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member (12)member
02/16/2020 09:33AM

Planning a trip for late June looking for some input.
ep 47 Poplar Lake to ep 50 Ham Lake or reverse. 6-8 days double portage. Fishing for smallmouth walleye and lakers. 2 days at most camps for fishing and exploring.
Also looking for Outfitters bunkhouses places to eat.
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member (45)member
02/16/2020 12:55PM
My wife and I have done basically this route the past 2 years. We went thru Tuscarora Outfitters and they are A+ all around. Close to Trail Center Lodge or Poplar Haus for a great meal day before heading into the BWCA. We entered in at EP 47 (Lizz Lake) in 2018 and EP 48 (Meeds Lake) in 2019. We stayed in Tuscarora's bunkhouse and had their french toast breakfast before they shuttled us to Poplar Lake. Both years we ended right at their dock on Round Lake. Your exit out of Ham puts you just a short walk to Tuscarora. Both years we traveled 4 days and camped 3 nights. We are not fisherman, sorry I have no info for you on the fishing. Our focus was on travel, and basically had 3 longer days of travel and our last day we were out fairly early for some fun in Duluth.

2018 - Day 1 we traveled Poplar, Lizz, Caribou, Horseshoe, Gaskin, camping on Winchell Lake #561. 5 portages all well traveled and nothing crazy. Plenty of places to camp along the way, however a very busy area thinning out as you get farther in. Day 2 we traveled Winchell, Omega, Kiskadinna, Muskeg, camping on Long Island #564. 4 portages, with 3 of them being challenging. Omega to Kiskadinna is a short but very steep, not a cake walk by any means. Kiskadinna to Muskeg is "the Wall". This portage is 178 rods with a very steep section. The direction we traveled we were going down. Still a challenge. Then a short portage thru a beaver dam mess going from Muskeg to Long Island. The trail is basically maneuvering thru and over boulders. When we went thru again in 2019 this was all flooded by the beavers so you are walking in knee to thigh deep water the entire portage. Day 3 we traveled Long Island, Karl, Lower George, Rib, Cross Bay, camping on Snipe #2011. 4 portages that are easily traveled. Snipe Lake is a very pretty lake with some awesome places to explore. Going thru Snipe would be an option instead of going from Cross Bay to Ham and out. Day 4 was a short day as we had 2 longer portages and little paddling across Missing Link and exiting on Round.

2019 - Day 1 we traveled Poplar, Meeds, Caribou, Horseshoe, camping on Gaskin #633. 5 portages with a long 290 rod form Poplar to Meeds. This one keeps the people away. The 2 short portages into Caribou are both rocky at the landings. Day 2 we traveled Gaskin, Henson, Omega, Kiskadinna, Muskeg, Camping on Long Island #585. Island site and our favorite campsite we have stayed over the 2 years. Day 3 we traveled the same lakes as in 2018, but traveled on to Missing Link for the night camping on site #548. Another great site high above the water. Day 4 had us doing 1 portage out of Missing Link to Round and back to Tuscarora.

This area is a very pretty area, with lots of places to base camp and explore. You can see we were putting on 8-12 miles each day other than the last day of our trip. We pretty much traveled 5-6 hours each day, set up camp and moved on the next. To spend 6-8 days in this area base camping, exploring and fishing would be amazing.

Sorry I am no help for any fishing information.
Prettiest Lakes to explore - Snipe, Long Island, Gaskin, Omega.
Lake to avoid camping - Kiskadinna (both sites are a disappointment)
Winchell has an amazing cliff to climb and overlook the area.

We traveled east to west as then we didn't have to worry about contacting Tuscarora upon exiting as we paddled right to their dock. We have used Tuscarora and they are amazing, great bunkhouse, parking for car, new bath house, great equipment, trip planning, shuttle to our entry, Andy and Ada are awesome. I am guessing if you contact them they could even help you on your fishing needs.
distinguished member(1226)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/16/2020 01:52PM
I would do it in reverse . I had a great tailwind last year when I did it. You will have to go up the "Wall" portage out of Muskeg. As strange as it sounds I felt like I would rather go up than down.Plus you can have a beer at your exit at Rockwood. For sure Bunk at Rockwood. Plus they can shuttle you to your entry or pick up location. Tumblehome did a Podcast on this
distinguished member(2050)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/16/2020 02:10PM
Blatz: "I would do it in reverse . I had a great tailwind last year when I did it. You will have to go up the "Wall" portage out of Muskeg. As strange as it sounds I felt like I would rather go up than down.Plus you can have a beer at your exit at Rockwood. For sure Bunk at Rockwood. Plus they can shuttle you to your entry or pick up location. Tumblehome did a Podcast on this"

That's what I was going to say, Tumblehome guys just did a route review episode of the areas between the entries you're looking at. A lot of good info in (just under) 20 minutes!
distinguished member(1350)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/16/2020 03:19PM
I did this route in May 2019. We went from Ham to Poplar. We spent 3 nights and the days were fairly easy. Day #1 we went from Ham to Long Island. Day #2 we went from Long Island to Omega. Day 3 we went from Omega to Caribou. Day 4 we went from Caribou to Rockwood on Poplar (an easy 1 hour paddle). By going West to East you have the best chances of having the wind at your back. But you have to go up and over "The Wall". I really enjoyed this route, it's one of my favorites if not for the dreaded "wall". I have used Rockwood the past 3 years and they are top-notch. They are very close to Trail Center and Poplar Haus.
member (45)member
02/16/2020 08:02PM
Sorry I can't help with your route but two years ago I went in through EP-47 to basecamp on Vista. Love that area of the BWCA.

Bunkhouse...Rockwood Lodge & Outfitters. Great folks. Bunkhouse isn't anything fancy but for the price you get a roomy place to sleep, sort your gear and shower.

Places to Eat...Travel Center Lodge. Nothing better than a cold beer, burger and fries after a week in the woods. Don't forget to leave room for their homemade blueberry pie served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

distinguished member(4522)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/16/2020 09:47PM
We did poplar to ham a few years ago. trip report
distinguished member (318)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/18/2020 02:17PM
I can help a little with the fishing a little bit. I have done the route 3 times, but none since 2012.

SM Bass- So you will want to target the SMB at the beginning and end of your trip. Crossbay can be good along with Horseshoe and Caribou.
The entire Middle is Pike and Lake trout only that I am aware. Long Island is also good for lake trout Im told but I have not tried for them. The pike always seem like they are ON or OFF on this route. 2 trips I caught them all week long, who knows how many. They were so aggressive. Nothing huge (Im sure they are in there) but lots of 24". Fun size. The other trip I dont know where they were hiding but I only got a couple (6ish), and I fish a lot on a trip, most were on horseshoe lake. 1 of these trips had Omega lake Pike basically jumping in the canoe at any mepps or spinerbait we threw at them.

I would highly recommend Tuscarora also. Andy and Ada are great and they have the great breakfast. They are so reliable and their packing is spot on with good quality gear. We always work with them. They are awesome. Also they have beer in the fridge that will take care of you until you can stop by Trail Center for dinner (and more beer), great little restaurant. We always stop there for dinner on the way out.

I always liked doing "the Wall" going down...which I think is starting on poplar and heading West. Im not that worried about the wind on these small lakes but they are long, east to west so it can pick up. I still do NOT like the Wall. Down is way easier in my book.

Hope that helps.
member (12)member
02/18/2020 09:07PM
Thank you for sharing your experiences. They have been helpful. Thanks - Bruce
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