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      2020 Plan B, need suggestions.     
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gymcoachdon
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05/22/2020 06:47PM
So, I was originally entering the north side of Quetico June 7th. Plan B is to enter the BWCA on June 6th. I have done two trips in the BWCA before and three more in Canada including Quetico twice and WCPP. I thought I should go to a new area of the BWCA, so I have a permit for Entry point 55, Saganaga Lake!

I like solitude and know that Sag may not be the place for it. I still think I might spend a couple days exploring it before I push on. I have fourteen days to explore the area and I need to find out what maps I need.

So, I need some help figuring out a loop, or out and back with side trips, that will help me find some awesome scenery, chances at wildlife sightings, and some good fishing! Some 20" smallmouth are preferred, walleyes for eating, lake trout are good too. Big pike are fun as well! Waterfalls, cliffs, dead end lakes, tough portages and long days paddling are all on the table. I will probably spend two days on a lake three times or so, depending on how I feel.

What suggestions do you have?
Thanks in advance!
 
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05/22/2020 08:08PM
A couple of folks that I've been in touch with are thinking the same about going in Sag. There a plenty of options and I'll let others chime in however a loop out of Sag to Knife/SAK. Good laker fishing in SAK. Head down into Kek through Ogish and out Seagull. You can paddle right back to the parking lot where you put in at Sag. There is good walleye fishing on Ogish. Kek has lakers as well.

If you want to add onto this route there is Fraser/Thomas which has great structure and fishing and then continue back north to Kek and on to Ogish.

Lots of options. Voyageur maps cover a lot of the areas and are well laid out but Fisher maps are also tried and true maps for BWCA. Others can/will weigh in I'm sure.

Sounds like fun! Wish I had that much time for my upcoming trip! Enjoy.
cyclones30
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05/23/2020 07:25AM
My random thoughts to try and get you some fishing but away from folks....

Paddle or get a tow along the border and head for Ottertrack. Cliffs and Benny Ambrose old place/plaque if you're into history. North arm of Knife and good fishing is only a 5r portage away. Fish the water flowing between the two. If you want to get away from people, head through Gigikiki/Lake of the Clouds etc. Those lakes don't get much traffic until you're on Cherry which is also beautiful and has large cliffs. (not sure on fishing on that chain other than Cherry which we did ok on last spring)

Could go Topaz-Amoeber-South arm of Knife which the last one has crazy fishing but a fair amount of people normally.

Or if you stay on Knife after Ottertrack, head all the way around Thunder Point and climb the trail for the awesome view from the top. (where north and south arms connect) Then head towards Kekekabic or SW to Eddy and Ogish. (which will also have people)

The lesser traveled route would be from Kek go south to Fraser/Boulder/Adams area for less people and good fishing. Eventually work your way East to Little Sag for an awesome lake full of islands. Then work back to Ogish and up and back out?

Knife and Ogish are destinations and connectors to lots of routes so you'll see people there.
gymcoachdon
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05/23/2020 08:26AM
Thanks cyclone, good info there. As of now, I want to follow the border at least to Thunder Point. So all of those side options are good for me to investigate.
I have also been thinking of continuing west, maybe even to Basswood, then scooting south and running parallel to the border on the way back. Through Ensign, Kek,, Ogish..All new area with lots of lakes I have heard about.
I normally buy maps early, but short time frame means I will have to buy them at the outfitter when I get there, they said they would set any aside for me when I determined what i needed.
Keep the ideas coming!
cyclones30
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05/23/2020 09:45AM
Following the border to Basswood will have you seeing fair amount of people, esp between Thunder Point and Prairie portage. Ensign also gets busy but if you're just passing thru no big deal. The fishing on Basswood might be worth it.

But if you want that type of distance and less people, head to the interior. Thunder point to Kek to Fraser Thomas Alice even. Beaver Boulder Adams get even more away from people. Head up thru Pan and Makwa for good fishing a few people too on your way back. Or cap, ledge, etc but I've not been there.

Email me if you want Makwa or Malberg area fishing spots
gymcoachdon
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05/23/2020 12:33PM
Yes, I have kinda given up on not seeing people on this trip. However, I really don't like the idea of not finding a site available, and some days i just keep paddling until late, because it is what i want to do. I may need to rethink this, and be more worried about campsite availability if things look really crowded.
Thanks for the thoughts on routes less traveled. Normally I have months to work these things out, now down to days.
cburton103
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05/23/2020 03:43PM
Don,

I started off as a BWCA paddler and converted to a Quetico guy for the last 6 trips, so I know where you’re coming from. You can still find good quality solitude in the bwca with one hard day’s travel into the interior. It probably won’t be the 0-1 groups per day you might see in most interior Quetico lakes, but it will be far fewer people than you’ll see on the entry point lakes. I really like the area south of Kek - Wisini, Fraser, Thomas, Kiana, Insula. All pretty, medium sized lakes with varied shorelines. Most of those places are unlikely to be busy. And if you want a good chance of having the lake to yourself, just take a portage off the main travel route.
gymcoachdon
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05/23/2020 06:29PM
cburton103: "Don,


I started off as a BWCA paddler and converted to a Quetico guy for the last 6 trips, so I know where you’re coming from. You can still find good quality solitude in the bwca with one hard day’s travel into the interior. It probably won’t be the 0-1 groups per day you might see in most interior Quetico lakes, but it will be far fewer people than you’ll see on the entry point lakes. I really like the area south of Kek - Wisini, Fraser, Thomas, Kiana, Insula. All pretty, medium sized lakes with varied shorelines. Most of those places are unlikely to be busy. And if you want a good chance of having the lake to yourself, just take a portage off the main travel route."


Interestingly, I just mapped out a route with 12 days of relatively easy travel, leaving 2 days for weather, that went along the border to Thunder point, then south through Kek, Wisni, Fraser, on down to Alice, then Adams, Boulder, over to Little Sag, then up through Gab and Ogish on the way back to Big Sag. I think I could stretch some of those days, and leave a little more wiggle room in the schedule pretty easily. It would be a good mix of lakes. About 80 miles of paddling, and 7 miles of portage trails. (21 miles since I double portage)
gymcoachdon
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05/24/2020 07:31AM
I am curious, since no paddlers are heading in to Canada, do you guys think the border lakes will see less travel this year? I'm thinking the section from Thunder Point to Prarie Portage might be unusually quiet. But I have never been in the area, Just assumed that there would be fewer tows up there, and fewer spreading out into Canada.
cburton103
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05/24/2020 11:41AM
gymcoachdon: "I am curious, since no paddlers are heading in to Canada, do you guys think the border lakes will see less travel this year? I'm thinking the section from Thunder Point to Prarie Portage might be unusually quiet. But I have never been in the area, Just assumed that there would be fewer tows up there, and fewer spreading out into Canada."

I’ve paddled that stretch of water only once, but that’s one of the few areas I’ve had to wait to portage due to a number of other groups being around. I doubt a significant amount of the crowds through that area are Quetico paddlers, so I would still anticipate that to be a busy stretch of water. South Arm Knife is super popular, and taking a tow up through the Moose Chain and paddling East along the border is the quickest and easiest way to get there. That’s what I’ll be doing in a week and a half, in fact!
cburton103
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05/24/2020 11:48AM
gymcoachdon: "Interestingly, I just mapped out a route with 12 days of relatively easy travel, leaving 2 days for weather, that went along the border to Thunder point, then south through Kek, Wisni, Fraser, on down to Alice, then Adams, Boulder, over to Little Sag, then up through Gab and Ogish on the way back to Big Sag. I think I could stretch some of those days, and leave a little more wiggle room in the schedule pretty easily. It would be a good mix of lakes. About 80 miles of paddling, and 7 miles of portage trails. (21 miles since I double portage)"
That sounds like an awesome trip! If by chance you’re looking to cut off a few miles during your trip,, Shepo and Sagus would be a good alternative To continuing south to Alice. That might mess up the Boulder-Adams section of your route, which is supposed to be a great area of your trip, but just keep it in your back pocket. I like smaller lakes like that personally, and that stretch is supposed to have good walleye fishing.
05/24/2020 12:17PM
cburton103: "gymcoachdon: "I am curious, since no paddlers are heading in to Canada, do you guys think the border lakes will see less travel this year? I'm thinking the section from Thunder Point to Prarie Portage might be unusually quiet. But I have never been in the area, Just assumed that there would be fewer tows up there, and fewer spreading out into Canada."


I’ve paddled that stretch of water only once, but that’s one of the few areas I’ve had to wait to portage due to a number of other groups being around. I doubt a significant amount of the crowds through that area are Quetico paddlers, so I would still anticipate that to be a busy stretch of water. South Arm Knife is super popular, and taking a tow up through the Moose Chain and paddling East along the border is the quickest and easiest way to get there. That’s what I’ll be doing in a week and a half, in fact!"



+1 to this. Maybe a group going into Carp to Man Chain and maybe a group around Ottertrack taking a back way up to Cache, but not much for Q paddlers along this stretch. It can be busy enough with BW paddlers though.
gymcoachdon
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05/24/2020 06:12PM
Thanks cburton, one of the reasons to hit Alice was also to check out the pictos on Fishdance! Funny thing is, my Quetico Trip this year was supposed to be a stop and smell the roses kind of trip since I had time to not be in a hurry. Now I am planning some epic BWCA route.
Time to reflect...maybe I will hang out on Big Sag for a few days, and decide then.
Thanks for everyone's input!
joewildlife
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05/25/2020 01:36PM
Don, we are totally on the same page and likely headed to the same general area of BWCA. I've been to BWCA twice then 10 trips to Quetico and Woodland Caribou combined, and going back to the BWCA. We are going in on Lake One and heading east to Little Sag, then up to Ogish, Kek, Thomas, and such to complete the loop in 14 easy days with a layover or two thrown in.

In my two trips to BWCA, the only lake that was almost full was Ogish late in the day. We had to paddle and backtrack all the way to the west to find a campsite, from, where we came. We will be sure to hit campsites earlier in the day.

The Plan C thread is similar to this one. Both threads convinced me that I made the right call on this year's trip! We were going to go in at Moose and paddle Quetico to Darky, over to Minn, and back on Crooked and Basswood. In the fall I do hope to go back to Quetico and do the Hunter's Island loop with a buddy. I've seen most of the south side of Quetico and in 2021 I think we are going to go in at Beaverhouse or return to WCPP.

I doubt that the closure of Quetico will result in noticeable differences in BWCA traffic, the whole park has only 10% of the use as compared to BWCA. Even if everybody who was going to do Quetico hit BWCA instead, it will be overshadowed by lowered overall use of BWCA this summer due to CoVid. At least that is my guess.

Have a great trip, I'm loaded and rearing to go!
Joe
gymcoachdon
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05/30/2020 06:17PM
I thought about rescheduling later in the year, hoping that the border would be open, but if I am going to hit the BWCA, I think fishing will be better early June, and no telling when the border will open. I am entering the 6th, out for 2 weeks, and it looks like I will head west to Thunder Point area, then South, then east toward little Sag, then back up to Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. I will be solo, in a Bell Magic, with the flying moose, and Quiet Journey stickers. If any of you see me, stop by and say Hi!

Cburton, good call on Sagus, looks like a nice lake to spend some time on!
joewildlife
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05/31/2020 03:41AM
Don,
I'm on plan D or E by now...my daughter had an injury so we will be going in on Sag on the 4th. We can't do a lot of portaging, so will stay on Sag and perhaps move to Red Rock or Alpine for something different.

We use two red/white Kruger Sea Winds, and catamaran them together in big water or when fishing. Perhaps we've run across each other in Quetico before? I've met a solo guy with a Magic somewhere up there! Maybe we will run across each other.

Joe
gymcoachdon
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05/31/2020 09:25AM
I would love to meet up, and if possible, paddle your Kruger! I use an InReach, maybe we can share contact info, but if not, you guys should be easy to spot. I think we took similar routes in WCPP, my trip was 2018, but i don't believe we have met. Right now, I am thinking I will spend a couple days exploring big Sag before moving west.
joewildlife
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05/31/2020 11:59AM
Don, I think we can talk InReach to Inreach pretty easily, you can text me using the "email" address under your name in Contacts. Shoot me one when you get a chance to see if it works. I've never tried, only texting to and from phones.

mine is joewildlife@inreach.garmin.com

evidently, this works only from other Inreaches, regular emails cannot be sent to this address.

Joe
joewildlife
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06/01/2020 11:57AM
Don,
YES it would be cool to meet up. you can come for dinner if nearby and can help us eat some fish! Any you are welcome to try out a Kruger. I'd like to know what you think.

I imagine we will still be on Sag when you get there.
Inreach to Inreach works...I usually only have it turned on a bit in the morning and the evening to check the weather or send a message. But I'll check in more often since you will be around.

Joe
gymcoachdon
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06/01/2020 03:38PM
Sounds good, I will be arriving to Voyageur Canoe Outfitters on Friday the 5th. I reserved a bunkhouse that night and breakfast Saturday morning before heading out. I will touch base on Friday night, maybe let me know what area you are in for Saturday. I just put permethrin on the tarp and hammock bug net, aired out my quilts, checked the tarp, and oiled the wood on the canoe and axe handle. Getting excited about the trip!
 
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