BWCA Missing Link Lake loop through Tuscarora Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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molshove
member (47)member
 
08/09/2020 12:50PM  
Hey all -

I'm headed out in a few weeks through EP51, Missing Link Lake. Staying at Tuscarora outfitters the night before, and taking two buddies in that have never visited the BWCA before. Super excited!

We're taking a 3 person canoe, and I have loosely planned my route, but looking for feedback, suggestions, etc.

There's no strict plan to try to do a ton of distance. Could base camp and explore, or could keep moving every day. No difference to us. We head out on a sunday morning and come back in Wednesday afternoon.

EP 51 on round lake
137 rod portage to missing link, possible nice campsite on a cliff on southwest corner of missing link for jumping and possible blueberries- maybe if we do this route backwards, this is a good final site?
362 rod portage to tuscarora - a few great sounding sites here with views, lake trout, and moose activity. Could spend time here
67 rods to owl lake
50 rods to crooked lake
88 roda to gillis lake - another few great campsites and possible good fishing here, lots of cliff jumping

21 rids to bat lake
18 rods to green lake
73 rods to flying lake
13 rods to crag lake
88 rods to brant lake

really good campsite on brant

33 rods to edith lake
47 rods to west round lake
77 rods to round lake
exit at EP51

It seems like tuscarora, gillis, and brant all offer what im generally looking for. Lots of small portages on one side of the route, a few big ones on the other side.

Does this seem like a decent route? Maybe another one I'm not considering that gets us in and out of EP51, possibly a there and back thats worth it for the destination and a base camp?

Cheers!
 
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08/09/2020 01:34PM  
Sounds like a decent idea and you've done some planning. Go for it.

Tumblehome podcast just recently did a review of all the campsites on Tuscarora. And some fishing advice in there too
molshove
member (47)member
 
08/09/2020 03:00PM  
Nice, thanks for the heads up. I’ll check that out!
08/09/2020 05:03PM  
Pretty sure the Craig route is seldom used....more of a bushwack. Maybe it got used more this summer and maybe your looking for adventure but if not, I'd plan to stick to major routes.
08/09/2020 10:05PM  
Those portages are generally not that bad to traverse. Taking out of Gillis is a bear with exposed round basketball-sized rocks and a bit deeper water around them to step out into as I recall. The Gillis-Bat portage gains some elevation there too. It's not bad just be prepared for a bit of a climb with your 3-person canoe. Green to Flying will also get your heart pumping before you reach height-of-land but then by that portion of your trip, you'll be ready for it.
molshove
member (47)member
 
08/10/2020 06:32PM  
cyclones30: "Sounds like a decent idea and you've done some planning. Go for it.


Tumblehome podcast just recently did a review of all the campsites on Tuscarora. And some fishing advice in there too "


Listened to a few different episodes from tumblehome today, including the Tusc campsite reviews. Thanks for the suggestion, it's a great show!

I actually pulled up the youtube videos after listening, and have my heart set on one site in particular - fingers crossed.

I'm focusing solely on lake trout this trip, which will be a first for me. As a very novice, but mostly competent angler, any suggestions from the crowd?
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1378)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/10/2020 09:14PM  
I think you mean 13 rod to Gotter (not to Crag).

You have a good amount of variety in terms of portage length and difficulty. Personally I have not done the long portage into Tuscarora, but I've certainly heard plenty of people complain about it.

We were just through Flying Lake, Gotter, Brant (lovely last night), and then out to Round. The portage from Flying to Gotter starts with stairs going up. The water is low enough this summer that there is some room to stage your gear before hiking up the stairs. The portage from Gotter to Brant is quite steep/hilly. All 3 of these lakes are very scenic. We came down from Paulson so I can't speak to the the travels from Gillis to Flying.

Portages from Brant to Round are muddy but many sections have boardwalks. This stretch can get very busy. Even though there are only 2 overnight permits through the Brant EP, on a nice day you might also experience day trippers. These were the only portages on our trip where we had to wait for people to finish before we could start (big, disorganized groups). It got tiresome.

molshove
member (47)member
 
08/10/2020 11:15PM  
straighthairedcurly: "I think you mean 13 rod to Gotter (not to Crag).“

Yep, you’re right.

straighthairedcurly: "Portages from Brant to Round are muddy but many sections have boardwalks. This stretch can get very busy. Even though there are only 2 overnight permits through the Brant EP, on a nice day you might also experience day trippers. These were the only portages on our trip where we had to wait for people to finish before we could start (big, disorganized groups). It got tiresome.“

This is super helpful to know - might shift this to a there and back, if we end up snagging the campsite I’ve got my heart set on, and just day trip into the other lakes from Tuscarora, especially if the fishing seems promising the first day or two.

halvorsonchristopher
distinguished member(1122)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/12/2020 08:19PM  
When are you headed in?
08/13/2020 10:17AM  
The Missing Link and Tuscarora portages are pretty easy even though they are long. The Tusc portage has at least 2 spots where you can take a break. The first site on the right after you push off from the Tusc portage is pretty nice. But the island site on Tusc is great.
molshove
member (47)member
 
08/14/2020 05:31PM  
halvorsonchristopher: "When are you headed in?
"


Sunday the 23rd
molshove
member (47)member
 
08/14/2020 05:31PM  
RT: "The Missing Link and Tuscarora portages are pretty easy even though they are long. The Tusc portage has at least 2 spots where you can take a break. The first site on the right after you push off from the Tusc portage is pretty nice. But the island site on Tusc is great."

The one to the right, the island site, and the one west of the island site are the 3 I have in mind
Abbey
distinguished member (278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/17/2020 04:55AM  
We did that loop in May 2017 targeting lakers. Will be tougher fishing in August with the lakers deeper in the colder water.

The thing that I didn’t see mentioned is that the full loop starts to be fairly fire impacted from Gillis onward. I would not discourage an out-and-back plan camping on Tuscarora with day trips.
molshove
member (47)member
 
08/21/2020 05:53AM  
Abbey: "We did that loop in May 2017 targeting lakers. Will be tougher fishing in August with the lakers deeper in the colder water.


The thing that I didn’t see mentioned is that the full loop starts to be fairly fire impacted from Gillis onward. I would not discourage an out-and-back plan camping on Tuscarora with day trips. "


You’re not thinking it’s been cool enough lately that they’ve come up some? Hoping we can snag a few.

Thanks for the heads up, didn’t realize the extent of the burn in this area. I think it’s likely we’ll base camp and explore.
08/21/2020 08:07AM  
molshove: "Abbey: "We did that loop in May 2017 targeting lakers. Will be tougher fishing in August with the lakers deeper in the colder water.



The thing that I didn’t see mentioned is that the full loop starts to be fairly fire impacted from Gillis onward. I would not discourage an out-and-back plan camping on Tuscarora with day trips. "



You’re not thinking it’s been cool enough lately that they’ve come up some? Hoping we can snag a few.


Thanks for the heads up, didn’t realize the extent of the burn in this area. I think it’s likely we’ll base camp and explore. "


Lakers will still be deep. I've heard people use lead core line and troll a nice shiny spoon, have not done so myself. I have managed to catch a couple in late july in what was probably 60 fow using a handful of split shots placed 4ft or so in front of a Johnson Silver Minnow.
08/21/2020 08:12AM  
RT: "The Missing Link and Tuscarora portages are pretty easy even though they are long. The Tusc portage has at least 2 spots where you can take a break. The first site on the right after you push off from the Tusc portage is pretty nice. But the island site on Tusc is great."

It's been a few years since I have done this route but this is what I remember. I was carrying the aluminum canoe in this case and it was certainly long and I did take a break in the middle, but it wasn't particularly difficult otherwise. I would not hesitate to go this route. Tuscarora is worth every step.

Aside - this was a trip where I was going to just sit back and go along for the ride. The others picked the route and I was letting them lead. Long story short about halfway on the long portage while resting I finally ask our map guy to see the map. I instantly know we are on the wrong portage. He was not the map guy after that. In the end we kept going, but we really should have turned around since our permit was for Brant Lake.
08/21/2020 08:32AM  
I like this route and you seem to be on top of planning. Just a couple more things to consider -

1. I hope you get the campsites you are looking for but if they are taken don't get too down. With how busy it has been you may need to "settle" for your 2nd or 3rd choices. You are still in the BWCA, and the crappiest campsite still beats the heck outta a office cube.

2. With 3 people and one Canoe, your portaging should be easier as you are spreading out the load. Keep that in mind as you may end up going faster and easier than you thought.

3. If you have the time and energy, think about hitting Mora and the Southeast arm of Little Sag, either as part of your loop or a day trip. Beautiful area! On the trip I mentioned in my previous note we made it to a nice campsite on Little Sag on our first night in time to do a little fishing, and we were not at the time what I would call "seasoned" trekkers.

Have a great Trip! Only a couple of day's away now! Look forward to reading a trip report!
 
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