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04/19/2021 06:30PM  
We are putting the final touches on our gear for our May 10th trip. I know that this probably has been asked a million times before but I'll ask again (don't kill me) When does the bug season usually start in the BWCA? I know it's dependent on weather (outdoor ambient and water temps) but since there are a lot of BWCA Vets on this forum I thought I'd ask. We're doing a 10 day out of Sawbill starting the 10th of May. I'll bring my Eureka no-bug zone shelter to eat in if necessary.

BTW - My hatred for flying insects came about after coming back from Iraq and other places. Sitting in a latrine with 20 other guys and being attacked by a million biting insects has caused me to chase any flying insect in my home around until I locate and destroy it :)
 
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04/19/2021 06:35PM  
danbogey: ""

Based on all your information, I'd say NO.

Especially that time of year.... pretty early for any bug!
04/19/2021 06:39PM  
Sorry - Somehow submitted before even typing
MikeinMpls
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04/19/2021 06:41PM  
If you run into any bugs, it will likely be the black fly hatch. May 10 is pretty early and yes, all depends on the weather. I think you can get away without it.

Mike
lindylair
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04/19/2021 06:44PM  
I bought a roughly 6 x 4 bug screen shelter a few years ago for a July trip, thinking we would need it. It has still not been used. We are going in Cross Bay Lake Sunday May 23rd and although we have tripped this week a few times before and never had an issue with bugs of any kind, I get the feeling that this year the bugs might be a significantly bigger issue.

Should I bring it again and possibly not use it or go with the possibility that it might it provide us a haven from onslaughts of skeeters and black flies at times? Shaping up to be a week or two early season wise, IMO. On the fence.
TuscaroraBorealis
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04/19/2021 07:44PM  
No
tarnkt
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04/19/2021 08:15PM  
It’s early but not impossible for things to be popping by the 20th.

You have to ask yourself whether carrying unnecessary weight or getting smoked by black flies would make you more annoyed.

Based on your passion on the topic I would bring it.
04/19/2021 08:19PM  
Plus 1
mgraber
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04/19/2021 08:51PM  
I say no, but bring a head net just in case the black flies start hatching. It is pretty early to have serious problems.
04/19/2021 09:06PM  
I have a bug tarp/net which is well traveled over the past 10 yrs, but never used. Only twice in the past 20-25 yrs have i felt having one would have been useful. As already mentioned I always carry a headnet.
04/20/2021 06:12AM  
In my experience if you’re second guessing yourself, bring it.
MidwestFirecraft
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04/20/2021 06:54AM  
May 18th 2020 the black flies were in full force. Luckily I had a head net, my partner did not... I will be bringing the CCS lean this spring.
04/20/2021 06:54AM  
I was in the BW the 3rd week of May last year. The black flies where terrible. I wore a headnet every minute at camp. I would say that was the worst insect issue I' had in my over 30 years of BW tripping.
EddyTurn
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04/20/2021 07:44AM  
By May 10 you'd know the current weather pattern. I won't base my decision on previous years - this is statistics and it doesn't matter when you are on the trail. In central Ontario (Temagami) the ice-out already happened and it was a month earlier than the last year. One can be sure that in 2021 black flies will arrive there in full force earlier than the ice was gone in 2020.
04/20/2021 08:10AM  
I guess questions like this educate me. I spent an hour last night reading the different types of hatches and what causes the hatch (water temp). There's a water monitoring station on the Kawishiwi River (NW of Lake One). From what I gather, water temps must be above 40 deg F.


Water Station

Northwoodsman
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04/20/2021 08:21AM  
It's better to bring it and not need it rather than not bring it and need it. It also depends on how much portaging your going to be doing. Once you get there ask the wonderful folks at Sawbill what the situation is like and make your decision on the spot.
04/20/2021 09:03AM  
Northwoodsman: "It's better to bring it and not need it rather than not bring it and need it. It also depends on how much portaging your going to be doing. Once you get there ask the wonderful folks at Sawbill what the situation is like and make your decision on the spot."

That's what we are planning on doing. 19 days and we'll be there. Driving up from Pittsburgh. We'll decide if we take Dan Cooke's big tarp (no netting) or the Eureka once we get into Sawbill. I've got enough room in the truck to throw in extra gear :)

Thanks!
MarshallPrime
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04/20/2021 09:11AM  
I have never needed 1 in 15 trips, usually mid june. Also, I take a bug net every year and I have put it ON twice in 15 trips, both times while cleaning fish. Took it off right after. They are not worth the space in my opinion.
Banksiana
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04/20/2021 09:22AM  
I took one on my last May Quetico trip as the black flies were occasionally brutal at my house prior to departure. Weather was cold wet and very windy for my trip- no bugs but I was glad for the bug shelter as a wind block during the days of high wind and rain. No-see-um netting breaks up the wind quite well.
BigCurrent
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04/20/2021 09:25AM  
If you really really hate bugs I would bring it. 10 days is a long trip and although it is unlikely the black flies will be out, it's possible. Better to bring it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

Think of it as 4.3 lbs of sanity insurance.
04/20/2021 09:31AM  
BigCurrent: "If you really really hate bugs I would bring it. 10 days is a long trip and although it is unlikely the black flies will be out, it's possible. Better to bring it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.


Think of it as 17 lbs of sanity insurance.


That being said, 17 lbs is pretty heavy. You could look into renting a NEMO Bugout shelter, it's 10 lbs lighter than your Eureka. "


I'd never carry a 17lb anything (except canoe) - I'm a gram counter. My Eureka is only 4.3 lbs
04/20/2021 09:41AM  
2 years ago we were on Clearwater in early June and the gnats, or black flies, were terrible. We were pretty miserable for a while there, but we still didn't break out our head nets. We aren't very good about setting up the tarp either. I can't imagine setting up a bug net and carrying that extra weight around. I'd just let some pine needles and leaves smoke in the fire pit and sit down wind. Cigars would certainly help too. A little smoke can go a long ways for bug repellant.

Sometimes if you are motivated enough and the wind is right, you can smoke out the whole campsite. Smother a fire with pine needles and leaves and only let in small amounts of air to let the fire smolder. Once the smoke starts pouring out we use seat cushions to move the smoke around. A few repeats and we can usually eat in peace.

If the campsite is that bad, just go fishing. A little trolling until sunset can get you away from the bugs for a while. Then after the sun fully sets, we tend to not have any issues with bugs.
Banksiana
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04/20/2021 10:22AM  
Wow, 17#. I missed that. Not a chance I would opt for that.
Savage Voyageur
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04/20/2021 11:51AM  
Too early for most bugs, you will be fine with just a headnet and some spray, probably won’t use them.
BigCurrent
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04/20/2021 12:40PM  
danbogey: "BigCurrent: "If you really really hate bugs I would bring it. 10 days is a long trip and although it is unlikely the black flies will be out, it's possible. Better to bring it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.



Think of it as 17 lbs of sanity insurance.



That being said, 17 lbs is pretty heavy. You could look into renting a NEMO Bugout shelter, it's 10 lbs lighter than your Eureka. "



I'd never carry a 17lb anything (except canoe) - I'm a gram counter. My Eureka is only 4.3 lbs
"


Nice, even better. 4.3 lbs of Sanity Insurance.
IronRangeMike
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04/20/2021 01:07PM  
NE MN black fly / gnat hatch happened May 16th - 17th last year, I went in on the 18th and lived in my head net for 7 days. I'm bringing in the same Eureka you have on the 16th this year.....

Bring it, my gut tells me the the flies will be out. All the other spring stuff is at least two weeks to a month early up here so far..... Why would the gnats be any different?
Northwoodsman
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04/20/2021 02:45PM  
I would opt going without a bug net before I opted going without my CCS Tarp! Heck I'd give up many things before my CCS Tarp.
04/20/2021 03:41PM  
Absolutely! There is nothing better then sitting in nice comfortable chairs free of mosquitos during bug season. Maybe my age has something to do with it, but I demand comfort on my trips, and will triple portage if that what it takes to bring gear that helps me be comfortable.
04/20/2021 05:48PM  
For all those thinking about when the black flies usually show up, keep in mind that this year is a very early ice out. Warm water means early hatches. I’m going on the 12th and would not think of going without my bug net. If I should not need it, I just count myself lucky and don’t fuss about the extra weight.
PineKnot
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04/20/2021 06:10PM  
Like some have posted, I will never trip without a tarp, and rarely without a bugnet....
04/20/2021 09:14PM  
Just saw this from Algonquin Outfitters. Funny :)

The Black Fly
PineKnot
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04/20/2021 10:16PM  
Not funny....funny as heck!!
04/21/2021 12:28AM  
danbogey: "Just saw this from Algonquin Outfitters. Funny :)


The Black Fly "


That hits a little too close to home. Lol
MasterBaiter
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04/23/2021 12:22PM  
Campsite 179 third week of may 2020 was the worst fly swarm I've ever seen. Had to wear a bug head net entire time at camp. I have a permit for EP 16 may 16 and my bug net is in my pack already.
 
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