BWCA Lake One or Two base camping with kids Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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hypotomooseman
member (6)member
 
06/01/2021 07:56AM  
My wife and two kids (6 & 3) will be starting our 3-night trip from EP 30 on June 23. We have low expectations of how far we will go and will aim to set up a base camp on Lake 1 or Lake 2 and spend all three nights there. The kids are super excited and can't wait for the trip. I would appreciate any advice folks can give on the following topics:

1. How easy or difficult will it be to find a campsite on Lake 1 or 2 given that we are leaving mid-week?
2. Are there any recommended campsites we should target?
3. Any suggestions on picking a campsite that will have lower amount of bugs?
4. Any fishing lure suggestions? I'm not much of a fisherman, but we will bring a pole + poles for the kids and they enjoy fishing.

Thanks in advance!

Mike
 
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06/01/2021 08:52AM  
Others can/will provide more specific advice, but in general, expect it to be very busy. Be looking for a campsite in the middle of the day and take what you can find. If you wait until mid-to-late afternoon, you could be flirting with trouble.
06/01/2021 10:47AM  
1. How easy or difficult will it be to find a campsite on Lake 1 or 2 given that we are leaving mid-week? It'll be better than Thursday or Friday but I would still be on the lake looking as soon as you can.

2. Are there any recommended campsites we should target? Are you aware of the maps on this site? If you go there you can look at reviews and sometimes pictures of what the sites are like. I normally find a side that has the best ones and head that direction taking any of the ones I researched as good.

3. Any suggestions on picking a campsite that will have lower amount of bugs? For bugs, normally something that is open to the wind will help. So something like a point or out in the open. The flip side is you will see more canoes but if you go to a tucked away bay you might find the bugs thicker.

4. Any fishing lure suggestions? I'm not much of a fisherman, but we will bring a pole + poles for the kids and they enjoy fishing. At that age for kids I like to jig a lot. So jigs and leeches would be best. Also you can throw a floating rapala behind. I say floating cause if you need to help the kids you don't have to worry about the lure sinking and snagging. Plus they work quite well. Something like this one is what I prefer.
hypotomooseman
member (6)member
 
06/01/2021 11:57AM  
Thanks for the input - yes we have reviewed the campsites on the map and made some notes about which ones to avoid which ones look decent. Just soliciting any additional advice if anyone has them. Good suggestion of picking a side to follow so we're not zig zagging across the lake.

Sounds like we should be plan for as early as of a start as we can manage and find a campsite by lunchtime, good to know.

Thanks for the input!

salukiguy
distinguished member(560)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/01/2021 12:43PM  
I went to Lake 1 last year about that time. We toured around Lake One and the only open site was the first one on the lake. All the canoe traffic goes past that one but for some reason we just didn't see a lot of canoe traffic. We caught some nice bluegills on worms and a bobber in some lily pads in the evening. Just in the evening, they were not there at any other time of the day. It seems most sites on Lake 1 were occupied with base campers.
CityFisher74
distinguished member(524)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/01/2021 03:00PM  
Get to the entry point as early as your family will possibly allow. If you want to camp on Lake One I don't think you'll have any issues if you are out on the water looking by 10am or so. If you have to go to Lake Two you should definitely be able to find a site.
Jakthund
member (42)member
 
06/01/2021 03:34PM  
I started bringing my kids up there at that age. Here's a couple of things I learned:

- Some here will disagree, but bring a screen tent. They pack easily in a bag that can be carried with a freee hand. The mossies will likely be bad and it's really nice to have a place to escape other than the tent. It's a great place to play games, read or draw. I was originally against this, but my wife insisted and it was a very good idea.

- Kids that age don't care if you are on Lake One or a 12 hour paddle in, I think they actually like waving to other groups as they pass by.

Not sure of your experience, but Lake One has some nice campsites and was mostly untouched by the Pagami fire. If your on early you should be able to find a site. If not, move on to Lake 2.

We stayed at the compsite just south of the waterfalls one year when I had a broken collarbone. Nice big site, with only drawback being next to the portage. Only had a couple groups cut through over 5 days. Wasn't huge issue.

From a fishing standpoint, lots of opinions in the fishing forum. For kids that age simple bobber fishing is what I found easiest. I've caught many walleye from camp on a bobber with a leech.

Keep it simple, keep them busy, and have a cocktail ready for the end of the day. They are so much fun at that age.
06/01/2021 07:04PM  
I second jakthund. A screen tent is also what I do and my kids just turned 3 and 6. If you aren't portaging then weight isn't an issue. They are like 20 dollars at Walmart.
gopher2307
distinguished member (189)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/01/2021 07:15PM  
Did the same trip a month later in 2020. Same kid ages. But wife was also 6 months pregnant. Entered midday thursday. All sites on lakes one and two were full. Paddled on to lake 3 and there were a handful of sites.

Lake 3 is a manageable destination in 2 hours or so. We all packed into one Wenonah boundary waters. I triple portaged and wife just managed the kids. As for fishing, trolling Rapalas in lake 3 will assuredly yield pike any time of day. Jigging for walleyes for 3 hours with kids that age is a no go, and its not like you can make them get out at the fishing prime times of day. Try to slip bob from shore too for when in camp at night and kids are sleeping in the late evening hours.

Research the sand beaches on lake 3. There was one on the west shore that was real shallow for a ways out. Real good spot for a fam swimming.

I would aim for lake 3 if I were you. Good luck.
JDM2
Guest Paddler
 
06/01/2021 07:56PM  
x2jmorris: "I second jakthund. A screen tent is also what I do and my kids just turned 3 and 6. If you aren't portaging then weight isn't an issue. They are like 20 dollars at Walmart. "

+3 - Free standing screen tent.
cyclones30
distinguished member(3899)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/01/2021 08:57PM  
As for the fishing....since you're not really portaging at all....take some leeches or nightcrawlers. Under a slip bobber you can catch anything either from the canoe or from shore as long as it's not super shallow.

If you want to toss lures or troll....any crankbaits that dive a bit will do. Take a buzz bait or whopper plopper if you want some sunrise/sunset topwater bass/pike action.
SunrisePaddler
member (39)member
 
06/02/2021 01:36AM  
gopher2307: "Did the same trip a month later in 2020. Same kid ages. But wife was also 6 months pregnant. Entered midday thursday. All sites on lakes one and two were full. Paddled on to lake 3 and there were a handful of sites.


Lake 3 is a manageable destination in 2 hours or so. We all packed into one Wenonah boundary waters. I triple portaged and wife just managed the kids. As for fishing, trolling Rapalas in lake 3 will assuredly yield pike any time of day. Jigging for walleyes for 3 hours with kids that age is a no go, and its not like you can make them get out at the fishing prime times of day. Try to slip bob from shore too for when in camp at night and kids are sleeping in the late evening hours.


Research the sand beaches on lake 3. There was one on the west shore that was real shallow for a ways out. Real good spot for a fam swimming.


I would aim for lake 3 if I were you. Good luck."


+1
Our family of four stayed on Lake Three for a 2-nighter in 2019 when our two kids were nine. We got the island site (marked as a campsite on McKenzie maps but for some reason only marked with a green dot as a "place of interest" on this site's map). Site worked great for us. Large south facing rock peninsula was a fun, shallow "play area" for the kids (with life vests), and a nice breezy point for camp stove cooking when bugs were bad among the trees. We enjoyed a hammock with bug net there. Would definitely have enjoyed a bug shelter as some have suggested here.
06/02/2021 02:11PM  
Several years back when our kids were in elementary school, we stayed at campsite 1676. It wasn't our first choice but it's a nice little site in a sheltered cove. Smallmouth fishing right off the campsite is not bad. There is a rock wall at the back of the site for protection. It was easy to reach and made for a nice base camp for our first true bwca camping experience. One could do worse.
Grandma L
distinguished member(5498)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/06/2021 12:49PM  
We often base camp on the Number Lakes. It seems that sites "turn over" at about 10:00 am so be there early, (8:00) chat with the occupying campers and see if they are leaving. Then very politely ask if you can put up a tent or tarp or leave stuff to "reserve" it behind them. Next, go away for a short paddle so you don't pressure them to leave and be handy to move in when it is your turn!
hypotomooseman
member (6)member
 
06/07/2021 05:24AM  
Thank you all for the great advice! I've got a bug shelter ready to go, picking up some extra fishing items and we're going to be attempting to be on the water as early as possible! Looking forward to a great trip!
lindylair
distinguished member(2673)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2021 06:02AM  
HighnDry: "Several years back when our kids were in elementary school, we stayed at campsite 1676. It wasn't our first choice but it's a nice little site in a sheltered cove. Smallmouth fishing right off the campsite is not bad. There is a rock wall at the back of the site for protection. It was easy to reach and made for a nice base camp for our first true bwca camping experience. One could do worse."

I too was thinking of this site for your group. Very easy access and a nice open area for the kids to roam. Loading/unloading the canoe doesn't get any easier. There's a large island straight to the west you can paddle to at dusk for sunset viewing, then a nice short 5-10 mnute paddle back to camp to enjoy the campfire. Might work well for you.







Partial view of the site







Another view of the site







Lake view from the site







There was a down tree at the back of the site for convenient food hanging







Partial view of your private little cove
 
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