BWCA Shell Lake Area? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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Pilgrimpaddler
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02/22/2021 02:57PM  
I'm tentatively planning on a mid- to late-May trip with my two sons up to the Shell Lake area. I've been through Loon and into LLC before but never to Shell. My question is in regards to water quality on Shell. I've read that the water in Shell is maybe not the best; even though I filter drinking water with a Platypus Gravity Works I know that the quality of the water that goes into the filter can have an impact on the taste of the water that comes out. For those of you who have been to the area, from a strictly water-quality perspective, would it be better to camp on one of the adjacent lakes or will it not make any significant difference?

I realize this seems like a pretty picky thing, but soft water season is coming and my thoughts are not as focused on work as they should be.
 
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MikeinMpls
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02/22/2021 03:11PM  
I've camped at Lower Pauness a couple of times, as well as Shell and Lynx. I've never stopped to consider water taste, I'm curious to read the responses. I would think that the filter you use and its relatively cleanliness would make more of a difference than the lake itself, but maybe someone else knows more than me on this.

Mike
schweady
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02/22/2021 03:43PM  
Water flavor in the BW is affected most by the presence -- or absence -- of tannins. We noticed this most when we started filtering. (Yes, we went a few earlier decades just dipping and drinking...) Gabbro Lake comes to mind as one heavy in tannins and nearly orange in color sometimes. Although the color didn't really change much, filtering out these teeny particles rendered the water from any lake -- even Gabbro -- a similar, excellent, taste. As my canoe buddy of 40+ years says, "Remember when we used to get thirsty drinking it?..."
OMGitsKa
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02/22/2021 04:04PM  
Was there during high heat of last summer, seemed fine to me.
pswith5
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02/22/2021 04:25PM  
Been there a few times in May. Never remember a problem. Of course, like shweady, I have been known to just dip and drink early in the season.
Deeznuts
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02/22/2021 07:32PM  
I would suggest trying to push to lynx. The water quality is much better (in my opinion). Also, fishing there is great. If you can find a little grouping of walleye you can catch pretty much all day.
Banksiana
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02/22/2021 07:34PM  
If you gravity filter add a carbon element to your system. Will remove nearly any lingering vegetative flavor. Shell has decent water. Little Shell even better.
AndyEck84
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02/24/2021 04:25PM  
I was there last year and the water on Shell seemed fine to me. I thought I was drinking Leinenkugel's.
02/24/2021 06:35PM  
Lynx looks like bottled water. It's very clear.
02/24/2021 06:43PM  
There’s only a few lakes where, after filtering, I could “taste” the lake. Shell doesn’t fit the bill. It is not as clear as Little Shell or Lynx but the taste is the same. Plus—clear water does not mean clean water.
02/24/2021 09:19PM  
I passed through Shell two years ago on my way out. I remember scooping up water to use in my gravity filter when I stopped at campsite for lunch. I did not think it was a big deal, but the water looked a little less clear than some lakes. Keep in mind that walleye love water that is not crystal clear.
Pilgrimpaddler
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02/25/2021 10:39AM  
Thanks for all the input! I won't give any more thought to water quality in Shell or adjacent lakes. However, since the subject has been brought up, do any of you have informed opinions about which of these lakes might have the best water quality for walleyes?
- asking for my son, who likes to fish ;)
Saberboys
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02/25/2021 11:25AM  
We used to add an MSR Sweetwater carbon filter after the Sawyer water filter on our homemade gravity filter system. I think that it helped improve the taste of the water. Unfortunately I think that the Sweetwater has been discontinued as I haven't been able to find them anymore.
02/25/2021 12:08PM  
I'll use MiO to add to the water. They make some with Caffeine too, which I like for those mornings where you want to break camp and get on the water ASAP.
chessie
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02/25/2021 12:37PM  


This is the water from lower Pauness last July. I can't say it tasted bad, but as you can see, not too clear. Only going to guess Shell is better.
02/26/2021 02:12PM  
Pilgrimpaddler: "Thanks for all the input! I won't give any more thought to water quality in Shell or adjacent lakes. However, since the subject has been brought up, do any of you have informed opinions about which of these lakes might have the best water quality for walleyes?
- asking for my son, who likes to fish ;)"


Lynx, Shell, Heritage are all good walleye lakes.
OMGitsKa
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02/26/2021 07:52PM  


Plenty of eyes out on Shell.
Pilgrimpaddler
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02/26/2021 10:08PM  
egknuti: "Pilgrimpaddler: "Thanks for all the input! I won't give any more thought to water quality in Shell or adjacent lakes. However, since the subject has been brought up, do any of you have informed opinions about which of these lakes might have the best water quality for walleyes?
- asking for my son, who likes to fish ;)"



Lynx, Shell, Heritage are all good walleye lakes. "

Thank you! Permit is booked for a May 22 entry. Can’t wait to try out my new Superior hammock (my sons get to stay in the Lean2+). I hope the black flies hold off until we come out!
schweady
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02/27/2021 09:44AM  
chessie: "


This is the water from lower Pauness last July. I can't say it tasted bad, but as you can see, not too clear. Only going to guess Shell is better. "

Oh, great... Now I need to create a new Photo Album here: 'Water Bags From Various Lakes.' :-)
adam
Moderator
 
02/28/2021 06:25PM  
chessie: "


This is the water from lower Pauness last July. I can't say it tasted bad, but as you can see, not too clear. Only going to guess Shell is better. "


Shell has a lot of algae. Bring a backup filter.
03/01/2021 08:14AM  
Pilgrimpaddler: "Thank you! Permit is booked for a May 22 entry. Can’t wait to try out my new Superior hammock (my sons get to stay in the Lean2+). I hope the black flies hold off until we come out!"

Awesome! Don't know how long you will be there but I will be heading through on my way to Lynx on May 25th.
tumblehome
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03/01/2021 10:23AM  
Interesting discussion.
I’ve never compared water clarity to water quality. Not the same.

Except for ponds and a few notoriously swampy lakes, every lake up there is drinkable.
I would avoid entry lakes with cabins. Think septic systems.
Tom

Pilgrimpaddler
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03/01/2021 10:54AM  
Cricket67: "Pilgrimpaddler: "Thank you! Permit is booked for a May 22 entry. Can’t wait to try out my new Superior hammock (my sons get to stay in the Lean2+). I hope the black flies hold off until we come out!"


Awesome! Don't know how long you will be there but I will be heading through on my way to Lynx on May 25th. "

We're planning on heading in on the 22nd - probably base camping at Lynx. It will be interesting to see how busy it will be this year, but I don't expect to get much separation from the crowd by only going 1/2 a day in.
BAWaters
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03/11/2021 10:24AM  
Used a gravity filter there in 2017, and didn't notice any issues with the water.
 
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