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Chross16
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12/15/2018 09:28AM
Hey all!

I am thinking about doing a first time trip to the "Q" with my buddy this September. I have been to the BWCA a lot as well as Woodland Caribou so we are experienced trippers. For some reason I have never dipped a paddle in the Q and think it is about time! I am looking for some thoughts and direction around a good trip route. We like to do a loop typically returning to our entry point. We fish and primarily target walleye and lakers. WE love adventure, little to no crowds, and work hard to get to prime spots so we arent afraid to put in the sweat equity for good spots. Any insights, thoughts, wisdom on good routes that fit the descriptions above? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you may have!

Chross16
 
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Chross16
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12/15/2018 09:35AM
forgot to add a 5-7 day trip on average
12/15/2018 09:37AM
Any thoughts/preferences on northern entry (going through customs), or southern entry (using an RABC)?
Chross16
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12/15/2018 05:18PM
I am really open to either way :)
scat
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12/15/2018 05:24PM
Go for it. You seem gung ho. There is plenty of info available. Good luck and have fun.
GraniteCliffs
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12/15/2018 08:35PM
Where do you live or where will you be coming from as you head to the Q? Might make a difference as to where you enter.
If you enter from the north you have to cross the border, which is usually painless but can be a hassle. But entering from the north you each save a few bucks on daily fees and the cost of an RABC. And, likely, the cost of a tow.
Entering from the south saves gas and time but adds the other costs.
I have found it more convenient to simply enter from the south, coming up from the Twin Cities. I am always anxious to get on the water quickly and the southern entry option allows you to do that.
I would consider entering out of Ely at Prairie Portage, via a tow up Moose Lake to Prairie. From there simply head to Agnes--three fairly long portages away. You then head straight north and get into Kawnipi. From Kawnipi take the turn in the northwest corner of the lake and head south down the Cairn/Sark/Piwi run. Some of the prettiest lakes in the area. Exit the southern tip of Kashapiwi and work your way back to North Bay and Prairie.
Not too hard to do in 5-7 days, even with fishing time. I have been on this route many, many times and always love it. Did this route on a solo last year.
I get juiced just thinking about going again!
Chross16
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12/16/2018 11:36AM
Awesome! I live in ND and so I can make it easily to the north end or the south. Do you have a recommendation for the tow and where is it located? Thanks for the info and recommendations
billconner
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12/16/2018 03:47PM
If not much out of your way, enter on north side. I love Beaverhouse access and Quetico Lake. Lots of loop opportunities or connect with an outfitter and do point to point. While Moose to PP and the Q lakes and routes are fantastic, i think at least Beaverhouse if not all north acceses are even better.

(The only downside, Atikokan is no Ely by any stretch of the imagination. I could spend a week in Ely. A short afternnon is about it for me in Atikokan. I met folks exiting Beaverhouse and driving to Ely for their first night out of the park!
Banksiana
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12/16/2018 04:21PM
I disagree with the superiority of northern entry. Much of the northern half of the park has been logged. Most of the northern park has less elevation change and thus less dramatic rock formations. Travel is easier in the north. Bigger lakes and generally easier portages with quite a few notable exceptions.
Chross16
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12/16/2018 05:08PM
Thanks billconner. I appreciate it! Banksiana, what would your recommendation be for entry and route?
GraniteCliffs
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12/16/2018 06:09PM
I think there are no real right or wrong entries when it comes to spending time in Quetico. Just getting there is what counts.
I sent you a personal message.
It might also be useful if you joined the Quetico Forum on this board. Lots of very knowledgeable folks there with good information for you.
TominMpls
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12/18/2018 01:40PM
I've only paddled in the Q once so take that with a grain of salt, but to me the experience of *entering* the park in a canoe, paddling up to the Canadian flag above the Cache Bay ranger station, on an island in the middle of a wilderness lake, was really exciting and special. So I recommend that. Our trip also took us through Prairie Portage, and it certainly wouldn't be as dramatic a way to enter the Q as the Cache Bay ranger station. I imagine that entering on the northern side would be a lot like entering the BWCA.

So keeping in mind that I don't have good comparisons, I do think the way we did it makes for a dramatic entry into the Q - paddling in to Cache Bay from the BWCA. We started over at Poplar Lake, EP49 - but you could enter from EP54 or 55, or catch a tow to American Point given that you'll have less time.
Chross16
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12/19/2018 12:31PM
Thanks everyone for the great ideas so far I appreciate it!
12/19/2018 02:44PM
TominMpls: "I've only paddled in the Q once so take that with a grain of salt, but to me the experience of *entering* the park in a canoe, paddling up to the Canadian flag above the Cross Bay ranger station, on an island in the middle of a wilderness lake, was really exciting and special. So I recommend that. Our trip also took us through Prairie Portage, and it certainly wouldn't be as dramatic a way to enter the Q as the Cross Bay ranger station. I imagine that entering on the northern side would be a lot like entering the BWCA.


So keeping in mind that I don't have good comparisons, I do think the way we did it makes for a dramatic entry into the Q - paddling in to Cross Bay from the BWCA. We started over at Poplar Lake, EP49 - but you could enter from EP54 or 55, or catch a tow to American Point given that you'll have less time."


I assume you mean "Cache" Bay.....and yes, paddling up to the ranger station island is neat. You can catch a tow from a number of Gunflint side outfitters to Hook Island or American Point and then paddle to Cache Bay ranger station.
TominMpls
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12/19/2018 05:44PM
cowdoc: "
I assume you mean "Cache" Bay.....and yes, paddling up to the ranger station island is neat. You can catch a tow from a number of Gunflint side outfitters to Hook Island or American Point and then paddle to Cache Bay ranger station."


Oops! Yes, I meant Cache Bay - I'll go back and edit the post. No idea why I wrote Cross Bay - we did paddle *through* Cross Bay Lake on our way to Cache Bay so maybe that's why? Thanks for catching that.
 
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