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gymcoachdon
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09/16/2020 10:40AM
I love canoe tripping, and I was forced this year to change from a trip in Quetico to one in the BWCAW. This is normally the time of year I start making very loose plans for my next trip, but I am not optimistic about my chances for getting back to Canada by June of next year.

My problem is that I had 13 days in the BWCAW this June and I left feeling rejuvenated, but not fulfilled. Fishing was off, and most people I talked to during the trip were struggling as well. The big problem was the number of people in the park made it hard to feel like I was "getting away", if you know what I mean.

I passed six occupied campsites in a row one day once I started looking for a place to stay, and this was around noon. Another night, I was on Spice Lake, a small single site, dead end lake off of Ogishkemuncie's southern end, and at 8:00 pm, two canoes with a family of four came up looking for a place to camp. Every site on Ogish was taken. I offered, but there were only two tent sites and I had a hammock over one of them. I don't know where they ended up, but the site closest to Spice lake on Ogish is huge, so I told them they might try to share that one. Certainly not the wilderness experience I had become used to in Woodland Caribou and Quetico.

I knew I was in a busier area of the park, even spending a few days on Big Sag with motorboats, so I wasn't disappointed, although I must say it was worse than I expected.

Now to the question...
I went early June...did it get any better as the summer has progressed? Will next year be any different? If I had made my BWCAW plans earlier, I could have picked a less traveled area, but permits were scarce when I switched to plan B.

Thanks for letting me whine a little.
 
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user0317
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09/16/2020 11:00AM
I completely understand. I've done most of my trips in Canada over the last few years and, although I love the BWCA, it just isn't the same. I can't imagine going from seeing no one on a multiple week river trip to having to wait at portages, worrying about finding campsites and listening to some other campers music late into the evening.

I had a trip to Opasquia and another trip down the Misehkow that were obviously cancelled this year, and it has been hard to get over. I completely acknowledge that if this is the worst thing that happens to me personally due to the pandemic, that I've been very fortunate. If you can't whine about it here, where can you!?

I enjoy the planning process of trips as much as actually taking them, but I haven't been able to put my head into it for 2021. Not knowing if a trip has the possibility of coming to fruition has taken the fun out of it. I eagerly await the border re-opening, but I don't blame Canada for standing firm on the border closure. Last Friday they had the first '0 death day' since March, while we had nearly 900.
 
09/16/2020 01:08PM
Life is too short to worry about it. Lost out on a Q trip in June.....worked a busy summer and read some of the "busy BWCA" articles. I'm headed up Saturday to do what I enjoy doing and I'm not going to let anything taint it for me. I will adapt and conquer and enjoy, and I will wait to see what next year brings.
 
arctic
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09/16/2020 03:18PM
Apart from a few days fishing in June, I avoided the canoe country this year due to the crowds and lack of law enforcement. I usually go to Quetico anyway.

Instead, I headed out to the Rockies in Montana, hiked off-trail for a few days, and hardly saw anyone. Great fishing and climbing too.
 
Aldy1
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09/16/2020 04:15PM
cowdoc: "Life is too short to worry about it. ."
Cowdoc has it right. No use in being depressed when it's out of your control. Try planning a trip in a less popular area and you can still find what you want. And maybe the border opens up and you can do your normal trip!

 
Savage Voyageur
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09/16/2020 04:56PM
I feel your pain. Our annual fishing trip to Ontario was canceled too. Our group kept our same time slot and rolled our trip deposit to 2021. I really don’t think the border will until May 2022. So next April I will probably be making fishing plans in northern Minnesota somewhere.

I don’t see next year being any better, but worse. My opinion is there is no reason for Canada to open the border so the BWCA is going to be packed, again.
 
KarlBAndersen1
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09/16/2020 05:10PM
I went in with a group of three at Kawishiwi Lake - I had never been there, so......
We went in on the 12th of June.
We never had one moment of difficulty finding a site on our way to Malberg - where we stayed a week.
We barely saw anyone else and felt we had the whole place to ourselves.
I expected worse.
The very same week in June 2019 my wrists hurt on a daily basis from hauling in 20+ inch small mouth all day. This year they were hard to find and others had some difficulty as well. That said - we had a fish fry every night.
For goodness' sake, man, don't get down on next year when this one isn't even over!! That'll ruin a trip faster than anything.
 
dogwoodgirl
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09/16/2020 08:34PM
I have had 2 trips this year, and one more coming up next week- So far, what I saw this year was not bad. Some more popular lakes were hard to find sites on, but I had a 4 day stretch where I saw no one but my son.

There was a lot of dumb stuff happening on lakes that were easy to get to, more than usual. There was a general lack of dumb stuff the farther away from entry points we got.

I too had to cancel a Quetico trip this year, and I'm contemplating a PMA if the border is still closed next year, just for the solitude.
 
mutz
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09/16/2020 08:47PM
No trips this year so can’t comment on crowds, but I think it will be back to normal next year. Two trips to BDUB last year, we eat fish for main meal everyday and never had trouble catching more than we could ever eat. The only advantage of the Q is it is less crowded and the pike are bigger.
 
BoxofRain
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09/18/2020 04:48PM
Plenty of people going into the Lakes on Labor Day, the Brule Lake parking lot was full and the Baker Lake entry point had all three permits used. Hard to find a campsite on South Temperance Lake and we met plenty of people. In glad that people are using the Wilderness to get through this pandemic and I think the more people that use the Wilderness the more people will see its value and vote accordingly. There are still places in the United States that can be classified as wilderness so I don't think we will run out...build more portages not more walls!
 
missmolly
distinguished member(6918)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/18/2020 05:12PM
arctic: "Apart from a few days fishing in June, I avoided the canoe country this year due to the crowds and lack of law enforcement. I usually go to Quetico anyway.


Instead, I headed out to the Rockies in Montana, hiked off-trail for a few days, and hardly saw anyone. Great fishing and climbing too."


Don, I'll piggyback on Arctic's comment and suggest you look for alternative paddling outside the BWCA, but within the U.S. I live on the populated coast of Maine, but even a mere couple miles from my house are lakes that rarely see paddlers and would cost you nothing to paddle and fish beyond a fishing license. When you go northward in Maine, there are warrens of logging roads that lead to lake after lake, many with brook trout and landlocked salmon. If you portaged to a lake beyond a lake just off a logging road, I expect it would be as wild and all-to-your-lonesome as the Q or Woodland Caribou.
 
Zwater
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/18/2020 06:00PM
Title:
Feeling depressed about next season.

I hear violins playing. Then just don't go The BWCA.
 
colddriver
member (8)member
 
09/19/2020 07:30AM
mutz: "No trips this year so can’t comment on crowds, but I think it will be back to normal next year. Two trips to BDUB last year, we eat fish for main meal everyday and never had trouble catching more than we could ever eat. The only advantage of the Q is it is less crowded and the pike are bigger."
"The pike are bigger"
Wow looks like I need a trip to the Q. I Have caught a few over 40 in the bdub.
Looking for that 50 though....
IMHO there is no faster way to ruin a trip than to dammit before it even begins.. hang in there give it a chance!
 
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