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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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member (10)member
03/13/2019 11:28PM
Hello everyone!

This is my first post on the forum and I look forward to everyone's input! Here's what you should know. I'm an experienced outdoorsman, canoeist, hiker, military veteran and grew up going on fishing trips on Basswood with my grandfather. I'm about to graduate from graduate school and am going to reward myself with a solid 7 day trip with my best friend who is experienced with backcountry hiking like SMNP but has never been to BWCA. I may end up paying for routing services through my outfitter, but I thought I'd see what some of your opinions might be considering what were trying to go for to get the best experience. So here's what [I think] I already know I would like out of trip, I am of course open to suggestions!

Time: Early/Mid June, Very Late May
Outfitter: La Tourelle
Length of trip: 7 days
Goals: Mostly Fishing, landmarks/sights, day hiking/canoeing, good views/campsites
- Fishing for pike, trout, and bluegill
Mode: Canoe with lightweight hiking gear
Format sketch: Spend first 1-3 days primarily traveling to get to more remote location, days 3-7 establish base camp for fishing and nearby sightseeing, flexibility to move camp again
Requests: Away from motor lakes and overly congested areas [although we're friendly and don't mind running into likeminded folk now and again :) We want to go deeeeeeeep and arent afraid to work hard to get there.
Never been to Quetico and am not opposed to getting permits to if it's worth it and not too much of a hassle

Someone mentioned some route ideas around EP 14 or 16 once but I cant remember. Something about rock drawing on Lac La Croix I believe.

Thanks for your help! Let me know if you need more info.

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distinguished member(2066)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 05:25AM
I had what I think would be a great idea to get you into some of the more remote areas of the BWCA with good fishing, scenery and campsites but then I noticed that you are specific about using a particular outfitter located in the Ely area - that seems to limit your routes to Ely entry points. Are you locked into that outfitter? (There are plenty of good routes out of Ely too)
Guest Paddler
03/14/2019 06:09AM
Stuart lake entry point up to iron would be hard work, good base camp, remote, (idk about blue gill but it has crappie) awesome campsite, and very scenic! Only problem is finding lake trout in that area.
distinguished member(1606)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 06:45AM
If you're set on Latourells, head out from Snowbank and go east. Ima, Thomas, Fraser, etc. Farther? Beaver, Adams, Alice, etc.
distinguished member(6858)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/14/2019 07:02AM
get a tow from latourell's to the splash portage, head to ensign, vera, and that area, then through some small lakes like missionary. i don't have a map in front of me. i'm sure you could figure out a way to head south and loop back toward the west, or you could head north along the border and back to moose lake that way (and probably see more people). i doubt latourell's charges for routing, but this is an excellent source for ideas.
distinguished member (101)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 10:56AM
I've done the LIS #14 entry before and again in May this year. I like the idea of iron lake for fishing for a few days. You can be on iron your third day out of LIS#14.
distinguished member(4349)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/14/2019 11:31AM

Glad to have you aboard.
distinguished member(895)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 11:35AM
If it were me I would have La Tourrell's tow me to Prairie portage and enter Quetico there. Your list of wants can best be met by entering Quetico, although it may cost a couple hundred more. Sarah and Agnes have great Laker fishing, but I'd probably choose Sarah entry since you list panfish and Lakers. You can hit North Bay on the way in or out or better yet Lost Bay which has the panfish (bluegill, crappie ) as well as smallmouth, largemouth , pike and walleye. North Bay itself is good for lakers, some large. Sarah always produces an abundance of Lake trout for us in the spring & early summer as do the lakes beyond Sarah. The North Bay area has decent pike fishing. Pike, Bluegill and Lakers are not always found together. I have to ask, are you opposed to catching smallmouth, largemouth and walleye? That area is outstanding for all three. Some other suggestions are good, but not so much if you desire lakers.
distinguished member(3020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 02:34PM
A few of the lakes south of lac la croix may have trout. It’s a great area and generally not crowded.
member (10)member
03/14/2019 04:51PM
lindylair: "I had what I think would be a great idea to get you into some of the more remote areas of the BWCA with good fishing, scenery and campsites but then I noticed that you are specific about using a particular outfitter located in the Ely area - that seems to limit your routes to Ely entry points. Are you locked into that outfitter? (There are plenty of good routes out of Ely too)"

First off, THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE for your input and suggestions.

I only list La Tourells as that's who I grew up going through with my family. I'm definitely flexible on outfitters as long as they come recommended and are nearer to routes that would better fit our desires. Would love to hear your idea!
distinguished member(2066)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2019 05:57PM
Here is my suggestion, I actually copied it from another post and they had one less day. If you had any interest in this trip there is an outfitter along highway 61 right before you turn up the Sawbill Trail called Sawtooth Oufitters that can hook you up with any equipment you need and will mount the canoe on your vehicle for you. Nice people too. Could also pickup your permit there. Sawbill Outfitters would be another option which would only be very slightly out of your way. Great place with a store and showers available and an awesome National Forest campground across the road if you happen to get up there late and need a place to sleep for the night. There is also a nice National Forest campground right at the entry point which may or may not have an open site.

"Enter #37 Kawishiwi Lake. Go through a burn area for your first 3-4 hours which is sobering and interesting. Proceed up to Malberg for night one, many great sites.

From there head over to River your way down this one, very good walleye fishing. Make your way to Fishdance for the "haunted" pictographs, or over to Alice, or both. You could take the river/creek route from there(depending on water levels) or the three portage route over to Insula, a legendary BWCA lake. Night two.

From Insula head up to Kiana, Thomas and Fraser. Sagus east of Fraser is known to be a pretty good walleye lake, might be a good spot to camp. From there head east through the small lakes to get to a decision point: head south to Boulder, Adams and Beaver or continue on east to Elton and Makwa and make your way back towards Malberg this way. Night 4 on Boulder, Adams or Beaver would likely give you solitude in September. This whole area is known to be some of the most remote areas of the BWCA. Head back to Malberg and retrace your paddle strokes out to Kawishiwi. Malberg is a very nice lake with decent fishing , good for a night too depending on plans. Would leave a 6 or so hour paddle out...or Night 4 could be a layover night anywhere along the route. Making your way to Polly for your last night would allow you to enjoy this beautiful lake with a relatively easy exit on your last day.

This would be a dream trip for me but at my age it would have to be a 9 or 10 night trip with a few layovers. The scenery would be great, plenty of good fishing including lake trout opportunities along the way, and some pretty remote country on the northern part of the trip. Obviously it could be tailored to your liking and allows options for shortening or lengthening the route. "

With an extra day you could probably get over to Vierge or Little Saganaga Lake which is another legendary BWCA lake. The trip offers a lot of options along the way to shorten your route if for any reason you need to. I think it also offers the opportunity to layover a night or two if you find a spot you really like. There is small river canoeing, with the potential for beaver dam pullovers, lots of great campsites including island and sand beach sites, excellent fishing potential for walleye, pike, panfish, smallmouth bass and lake trout and the potential for a measure of seclusion, especially in the northern parts. No big water to contend with(Alice could be the only exception if you happen to hit it on a windy day)

Here is a trip report from a few years ago that covers a portion of the route:

Kawishiwi entry

There aren't many, if any bad routes in the BWCA. This is but one option but I think it would be one you would enjoy. I know that many on this site could chime in on their experiences in this area and whether it could be a great route for a couple of first time visitors to really get into the essence of the BWCA, I think it would be.
Captn Tony
distinguished member(1339)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/17/2019 05:53AM
My suggestion is to go to the Gunflint Trail get a tow to Hook Island. head up the falls chain to Kawnipi. You can go after lake trout while on Big Saganaga. The only issue is your fishing would be lake trout in Big Sag. and northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye on the falls chain, The pan fishing isn't very good that I know of. But the scenery is spectacular.
It's one of the most popular routes in Quetico but you still won't a lot of people.
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