BWCA July trip off Gunflint Trail Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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Scott Lightfoot
Guest Paddler
03/01/2021 11:10PM  
We are going up July 4 for five nights in the wilderness. Usually go to Quetico Falls Chain but the border will probably still be closed. We will take a tow from Voyagers Outfitters to get out there. Any suggestions on a base camp with great fishing and hopefully not crowded? I've been on twenty some trips to both parks, but would like your input. The group isn't afraid to paddle hard and portage.
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03/02/2021 12:28PM  
If you are going for Voyaguers and getting a tow, I'd suggest getting dropped off at American Point and the proceeding along the border to Ottertail and then down to Ester, Hanson, or South Arm Knife (SAK). To get away from the crowds maybe hop up into Cherry, Topaz, or Amoeber, but the better fishing will be on SAK (others can confirm or correct), so most days you will be taking a portage or two to get to the best fishing, although there are Lake trout in the smaller lakes if you want to work for them.

Overall, I think it is very difficult to find solitude and great fishing in one spot. If there is good fishing there will be people there. But basecamping on a neighboring lake could give you a bit of both.

Another option with Voyageurs would be to get towed to Red Rock and make your way to Ogishimuncie for basecamp (very doable in a day), although it can get busy. Again, perhaps find a smaller lake adjacent. I spent a couple nights on Spice Lake on a trip, we did not see anyone else while we were there.
03/03/2021 06:36PM  
Clearwater to Caribou Lake, beautiful lake with good fishing, or move on to the 5 star site on Little Caribou if you are feeling lucky(might have to backtrack or move on if occupied).
Day 2 head into Pine and check out Johnson falls, short trail from the western end of Pine and one of the prettiest spots in the BWCA. Two sets of falls, make sure to check them both out. Great swimming hole at the base of the first falls. Camp on Pine. This is a big/long lake with good fishing and several campsites but big enough that you never feel crowded.
Day 3 head over to John Lake, 3 campsites all good, good fishing, nice daytrip up the Royal River.
Day 4 head over to East or West Pike Lake, for scenery and fishing. lake trout, smallies and reported muskie in there.
Day 5 move back to Clearwater and grab a site on the eastern end of Clearwater, beautiful lake, good smallie and Lake Trout fishing, some sites have a view of the Palisades which are beautiful. Head out from there.
Not a super challenging trip, few but longer portages, good lakes and fishing, lots of time to just soak up the wilderness.
No tow needed.

Could also be done just as easily starting at Little John Lake, #_ 69 John Lake. At the end of the arrowhead trail, a little further north and a little more remote.
03/04/2021 06:21AM  
Sorry, didn't see the basecamp part. NVM
03/04/2021 07:12AM  
july 4th and not crowded , not going to happen but cricket67 has some good suggestions ;)
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