome, Walmart sells them for $15.00. The other thing i had was about 30 feet of zing-it for a clothes line, then i could string that anywhere near camp and hang my luci light on it and slide it anywhere i needed it.
distinguished member (293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/14/2018 10:50AM  
Here are a few photos from the trip, East loon Bay sand beach campsite, and the others are finger lake island.

one more from shell.
09/14/2018 03:30PM  
Right on Jaywalker, I have been using a luci light for the last few years, and I have been in BW in late october and know how long the nights are. So i bought a second one for this trip. They are so light and easy to pack, and clip on the outside of my pack so can charge them while canoeing. I also bring really light headlamps and(i hope) plenty of extra batteries.
I also am bringing an Extra wood burning stove called a Firebox Nano that I bought last year. Sounds real similar to your Solo Lite. Can side feed it longer sticks too. Also have a little ground cloth for it so can use it by my tent vestibule under my small CCS tarp.
FYI, my gear pack weighs #52, My food barrel with harness weighs #27.5, and my Prism with painters, extra paddle, and portage yolk weighs about #37-38. So carry canoe and food pack together, and gear pack by itself will be carried first on portages. I keep second guessing my clothes, my gear, my food...If I don't have it now, I don't need it.
I know it's a long trip for a first solo, but I've always wanted to do 30 days in and nows the time. I can come out early if I want or need( I'm hoping not though) as it is my favorite place to be. And I also will be at an Outfitter, mid trip, for a day to clean up and resupply, so really it's 2- 2 week trips with a day break in the middle. I have done a 3 week trip in with others and that was plenty long. Sept-Oct my favorite time in BW so should be doable.
We are heading to Bemidji in a couple hours to spend the weekend with my daughter who goes to BSU. Drive to Ely on sunday to watch the big game, and get permit. Stay over night and head in Early monday morning.
So stay safe everyone, and will do my first trip report asap when I get back.

Camp, Thanks for the pic's and sorry for high jacking your thread.
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next