BWCA First Time at WCPP Boundary Waters Group Forum: Woodland Caribou Provincial Park
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mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/06/2020 07:04PM  
Planning my first trip to WCPP, we have extensive paddling experience in the Q and BWCA. Looking for suggestions for 7 day trip starting from Red Lake, but are open to alternatives. No flying. We like to spend 2 nights at at least one campsite. Thanks in advance. Any input is helpful.
 
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mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/06/2020 07:10PM  
Forgot to add that we are planning on second week of June
 
02/07/2020 03:55PM  
Would help to know what you like in a trip - is fishing a priority? If so, do you want to go after Lakers or Walleye or both?
Looking for absolute solitude, or would seeing a few other trippers or motorboats be OK?
Would you drive to an entry point from RL, and do you have a vehicle with good ground clearance? (Leano would require that).
Are you thinking about a loop? How far do you like to travel?

etc...
 
mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/07/2020 05:01PM  
Fishing is a must, seeing other paddlers is ok but motor boats are to be avoided, dont mind 12 or so miles the first day, after that would like to do 6ish miles a day, at least one two night layover is important, I have a Toyota tundra which has gotten me anywhere I've needed to get to in the past, not opposed to a shuttle if necessary, loop would be nice but not important, target fish is walleye but opportunities for Lakers are always welcome
 
02/08/2020 08:18AM  
I am sure others will offer better advice, but the obvious option:
Leano entry, work up to Mexican Hat. That's through laker lakes but Mexican Hat is a legendary Walleye fishery.
This avoids motorized lakes, which is just part of the deal if you go in at Johnson or Onnie, where you have to travel through a series of motorized lakes...on the other hand, these lakes are three-fish lakes, so you're on Walleye from the get-go.
Lund entry is worth considering but you've got a ways to travel to hit Walleye lakes, unless you go to Knox, but that has an outpost on it.

Trade-offs & decisions...
 
Marten
distinguished member (444)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/08/2020 09:26AM  
I fully agree that a Leano entry will cover what you have asked for and you have a vehicle that can get you there. Personally I would avoid Mexican Hat as it seems everyone one wants to go through there. But remember everyone in WCPP is only a few people a week. Walleye on middle Kilburn and only a boat cached at the portage. Paull has your trout and a great lake for a long layover. Exit via Bunny for more Trout. Northern Pike are everywhere and a friend pulled up a Burbot from Paull.
 
mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/12/2020 08:14PM  
If entering at Johnson or Onnie puts us on motorized lakes, how many boats are the norm? I like being on walleye waters right from the get go. How far in to get off of motorized lakes?
 
02/12/2020 09:20PM  
mrnickadams: "If entering at Johnson or Onnie puts us on motorized lakes, how many boats are the norm? I like being on walleye waters right from the get go. How far in to get off of motorized lakes?"

Hopefully others will chime in on this one...but:
Part of this depends on time of year. Fishing opener through mid July the lodges and outposts in this region are running full speed. Believe it slows down in August (as does the fishing, but it's still pretty good up there).
Douglas has a big lodge on it with many boats (Johnson entrance) and then you would travel through some portage lakes associated with the lodge.
Telescope & Optic (Onnie entrance) have outposts with a few boats.
Believe they have a couple of boats cached on Glenn for guests of those outposts.

So depending on timing, motorboats might be hit-or-miss through those lakes.

I think Onnie>Glenn is probably a pretty full day of travel for most of us mere mortals.
 
Marten
distinguished member (444)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/12/2020 10:04PM  
This is a link showing lakes and the fish in them for WCPP:

WCPP Lakes and Fish Species

One time I went from Onnie entrance to first camp on Glenn in 8 hours but do not think I will do it again. You can be on Hatchet which I do not think really has any Walleye in 4 hours. You cannot help but see a few fisherpersons in early June if you use Onnie or Johnson. In August probably only empty Lund boats on shore.
 
mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/13/2020 06:04AM  
Thank you very much, that was the info I really needed.
 
02/13/2020 07:51AM  
mrnickadams: "I have a Toyota tundra"

Forgot to mention - none of the access points will be any problem whatsoever in that vehicle, barring days of monsoon just prior to your arrival.
 
donr
senior member (63)senior membersenior member
 
02/13/2020 03:47PM  
Thought I would add my two cents on using the Onnie Lake access point - unless you are a Canadian or resident of Canada, you are not allowed to camp on Onnie, which is outside the park, but need to make the entire paddle to/from Telescope. This limitation has pushed me to use Leano as an access point. I can camp on Leano the night before leaving and still get to my vehicle in time to get to Red Lake around noon and home to northern MN at a decent hour.
 
02/13/2020 07:03PM  
donr makes a good point, and the same goes for Johnson.

Lund and Leano you can camp after a short portage & paddle.

But camping for NRs is not allowed at any of the 4 access point parking lots on the east side.
 
dentondoc
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02/13/2020 09:00PM  
donr: "... unless you are a Canadian or resident of Canada, you are not allowed to camp on Onnie, which is outside the park, but need to make the entire paddle to/from Telescope. ..."

There is (almost) nothing incorrect about this statement, except Hjlarmar Lakes lie between Onnie and Telescope. There are three Hjlarmar Lakes and if you numbered them 1-3 (east to west), then the western 1/3 of 2 and all of 3 are inside the park. As luck would have it, there is a campsite (of sorts) just about where it becomes legal to camp on #2. Its on the north side and it wasn't in particularly good shape when I visited a decade ago. But I was running solo and didn't need to much from a campsite, since I was existing Onnie the next day. I believe it could be a nice site, although it had not been used in years when I was there ... with deadfall covering what I believe could have been a couple of tent pad spaces along the water's edge. I climbed up a bit and found a flat spot for my tent (which had an excellent view back east down the lake).

If you are so inclined, there is a (somewhat faded) pictograph on the north shoreline, not too far east of this campsite. I've also hear there are blue walleye in those lakes, although I can't confirm that from personal experience. The barn door was open and this horse was headed out!

That being said, I think I'd choose to enter Leano and run west thru Upper Kilburn (it definitely has walleye) and over to Paull. If you wanted to do something like a figure 8 "loop", you might also continue west to South Aegean and Aegean before returning to Paull. Then take the route from Elephant Head back to Bunny and then Leano. Even better, run it in reverse and you'd be doing the 1000 m Kilburn to Upper Kilburn with lighter packs (and downhill at the end).

If you decide to go that direction, I can point out the location of two other picto's (one each on Paull and South Aegean) as well as a small cave on the water line (large enough to hold a canoe (sideways) on Aegean.

dd
 
mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/15/2020 12:12PM  
The route from Leano through Upper Kilburn then onto Paull looks good.
Any info you can give me for pictographs would be fantastic. My last 10 trips in the Quetico were on routes with pictographs. I've made the hike to see the Montgomery Lake pictographs.
 
mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/16/2020 04:28PM  
I'm going to Canoecopia in a few weeks, I can look for a book on pictographs in WCPP
 
dentondoc
distinguished member(1098)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/16/2020 08:00PM  
mrnickadams: "I'm going to Canoecopia in a few weeks, I can look for a book on pictographs in WCPP "
Well, you might keep an eye out for me. I'll be roaming around on Saturday. I'll likely be wearing a short-billed black hat and I'll throw a red bandana around my neck too. That should help. Otherwise, look for what will most likely be the most tanned caucasian dude there, maybe a bit leathery too ... I'm past 70. Hey ... I live in the south. Been walking outdoors most of the winter ... in shorts and t-shirt.

I'm planning on going by to see Pete Swiggum's presentation on Saturday morning (10:30 BWCA room)

dd
 
02/17/2020 08:58AM  
mrnickadams: "I'm going to Canoecopia in a few weeks, I can look for a book on pictographs in WCPP "

I am unaware of any books on this, but of course, I am unaware of lots of things (just ask my wife).

I would think one of your best resources on this is a call or email to Claire in the Red Lake parks office.
 
joewildlife
distinguished member(583)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 10:32AM  
I don't disagree with any of the above advice. I learned the same things "the hard way" if you could call it that.

In 2018 we did Johnson to Onnie to Telescope, and with stiff headwinds from the west and whitecaps, we made a makeshift campsite on a beach in Telescope because we were going no further that day! We caught two eating sized pike on the first two casts! Don't hesitate to eat the pike if the trout and walleye aren't biting! That year we did a loop from there down to Mexican hat, over to Wrist, Haven, Rostoul, Hansen, Glenn, and back out through Embyro to Douglas and out Trout Bay. We saw only a few canoes, mostly on Mexican Hat where the walleye didn't disappoint. The overall feel of that trip was excellent, but we will avoid lakes with lodges and cabins in the future.

in 2019 we did a huge loop south of there out of Leano and it certainly avoided all motorized boats and virtually all the canoes we saw were in Mexican Hat. If you want a more Quetico like experience, I definitely recommend the Leano lake entry and head towards Mexican Hat. You could always head North to Glenn if you had time.

Our next trip or two to WCPP will probably be out of Lund.

Joe

 
joewildlife
distinguished member(583)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 10:47AM  
Oh, we made Jake lake night 1 from Leano, and was on Mexican Hat on night 2...

Joe
 
02/18/2020 12:19PM  
If you've not taken a look at the 1:50,000 maps yet here's the FTP directory for them in pdf and other formats. The 15 and 16 directory contains the maps for Leano up to the Mexican Hat area. I'm planning on going up in August.

Mexican Hat Area:
http://ftp.maps.canada.ca/pub/nrcan_rncan/raster/topographic/50k/052/l/15/

Leano Area:
http://ftp.maps.canada.ca/pub/nrcan_rncan/raster/topographic/50k/052/l/16/


 
joewildlife
distinguished member(583)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 02:38PM  
Since there are no Fisher or McEnzie style maps for WCPP, definitely get the Chrismar 1:110,000 map of WCPP.

I also choose to buy the laminated 1:50,000 sets that Harlan made when he ran Red Lake Outfitters. Richard at Chukuni Outdoor Supply is now selling them with his logo on them. Get a set.

I'm a map and GPS junkie so I put a Topo Canada chip in my GPS and I use the PP website mapper as well.

So yeah, don't get scared off Mexican Hat because it is "so busy". It is much less busy than Agnes Kawnipi or most any other Quetico lake. it is all relative. The campsite on the east end of Mexican Hat isn't even the best one, but you can cast to the base of the falls from camp and catch all the walleye you can eat right there. the next campsite is well over a mile away I would guess... I've spent about 25 nights in WCPP and only saw 1 occupied campsite the whole time, and that was on Wrist. I'm sure there were other people camped on Mexican Hat but it is a pretty big lake and the campsites are spread out, all what, 3 or 4 of them? My trips were always the first two weeks of June.

Joe
 
mrnickadams
member (32)member
 
02/21/2020 04:26PM  
Thanks for all of the tips, especially the maps, I was looking at McKenzie and Fisher and couldn't find any, now I know why.
 
bottomfeeder
member (11)member
 
03/08/2020 10:22AM  
mrnickadams: "...I have a Toyota tundra which has gotten me anywhere I've needed to get to in the past, not opposed to a shuttle if necessary,"

I would recommend a shuttle. The roads into the park are not well maintained, if at all these days, and can be rough especially if there are some good storms. A few years back we ran into a group at the Leano put-in lot in a Toyota Tundra that had a bent front control arm. They had come up from Ear Falls and hit a rut. Luckily, they made it out to RL, but I think they were trailered out from there. And, the closest dealer is probably in Winnipeg. We've used Albert many times over the last twenty years, he knows the road and has some ramps if it's really bad. It's a small price to pay for avoiding significant wear and tear, and possibly major damage. The ride in/out is a good time to talk about the trip, learn about the park and the area, and he also will have a cold drink waiting for you at the pick-up!
 
joewildlife
distinguished member(583)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2020 10:55AM  
Using a truck shuttle is like buying insurance. What risks do you want to take?
Only downside is the cost. I got a shuttle ride in to Johnson once, and both ways to Leano.

In the Pro column:
I'm told if you break down or get stuck, it is a $1000 tow back to Red Lake from Leano.
There is the chance of a bear or person breaking into your vehicle.
You are two flats away from disaster.
If you park at Leano you have your whole trip to worry if your vehicle is safe.

Not trying to scare you. If you drive slow and careful, you won't damage your vehicle. You would want to take a shovel and a saw to be prepared, as well as an air pump and tire repair kit. The trip from Ear Falls with the damaged Tundra was a helluva lot longer than Red Lake to Leano...I think the road from Red Lake goes all the way to Ear Falls. My shuttles were in a late model stock F-150 and 4wd was used maybe twice just to avoid spinning on loose rock, I didn't see any spot of much concern. Your experience may vary as a new beaver dam or washout could happen at any time. I intend to take my 06
Tundra or 06 Sequoia to Lund on my next trip.

Joe

 
dentondoc
distinguished member(1098)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2020 12:26PM  
dentondoc: "mrnickadams: "I'm going to Canoecopia in a few weeks, I can look for a book on pictographs in WCPP "
Well, you might keep an eye out for me. I'll be roaming around on Saturday. I'll likely be wearing a short-billed black hat and I'll throw a red bandana around my neck too. That should help. Otherwise, look for what will most likely be the most tanned caucasian dude there, maybe a bit leathery too ... I'm past 70. Hey ... I live in the south. Been walking outdoors most of the winter ... in shorts and t-shirt.

I'm planning on going by to see Pete Swiggum's presentation on Saturday morning (10:30 BWCA room)

dd"


Just an FYI: I cancelled my 'copia trip this morning, so looking for me would be pointless.

dd
 
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