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RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/21/2020 07:13PM
Looking for those three things in that order. My girlfriend and I are planning a few day trip in late May to camp, paddle, fish and even hike: A prelude to a longer BWCA trip later, just to get our relatively novice feet wet. I have researched the following lakes: Whitefish, Devilfish, Two Island Lake, Cascade. All of these lakes are reported to have decent Walleye, Smallmouth and Northern fishing. But also first come first serve camping. I am planning to arrive on a thursday early afternoon: What can you tell me folks?
 
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RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/21/2020 08:01PM
forgot McFarland, also wondering about that one, thx again
lindylair
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/22/2020 09:13AM
So you are car camping with a canoe, right? Of those lakes I have only been to Two Island Lake but I can tell you that could be a very good choice. I think it is somewhat less popular than some of them up there and it is a very good fishing lake. Lots of smallies and eyes, not real hard to fish. I am sure there are plenty of pike in there too.

Getting there on a Thursday in late May before school is out, I have to believe you would have no trouble getting a campsite. And there are some very nice ones there.

Another one you might consider is Crescent Lake, similar quality fishing and one of the pretties lakes in the Northwoods. Totally undeveloped (Two Island does have a little bit of development on one end but not a big deal). A bonus for Crescent Lake is that it has muskies in it and they are very catchable :)

Fishing might be a little better at Two Island, and perhaps a bit more solitude. Crescent has scenery hands down.

Sounds like fun!!
inspector13
distinguished member(4073)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/22/2020 01:13PM

Are you familiar with this Forest Service webpage? And this MNDNR page? Of the campgrounds you list, I agree with lindylair and would prefer Two Island.

RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/22/2020 04:08PM
Thank You so much. I have been using a combination of online maps and the DNR lake finder fishing summaries to try to divine a good lake, but direct knowledge is very helpful.

A BWCA.com map shows red dots for campsites and I will find what looks like a cool lake with ONE red dot, and I think imagine paddling all the way out there and its taken. Wish I had a campsite scouting drone.

Crescent sounds wonderful. I also saw a small lake near crescent called Rice Lake that looked interesting. I was already leaning toward two island, now I will deep dive into Crescent and learn some more.

Thanks Again
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/22/2020 04:14PM
Awesome thanks
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/22/2020 04:16PM
I would be ok camping at a drive up campsite, I know Crescent and Two Island both have them, but I would love to paddle out and stay at a remote site in my tent.
tobiedog
distinguished member(621)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/22/2020 04:35PM
There's a drive up campground at McFarland. McFarland connects to John Lake and Pine Lake, both BWCA lakes, and there are some lovely day trips from there, including Johnson Falls.
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/22/2020 04:41PM
Thank You
GunflintTrailAngler
member (47)member
 
01/22/2020 06:44PM
There is one campsite on greenwood lake that us seldom used. It’s on the northeast end of the lake, so it’s a bit of a paddle. Lake is full of bass. That time of year it’s easy to catch lake trout right along with the bass.
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/22/2020 11:03PM
Any idea how often that one Greenwood lake campsite is occupied? I notice Devilfish lake also has a single first come first served campsite? Im hoping that arriving on a thursday in May would make it somewhat more likely to be open.
thanks for the insight on Greenwood. From a map it looks pretty sweet.
inspector13
distinguished member(4073)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/23/2020 08:19AM

It sounds like you are more interested in "dispersed back country campsites". Here is a list of those that are in the area you are inquiring about. Crescent does have one of those type sites, but I don’t know how popular it might be. I’ve seen a couple of those on Silver Island Lake and they didn’t look heavily used, but don’t have any fishing experience there. Best thing about these back country sites is that they are free.

GunflintTrailAngler
member (47)member
 
01/23/2020 12:58PM
I’ve been fishing Greenwood for 30 years, and I can only remember seeing campers there once! If you decide the devilfish route, nearby chester and esther lakes have campsites also.
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/23/2020 04:50PM
thanks!!!
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/23/2020 04:53PM
It seems there is something special about all these lakes. Ill just have to pick a couple and go where the campsites are open. Last questions: Greenwood vs Devilfish?? pros and cons? Any knowledge of Lichen lake, right next to crescent. There may be back country site and it looks interesting and remote. thx again for all the help.
jillpine
distinguished member (500)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 06:01PM
GunflintTrailAngler: "There is one campsite on greenwood lake that us seldom used. It’s on the northeast end of the lake, so it’s a bit of a paddle. Lake is full of bass. That time of year it’s easy to catch lake trout right along with the bass."
Thursdays in May usually not an issue. If you're worried about it because you're with someone who would be stressed about moving on to another spot, then park your vehicle at crescent for the walk-in sites and take one of those. A couple of them can be reserved as well as walk up. In thirty years, I have never had the alcohol+gas engine be an issue there, whereas it has been an issue for me at toohey baker and timber-frear loop. Silver island also a sweet spot, south end of the lake if you want a drive up spot. All rustic ( bring water or method to filter it). Have a blast. PS - not sharing my brookies' spot but those are all over too. And buy a duck stamp. Thanks.
A1t2o
distinguished member(962)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 07:11PM
Why go on a camping trip before going to the boundary waters? Why not just go on a short trip out of Sawbill or Brule? Not that other locations aren't good too, but there is so much of the boundary waters that it's not like you are going to run out of places to go.
lindylair
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 07:22PM
I think that a car camping trip in the near BWCA area is a good way to get a taste of the experience with a little more convenience and comfort, while perhaps sacrificing a little solitude. Sounds like they have a "real" BWCA trip scheduled for the near future. But to your point, there are lots of good options to paddle in and camp on the entry lake and not even take a portage. (you can experience the portages the first time on a daytrip with a light load).

Besides Brule and Sawbill other options include Homer, John, Lake One, Kawishiwi and of course one of the most beautiful lakes in the BWCA, Clearwater.

If you like the sound of dispersed camping without permits and some of the restrictions, but still a BWCA like experience, take a look at Astrid Lake. I have not been there but have researched it and it looks like a real nice place.

I have been in the remote campsite on Crescent Lake and unfortunately they did a really poor job with it. I would not stay there, it's just not very nice at all.
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/23/2020 07:40PM
I have been to Alton and Kawisawhi and they were crowded, although that was in July. Im just trying to get a feel for the whole area, so I can make informed decisions in the future. I appreciate all the feedback.
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/23/2020 07:58PM
Oh yes, thank you Astrid looks great, hiking too. We may have a winner
lindylair
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 08:21PM
That's what I thought:) I gotta get there.

There are videos available on You Tube of the portage in with some footage of the lake and one of the campsites
lindylair
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 08:22PM
Note that you can get there by taking the 80 rod portage from the road which looks pretty easy...or put in on the Hunting Shack River to the north and get there without any portaging.


Hunting Shack River
lindylair
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 08:26PM
Second note...to further complicate matters:)

Lake Jeanette NFS campground is very close and the beginning of the trail system. It also sounds like a nice little campground but of more interest, there are several remote campsites on that lake for a BWCA like experience. Again, I have not been there but I read a lot.


Lake Jeanette campground
RayburnX
member (12)member
 
01/27/2020 09:45PM
Jeff, thanks for all the great feedback. Ive found myself in the enjoyable trap of finding a cool looking lake via google earth, then checking the fishing summary, then seeing nearby lakes that look equally cool, then having too many to choose from. Currently Im looking at Picket lake nearby Astrid. There is a logging road and back country campsites, but no boat landing for motorized boats, looks super remote and Im guessing rarely fished.

But that whole are looks cool. Might just go with astrid, midweek in May should be deserted
hawleycanoeguy
senior member (81)senior membersenior member
 
09/17/2020 10:45PM
RayburnX: "Jeff, thanks for all the great feedback. Ive found myself in the enjoyable trap of finding a cool looking lake via google earth, then checking the fishing summary, then seeing nearby lakes that look equally cool, then having too many to choose from. Currently Im looking at Picket lake nearby Astrid. There is a logging road and back country campsites, but no boat landing for motorized boats, looks super remote and Im guessing rarely fished.


But that whole are looks cool. Might just go with astrid, midweek in May should be deserted"


Hello!

Did you make it to Astrid Lake for your trip? If so, what were your thoughts?
 
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