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      May 10th is booked for Sawbill     
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02/20/2021 01:08PM  
I spent some time in the BWCA late last year and have decided to head back up this spring. We've (my son and I) booked Sawbill for May 10th, and plan on being out for approx 9 days. Last year I went out of Kawishiwi Lake up to the Kawishiwi River for 6 days. This time (tentatively) we'll do the clockwise loop from Sawbill, Lake Polly, up to Marlbeg, then to Little Sag. I'd like to get over to Cherokee by way of the Frost River if possible then back down to Sawbill. I'm assuming water levels should be high this time of year?

Other loops that we are considering
Sawbill - Cherokee - Long Island Lake - Tuscarora - Hub - Kelso - Sawbill.

Sawbill - Cherokee - Long Island - Davis - Brule - South Temperance- Jack - Kelly - Burnt - Smoke Sawbill

Let's Hope the fishing is better than last year.

Any input is appreciated.
 
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GunflintTrailAngler
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
 
02/21/2021 09:40AM  
You do know the fishing opener isn’t until the 15th, right?
02/21/2021 09:44AM  
Yes - we planned on being well away from entry points on the opening day.
Speckled
distinguished member (253)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2021 10:27AM  
danbogey: "I spent some time in the BWCA late last year and have decided to head back up this spring. We've (my son and I) booked Sawbill for May 10th, and plan on being out for approx 9 days. Last year I went out of Kawishiwi Lake up to the Kawishiwi River for 6 days. This time (tentatively) we'll do the clockwise loop from Sawbill, Lake Polly, up to Marlbeg, then to Little Sag. I'd like to get over to Cherokee by way of the Frost River if possible then back down to Sawbill. I'm assuming water levels should be high this time of year?

Other loops that we are considering
Sawbill - Cherokee - Long Island Lake - Tuscarora - Hub - Kelso - Sawbill.

Sawbill - Cherokee - Long Island - Davis - Brule - South Temperance- Jack - Kelly - Burnt - Smoke Sawbill

Let's Hope the fishing is better than last year.

Any input is appreciated."


For better fishing, I suggest going at a time when you can legally fish.
02/21/2021 10:29AM  
My timing for this is based upon my work schedule and when my son is available, not the opening of the fishing season. I don't illegally fish, hunt, or trap, just not my style. This post was to get some info on May paddling and routes out of Sawbill for the time allotted. I usually don't get time off until later in the summer so that's why I was inquiring about water levels and what the area is like this early in the season. Fingers crossed for an early ice out :)
02/22/2021 11:41AM  
Heading up to Cherokee and points north would make a good excursion. It'll be (or could be) cold and wet or hot and sunny at that time of year. A snow squall would not be out of the ordinary (especially this year). Pack warm, waterproof gear.
pswith5
distinguished member(3421)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/22/2021 04:30PM  
How old is your son?? Don't want to get too aggressive if he is young. Plan for cold weather. You can always take layers off. Can't add them if you don't bring them.
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/22/2021 07:54PM  
The Frost River requires lots of beaver dam pullovers regardless of water levels so make sure in mid-May you have a way to keep your feet warm and dry. Little Sag is beautiful, definitely worth spending some time there. The Frost River can be long and tiring. There is a campsite on Whipped (doesn't show on every map) or Afton, and on Bologna if you needed to split it up.

Have fun, sounds like a great route.
Speckled
distinguished member (253)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/22/2021 10:25PM  
I would loop up through Cherokee, Long Island, over to Winchell, Brule, Temperance, Jack Kelly and back over to sawbill.

Cherokee, Long Island and Winchell have some great sites. Cherokee has some of the prettiest lake trout I've seen up there. Troll around the islands with little Cleo's or vibrax spinners. The very north shore of Cherokee can produce lakers too. Long Island has decent pike fishing. The best sites on Long Island are on the western half of the lake. Muskeg to Kiskidina portage will be the toughest of the trip. It's a quad burner for sure. Winchell also is a decent lake trout lake. South Temperance is good for walleyes. Make sure to check out the old Kelly Jack mine between Kelly and Jack lakes...super cool!
02/23/2021 07:46AM  
pswith5: "How old is your son?? Don't want to get too aggressive if he is young. Plan for cold weather. You can always take layers off. Can't add them if you don't bring them."

He's 19. I Always bring cold-weather gear in shoulder season. I've done a lot of backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas and have seen the weather change quicker than you can imagine. Good Merino 250 weight tops, dependable rain gear, and something to keep feet warm.
02/23/2021 09:03AM  
Speckled: "I would loop up through Cherokee, Long Island, over to Winchell, Brule, Temperance, Jack Kelly and back over to sawbill.


Cherokee, Long Island and Winchell have some great sites. Cherokee has some of the prettiest lake trout I've seen up there. Troll around the islands with little Cleo's or vibrax spinners. The very north shore of Cherokee can produce lakers too. Long Island has decent pike fishing. The best sites on Long Island are on the western half of the lake. Muskeg to Kiskidina portage will be the toughest of the trip. It's a quad burner for sure. Winchell also is a decent lake trout lake. South Temperance is good for walleyes. Make sure to check out the old Kelly Jack mine between Kelly and Jack lakes...super cool!
"


Maybe something like this Route
Speckled
distinguished member (253)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/23/2021 11:15AM  
danbogey: "Speckled: "I would loop up through Cherokee, Long Island, over to Winchell, Brule, Temperance, Jack Kelly and back over to sawbill.



Cherokee, Long Island and Winchell have some great sites. Cherokee has some of the prettiest lake trout I've seen up there. Troll around the islands with little Cleo's or vibrax spinners. The very north shore of Cherokee can produce lakers too. Long Island has decent pike fishing. The best sites on Long Island are on the western half of the lake. Muskeg to Kiskidina portage will be the toughest of the trip. It's a quad burner for sure. Winchell also is a decent lake trout lake. South Temperance is good for walleyes. Make sure to check out the old Kelly Jack mine between Kelly and Jack lakes...super cool!
"



Maybe something like this Route "


Ya - that would be a great trip. Campsite 893 on Cherokee is one of my fav's. I've stayed at 570 on Long Island twice - Great site!

764 & 762 on Winchell are our go to sites there.

How far do you plan to travel from the 10th to the 15th?
02/23/2021 01:00PM  

How far do you plan to travel from the 10th to the 15th? "


like to get to Long Island Lake on the 14th then start fishing on the way back.

my out date is either the 19th or 20th then we have a 20hr drive back to Pittsburgh.

THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (241)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/23/2021 04:36PM  
Jeez- some quick pouncing by others.

Panfish have a continuous season.

Get deeper for walleye and lakers by (their) opener. Not a bad idea. Sounds like a great trip.
02/23/2021 11:11PM  
THEGrandRapids: "Jeez- some quick pouncing by others.


Panfish have a continuous season.


Get deeper for walleye and lakers by (their) opener. Not a bad idea. Sounds like a great trip. "


That was my thought too. Would there be lakes in this area that hold Crappies? Best Crappie fishing I have ever had was the week before Walleye opener.

Yes, hoping for an average or earlier ice-out. Have fun but allow and extra day or two in case you get wind or snow bond.
Sandman2009
distinguished member (311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/27/2021 08:55PM  
I think crappie lakes are more easily found on Ely side.
03/01/2021 08:11AM  
FYI - I stumbled upon the Minnesota Ice out website. According to this, the median ice out date for Sawbill is May 7.

Minnesota Ice out data
ClareAugust
member (10)member
 
03/07/2021 07:44PM  
We'll be posting regular ice updates as soon as spring gets going on our Newsletter at sawbill.com! Last few years ice has gone off on May 7th, May 5th, and May 3rd.
03/07/2021 08:58PM  
I'm doing a sawbill loop in June. We're headed to phoebe on night one, malberd on nights 2 and 3, little sag on nights 4 and 5, meseba on night 6 then out. There'll be an extra day for weather or good fishing, potentially 2. The second flex day is a rest day for afterwards. It should be a great trip with good fishing.
03/07/2021 09:15PM  
danbogey: "Yes - we planned on being well away from entry points on the opening day. "

I know you said you plan on fishing legally, but I have to mention that distance from the entry point has nothing to do with the legal opener. I'm going to assume that you are saying that you will be in for more than 5 days, not that you will be too far in to get caught...
mschi772
distinguished member(588)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2021 08:42AM  
What is with everyone pouncing on the fishing thing??? Fishing opener is the 15th. He'll be in the BWCA from the 10th to the 19th. Looks like 4 days of legal fishing to me. I don't get what everyone is so stuck on.

Also, there are sunfish (bluegill) along his route (lady chain to Little Sag to Frost & Cherokee) starting at least as early as Koma. Perch are along the route as early as Sawbill itself but maybe more reasonably, Grace. There isn't a season for those in MN, right? Chill out.

If it was me, I wouldn't bother fishing for anything until the 15th, and I would travel with my fishing gear packed away or "disabled" in some way to help assure any law enforcement that I haven't been using it and don't intend to until the 15th.
03/08/2021 08:48AM  
THEGrandRapids: "Jeez- some quick pouncing by others.


Panfish have a continuous season.


Get deeper for walleye and lakers by (their) opener. Not a bad idea. Sounds like a great trip. "


I thought the same thing as you at first but probably because his entry date is so far from the opener and he specifically mentioned fishing. Although panfish are present...usually not in numbers to specifically target them. Most people happen into them by accident if they do find a them.

Living in MN I’d say Historically there have been many incidents of people fishing early. The DNR occasionally does sting operations in the BWCAW and the amount of fines for fishing out of season is depressing...

Okay I’ll stop the off topic...enjoy your trip Danbogey—-the above was just perspective—has nothing to do with you.

T
03/08/2021 08:57AM  
mschi772: "What is with everyone pouncing on the fishing thing??? Fishing opener is the 15th. He'll be in the BWCA from the 10th to the 19th. Looks like 4 days of legal fishing to me. I don't get what everyone is so stuck on.

Also, there are sunfish (bluegill) along his route (lady chain to Little Sag to Frost & Cherokee) starting at least as early as Koma. Perch are along the route as early as Sawbill itself but maybe more reasonably, Grace. There isn't a season for those in MN, right? Chill out."


I did miss the fact that he said he was going for 9 days.
03/08/2021 10:26AM  
A1t2o: "mschi772: "What is with everyone pouncing on the fishing thing??? Fishing opener is the 15th. He'll be in the BWCA from the 10th to the 19th. Looks like 4 days of legal fishing to me. I don't get what everyone is so stuck on.


Also, there are sunfish (bluegill) along his route (lady chain to Little Sag to Frost & Cherokee) starting at least as early as Koma. Perch are along the route as early as Sawbill itself but maybe more reasonably, Grace. There isn't a season for those in MN, right? Chill out."



I did miss the fact that he said he was going for 9 days."


No problem guys/gals. My dates are based upon my work schedule. Should be a great trip and we'll probably be one of the first groups in the BWCA (in the area we are heading) - Meaning campsites will look "NEW" :) and firewood should be plenty from downed trees. Still debating which loop. Pouring over maps the Frost River up to Little Sag, Marlberg, then back on Louise River may be the ticket? Anyone paddle this route?
paddlinjoe
distinguished member (408)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2021 02:34PM  
Congrats! Paddling the Frost is one of my favorite days of paddling. I would not be concerned about beaver blockages with May water levels. It is just a very enjoyable remote feeling area. Sounds to me like you have a lovely route planned.
mschi772
distinguished member(588)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/08/2021 04:02PM  
danbogey: "Still debating which loop. Pouring over maps the Frost River up to Little Sag, Marlberg, then back on Louise River may be the ticket? Anyone paddle this route?"

Sounds like Little Sag is definitely something you want to visit, and you also seem quite fond of incorporating Frost. I would go up Ada to Cherokee and Frost to Little Sag. From there it only seems natural to go to Malberg. Here's where the real choice is imo (between going east on Louse or heading south to the lady chain).

I'd do Louse River back to Sawbill, personally. Louse River is super rugged, but worth it and much less-traveled. The Zenith-Lujenida portage is a doozy, but not that hard. I think all that extra work would be worth it to see the Louse and Wine Lake areas, but looping back through the lady chain instead would probably be a bit easier if endurance or morale are low.
Duckman
distinguished member (459)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
03/10/2021 09:19AM  
I’d leave my set ups unlined and put a sticker on the spool of line that says “don’t open until May 15.”

If you get checked, that’ll probably earn you a chuckle and no hassle.
 
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