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member (6)member
04/19/2019 08:35AM
Hey everyone, in May, I'll be heading to the Boundary Waters for the first time and was curious just how much tackle people typically bring? I've got a clear box of jigs, a box of topwaters, shallow divers, and variable depth crankbaits; then a box of shad raps, DT crankbaits, and some larger lures from my muskie box. I've also got bottom bouncers, Lindy rigs, slip bobbers, and some soft plastics. On top of all this I'm planning on bringing live bait, and entertaining the idea of gulp! Leeches and preserved minnows.

My question is....

Does this seem like overkill? I'm planning on supplying our group of 4 guys with gear for a bit of context. I do a lot of fishing and am determined to catch walleyes haha, but does anything seem unnecessary?

I'd also like to say that this site has been instrumental in helping our group with organizing and planning our trip.

Thanks for any input!

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04/19/2019 09:30AM
You're going to get a lot of different answers on this one. I've seen this question posted before. There are guys who bring five massive tackle boxes and hundreds of lures and there are those who are more minimalist and pack what they'll use.

To each their own (as long as they carry their own gear), but I'm more toward the minimalist side. I go to Quetico almost exclusively so there are different rules compared to the BW (no live bait, for example).

I break down my fishing tackle into three categories: jigs and twister tails, crankbaits, and spoons. In the BW, live bait is allowed, so bringing slip bobbers, Lindy Rigs, and a couple bottom bouncers (if you want to mess with them) would be the fourth category.

You definitely want options for fishing gear, but you have to pack smart. You have to be concerned with weight and bulk in your packs, but still have enough room for crew gear, too. Spend some time looking through your fishing tackle and make some tough decisions. Even then, you probably won't use 50% of it.

Here's my tackle box for a week trip in Q.
distinguished member (274)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/19/2019 10:20AM
Jackfish covered it well.

I go to the BWCA to fish first. I always bring too much tackle. I always bring some form of live bait....always minnows, sometimes crawlers, and on a few occasions, leeches. Sometimes frozen ciscoes (or alewives now), or suckers for pike.

My problem is after 30+ trips I have seen a 5" Zoom super fluke on a 5/0 hook catch a 30" walleye, a 1/16th oz purple beetle spin out fish 8 other guys including live bait, an 1/8 oz Mepps Comet Mino catch a 42" pike, and 5 mushy salted smelt under a slip bobber pull in a 45" pike.

Live bait is my bread and butter, but I bring 15lbs of other stuff because you just never know what the fish want on any given day. When live bait is not working, I put on anything and everything and change often until something works. I am glad when I have the thing that catches a fish. Much of what I bring never gets used, but I don't care. As long as fish get in the boat, I am happy.
distinguished member (304)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/19/2019 10:46AM
I took waaaaaayyy too much tackle in on my first two trips. Now I have it narrowed down to one tackle tray and an additional assortment of soft plastics. Which is still too much, because I tend to fish leeches so much on slip bobbers or TGO method.

This is my tackle tray for 2019, and also an assortment picture of what I took in 2018.

Probably have refined my cranks and other hard lures a bit, because my tackle tray keeps getting smaller.

Don't forget the Heddon Torpedo topwaters if you're going in June. The on-top smallie bite is a lot of fun.
distinguished member(807)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/19/2019 06:14PM
The box Jackfish brings is almost identical to mine and I go mainly to fish. Hooks catch fish, lures catch fishermen....
distinguished member(1132)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/19/2019 07:53PM
Are you only fishing for walleyes? If so, you can skip the top waters and dare devils.

In May, with cold water, you can skip large crankbaits. And shallow divers vs. deep divers vs. DT crankbaits can be the same bait with a sinker and/or variable retrieve speed. Bottom bouncers... skip, IMO.

On a first trip, you don't want to be short. Bring what you want and keep track of what you use and what works. You will know a lot more on trip #2.

Welcome to the Board!
04/19/2019 11:14PM
Here is my normal fishing setup for either myself or me + a kid. The smaller box comes with if we are hitting some Lake Trout lakes. The orange bag is twisters, minnow imitators, etc. I also bring a small bag of bobber fishing stuff. Note that the bigger tray has some empty spots. I still need to fill with jig heads and liplesss cranks.

distinguished member (145)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/20/2019 07:43AM
Lures catch fisherman? Ain't that the truth! I've been caught and thrown back so many times that I can't keep track.
member (6)member
04/20/2019 09:45AM
I want to focus on walleye for a portion of the trip, but will also spend time trying to get on some smallies and larger pike. A few of the guys will be relatively new to fishing, so I'd like to get them on the other end of a good fish of any species in an attempt to get them as obsessed as myself haha
distinguished member(13722)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
04/22/2019 12:03AM
distinguished member(1760)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/22/2019 09:43AM

This is my tackle box and I need to cut it in half (or more).
I target LT and eyes.
senior member (97)senior membersenior member
04/22/2019 09:51AM
I go to mainly fish as well, early June trip. I don't bring live bait (though that may change this year) so I tend to bring way more than I should. So last year, I brought two rods and two Plano 3700 size boxes. One was the double deep version as I wanted to bring some larger pike baits. Easily 10-15 lbs of tackle.

We caught tons of fish and I basically used five lures... a bone colored whopper plopper (110 size), an X-rap jerkbait, a Mepps #5 Dressed Agila, a jig with a 3" twister tail and a wacky rigged Senko. I'm committed to one 3700 size tackle tray this year with a bag of plastics to accompany. My buddies don't believe me...hahaha.
distinguished member(790)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/25/2019 12:27PM
Make sure you pay attention to the lakes you are going to be on. Some lakes are terrible for walleye and others are great for them. The big thing to consider is if you are going to be on a lake that is good for trout. If you are, you need to have a trout stamp. You don't want to get caught with trout without a stamp. That is a good way to end the trip early. It's only about $10 so if you are going to a deep lake in the BW with not a lot of shallow areas then you want to plan on fishing for trout.

My recommendation for tackle would be to start light and pick up what you are missing after the trip. You are going to get too much, and some of it is going to be pretty much useless. If the fish aren't biting on your first 3 lures when you try out different colors, depths and actions, then the next 10 aren't likely to be much better. Just bring a couple spoons, Rapalas, top water lures, deep divers, and bobber fishing gear. One or two of each is all you need. A little box holding about 10 lures, hooks, weights, bobbers and leaders is not that big and covers your bases.

Since you are trying to supply for everyone, you could prepare one box for each person. You don't want to be passing them around in the boat so separate boxes is best. You can cover the bases for each with a little variation in color and alternatives. You don't need many spares since not everyone will lose the same lure, and some won't go through hooks as fast so they can share if needed. You can even let them keep the tackle when they are done if you want. Either charge them the approximate cost per kit or as a gift if they are kids or if money isn't a factor, it should be less than the cost to do it themselves if you order in sets rather than individual lures. I would expect anywhere from $30-$60 per box if you keep them light and less than 10 lures each. Using all brand name lures like Rapala will drive that price way up though.
distinguished member(5002)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/25/2019 01:14PM
Send me an email - - and request the Grand Slam Lure article, this will give you a general idea of what to bring for each species.

My first trip I had a very small budget and took 9 lures and some metal leaders with me. Caught my biggest ever pike, walleye and smallmouth on that trip at the time. I came home with 7 or those 9 lures. They were pearl colored deep cranks, orange colored rattle trap lipless crank, silver rattle trap, black and silver Rapala, blue and silver Rapala, red and white spoon, and couple other lures I can't recall, one might have been a musky Mepps spinner? No soft plastics.
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