BWCA Winter Camping Trip to West Pike, Mountain and Clearwater Boundary Waters Winter Camping and Activities
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ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/19/2021 09:05AM  
I will say it once again, loud and clear so everyone can hear me: MARCH IS THE BEST TIME TO PLAN A TRIP INTO THE BOUNDARY WATERS!!

My friend Eric and I headed up the Gunflint with a Snowtrekker hot tent to close out the Lake Trout season in March 2020. We had great travel conditions, good fishing and of course, had the area all to ourselves. Enjoy!



Winter Camping Trip to West Pike, Clearwater and Mountain Lakes
 
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Laker_Taker
Guest Paddler
 
12/19/2021 05:05PM  
I love what you’re doing. However, telling people what lake you are fishing all the time is bad form. You’ve publicly exposed a few lake trout gems in your videos. Let people do the work and find the lakes on their own.
ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/20/2021 07:52AM  
Laker_Taker: "I love what you’re doing. However, telling people what lake you are fishing all the time is bad form. You’ve publicly exposed a few lake trout gems in your videos. Let people do the work and find the lakes on their own."

Thanks for watching, I am glad you enjoy the content.

I really don't understand this argument, and it is one I obviously hear quite frequently from some of my viewers. Generally, the comments are not as respectful as yours (downright hateful, generally), so I appreciate the constructive feedback and appreciate the opportunity to respond.

A couple of ways we can look at it:
1.) This is all public information (DNR Lake Survey Reports and Stocking Data) that we all have access to AND have paid for through our tax dollars, fishing licenses and of course, trout stamps. Why am I the bad guy for sharing that information?

2.) People should do the work to find the lakes on their own. What about outfitters, guides, bait shops, locals with fishing knowledge, etc.? They give out MUCH more detailed information about good fishing lakes, good fishing spots, best campsites, the baits and depths to target, etc. Are only those willing and able to pay for the information worthy of it? If not, are you then equally as frustrated with the guide taking every one of their clients to the same fishing spot to catch their limit of walleyes every other day? Do you voice your opposition to those operations, too?

3.) This is a forum dedicated to sharing any and all information on the BW. It is a place where seasoned veterans can sharpen their skills and day 1 beginners can seek the advice needed to ensure they have a better experience in the BW. Every day people share fishing spots, campsite reviews, bait/tackle suggestions, must-see landmarks, canoe/kayak reviews, etc., Why are these videos any different?

4.) These videos will result in too much fishing pressure. This is perhaps the only argument that really resonates with me at all, which is why I have chosen not to share some of the names of the lakes I visit (like Stocked Stream Trout Lakes and lakes that are relatively easy to access-within a couple hour paddle of an entry point), and never discuss fishing "spots" on those lakes. Also, as I am still new to exploring the BW, I almost always visit new lakes on each trip, and subsequently each video I put out. Of all of the videos I have released (somewhere around 30 now), I have only revisited the same lake twice. I feel this proves that good fishing can be found in every corner of the boundary waters, anyone who thinks you have to find the perfect spot on the perfect lake to catch crazy amounts of fish, doesn't understand BW fishing.
The lake names I have shared/made videos about are all difficult to access and I would argue (thanks to the permit and quota system) nearly impossible to over-pressure. Forest Service Permits limiting access, DNR possession limits and difficulty of access should prevent any of these lakes from ever being over-pressured, so I really can't get on board with the argument that my videos are going to cause any undo harm to the BWCA fish population.

Generally, I don't much engage in these types of discussions. I made up my mind a long time ago that my conscience is clear and the work I am doing making these videos is going to end up in a net positive for the BWCA. The intent of my videos is to educate - to teach people how to be successful fishing in the BWCA. The more people finding success on their trips means more satisfied BWCA travelers. The more people who enjoy the wilderness, the more they will cherish the memories and they will be more likely to fight to protect this area (not to mention treat it with respect when they visit).

In the end, if my videos are inspiring people to get out and try new lakes, new fishing techniques, take new adventures, then we are all better for it.

I really do value the constructive criticism from my viewers and appreciate these conversations. I would love to hear what you all think about this issue because my opinion is only one viewpoint...

Thanks again for watching!
SurlyDude
senior member (66)senior membersenior member
 
12/20/2021 03:50PM  
Agreed Eric. I think you hit it on the head with your reasons. I think especially in the BW you are looking at quotas and all the other barriers (campsites availability, effort required which is doubled or more in winter, general distance most people live from BW in the first place) that limit the usage and the potential for being over-pressured.

I think one thing you didn't mention, you are great steward for conservation. You have often talked fish health, handling and releasing bigger fish. Your bigger trout on this video was a prime example - you talked about how it was too big for the two of you to eat.

Thanks for the videos.
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(5116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/21/2021 06:18PM  
Well said Eric!
Minnesotian
distinguished member(2157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/21/2021 10:39PM  

Hear! Hear! I agree with ya, Eric.
briar
member (26)member
 
12/22/2021 04:52PM  
Eric, I don't agree with your reasoning. About 15 to 20 years ago when a lot of information about spots and lakes was given out on websites a very good lake trout lake was ruined. It took time but today it's not even worth fishing. I also know of hard to reach crappie lakes that have also seen over fishing because of the same thing. The people that were giving out the information used the same arguments that you use. In the end they were wrong! It also happened a lot on hunting websites in the same time frame. They also learned the hard way. Teach people how to hunt and fish but don't give them locations or lake names.
ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/23/2021 02:37PM  
briar: "Eric, I don't agree with your reasoning. About 15 to 20 years ago when a lot of information about spots and lakes was given out on websites a very good lake trout lake was ruined. It took time but today it's not even worth fishing. I also know of hard to reach crappie lakes that have also seen over fishing because of the same thing. The people that were giving out the information used the same arguments that you use. In the end they were wrong! It also happened a lot on hunting websites in the same time frame. They also learned the hard way. Teach people how to hunt and fish but don't give them locations or lake names."

Thanks for the feedback, Briar. It is hard to respond to your argument about the ruined Lake Trout and Crappie Lakes because I am not sure which ones you are referring to. People often say that about Trout Lake on the Ely side, but I had a great season there last year and caught plenty of Trout. I am sure those fisheries are not truly ruined, just on a down-swing due to one of many dozens of factors that affect fish populations.

It is clear however that the increasing amount of information in our digital age aren't going anywhere, so I feel it is important to share information in a responsible way that won't negatively impact the fishery. Simply telling someone what lake I am fishing on or showing video/pictures from a trip doesn't give any information that someone couldn't find using the DNR Lakefinder website - unless they can recognize the exact shoreline I am fishing, and if that is the case, then they already know the lake better than I do and don't need my advice. And as I said above, I never share spots, only lake names and I am easily up to 10-12 lakes I have shared information for, in an effort to spread out any additional pressure that these videos might cause. My hope is to explore and fish as many bwca lakes as possible so maybe some day I will have a video from every single lake and no one can make the argument I am ruining anything...

Also, it's nearly impossible to "ruin" a boundary waters lake fish population due to quotas and DNR possession limits. Ruined fisheries are almost always caused by poaching or illegal over-fishing or hunting or some external environmental factor like invasive species, winter kill, pollution, etc. As you can tell by my videos, I almost never keep anywhere near my limit of fish (except Lake Trout on occasion), and I never keep the large breeding females as I know they are key to maintaining a healthy fish population. I also preach that to all of my viewers...conservation first.

I will give Basswood Lake as an example. I would venture to say there is no lake in the Boundary Waters that receives as much attention, fishing pressure, shared "secret spots," or outfitting and guiding attention, yet it remains a healthy fishery year after year. Almost everyone up here knows those "secret spots" and has been fishing them for years without a noticeable impact. Like I said above, if you're mad at me for sharing this info, you must certainly be pissed at the local fishing guides and outfitters who bring hundreds of people every season to the same exact spots that have been producing for years...(For the record, I am not encouraging anyone to be mad at guides/outfitters. They work their butts off and are great for introducing newbies to fishing, increasing the popularity of the sport and boosting the local economy)

Last thing I will say: Fishing obviously evokes a lot of emotion in people, whether good or bad, it is important to realize most of these criticisms are emotional responses, not ones based in logic. I think it is unfair to demonize those of us who are open with our information. There are plenty of people out there who share campsite reviews, portage information, route advice, gear reviews, tips and tricks for canoe camping, etc., and they are almost never demonized for revealing secrets...

briar
member (26)member
 
12/24/2021 11:43AM  
Eric, I am not talking about Trout Lake on the Ely side. The lake I’m talking about and lake trout lakes in general are not very productive and can’t handle a lot of pressure. What we saw was a steady decline in fish quality as well as quantity due to fishing pressure. The increase fishing pressure was due to information from fishing forums.

As far as crappie lakes go, fishing pressure can have a large impact on the population in general and more specifically on certain age classes, normally the larger fish/older age class. What I have seen with the increase and improvement in electronics, mobility and information on the web about some of these smaller lakes that are hard to get to was also a decrease in fish quality and quantity. It’s interesting that for a while there was lots of information about specific lakes on forums when they first started but you don’t see much anymore except for information on the larger lakes. People figured out the damage that could be done in a short time if the word got out.

Yes, the DNR website is a good resource when researching lakes but that is a large data base and a person needs to spend time looking and understanding what the numbers mean. Plus, in the BWCAW a lot of the small lakes the data is old. But with two pieces of information, a video and lake name it is pretty easy to figure out where the person is fishing on smaller to medium size lakes. I have done this in the past and I have looked at your videos and knew right where you were fishing. One of the videos I looked at I had never been on the lake but a friend had and confirmed I was right on the spot. The other effect you can have with giving out lake names in the BWCAW is putting more pressure on the camp sites by people targeting the lake for fish. Interestingly you mentioned that the videos could have an impact on lakes so your hope is to make a video of every BWCAW lake to spread out any additional pressure.

It is also interesting that you picked Basswood as an example. You pick a very large fertile lake that does get its fair amount of fisherman every year. But if you look at the amount of fish habitat, reproduction rates and overall lake size and health it can take more pressure then it gets unlike many of the small to midsize lake.

In closing I find it interesting that you suggest that my insight, knowledge and experiences are based on emotions and dismiss them because you believe they are not based in logic.

As to your final point I do have a problem with campsite reviews and rankings especially in the Quetico, I have seen some beautifully sites destroyed from over use after being mention in the Boundary Waters Journal.

So, in closing I ask you why is it so important to disclose lake names? What does it add to the quality of your videos which I believe are very well done and tasteful?
ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/24/2021 02:18PM  
briar: "So, in closing I ask you why is it so important to disclose lake names? What does it add to the quality of your videos which I believe are very well done and tasteful?
"


I don't want to start a tit-for-tat on here so I won't directly respond to the other questions, as I am guessing we will never see eye to eye on this. I will respond to the above, however.

I share lake names so beginners to the sport know that quality fish can be caught absolutely anywhere in the BWCA. You don't need to have a secret spot on a secret lake to be productive. What I am teaching is technique an observations of factual information to make people better at fishing on any body of water. There are so many youtube channels out there that share absolutely no information about the body of water they are fishing...how does that teach people how to catch fish? If some dude has a secret reef on a monster lake trout lake on an un-pressured lake up in NW Ontario and continues to catch fish after fish without sharing any info, what good does that do anyone?

When I first started learning the area, very few people, if any, would share information with me - even the bait shops in the area that would directly benefit from me catching more fish. I felt it was an unwelcoming atmosphere to say the least. To have a culture that discourages newbies getting into the sport is shortsighted and selfish, in my opinion.

The above comment about emotion was not necessarily directed at you. I have received a few truly hateful comments that were completely based in emotion, so I am just asking people to put themselves in my shoes before they attack a stranger who is only trying to help others enjoy the sport. Generally, it comes down to opinion; I do not feel I am hurting the fisheries I share info about, some people do. But, if I am fishing legally and sharing this information legally, then why attack me?

In regards to your comments (re: emotion vs facts), how do you know the forums/videos/information was what "ruined the fishery?" Are you sure it wasn't one of a million other factors that affect the health of a lake? To place the blame solely on the information shared on forums/websites seems problematic.

I agree with you that the availability of information, development of technology and overall access has made fishing easier/more accessible and put more pressure on lakes. That is inevitable...we are dealing with natural resources here. The more people in this world, the fewer resources there are to share...I think advocating for reduced limits, reduced quotas or increased enforcement and funding for protection would be a better use of our time than placing blame on a small group of people sharing information about these wonderful places.
briar
member (26)member
 
12/24/2021 07:10PM  
Eric,
I am sure because I also talked with the MN DNR fishery personal and they said the same thing. I also retired from a career in Natural Resources and Research so I have a basic understanding of what I talked about.

Teaching people techniques help them catch fish on many different lakes. As you learn different techniques for different bodies of water, small dark water lakes, mid size clear lakes, trout lakes, walleye lakes etc. at different times of the season. Then pass this information on you are helping people catch fish and building their confidence. Giving lake names does not help them learn how to fish but it can put added pressure on the lakes you name. A good example is a person asking how to fish a given lake or watching a video of someone fishing said lake. Then the person fishes the lake under different conditions then when the person giving the information fished the lake. The person would be lost for what to do. But if you tell them on this size body of water with this water clarity this technique works under these conditions and if you have these conditions then this works you are teaching them how to fish and your giving them more tools for their tool box.

So again I see no upside to giving lake names and I have seen the downside.
ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/26/2021 08:45AM  
Thanks again for all of your feedback. I can't say I agree with you on everything, but I will certainly take into consideration what you said-your responses were well thought out and didn't fall on deaf ears. I will be more careful with lake names in the future, only listing the smaller to medium sized lakes when they are part of a route and necessary to mention for context. Here's part 2 of our ice fishing/winter camping trip.



Winter Camping and Ice Fishing for Lake Trout Part 2
briar
member (26)member
 
12/26/2021 12:16PM  
Eric,
Thanks for listening. March is a great time to be in the BWCAW and the Quetico chasing lake trout. I hope you have many great trips in the future.
Briar
01/01/2022 07:15AM  
This is in response to giving out lake names.
I personally don't think it makes that much difference whether you give out a lake name or not. Anyone that is serious about catching fish in the bdub will have done the research to know what lakes to fish, where the fish are, and how to catch them. Everyone else out there might find the spot or might not. If they do, they might get lucky catch a few fish for a meal and be on their way.
It is far more important that people be educated about harvesting fish and how to handle the fish to minimize stress on them, and that the fish are not an infinite resource. Also stress how the long cold winters and the low fertility of the lakes there effect fish populations and growth.
That being said the fish slobs are out there and no amount of law enforcement, education, and shaming is going to matter. The best we can do is support our DNR and report the incidences when you see them. However I think fish slobs by nature are a lazy bunch, so lakes in the national forest accessible by a vehicle are a different story. Also there is not as much information available to the public outside of the locals.
Finnboy
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
01/01/2022 10:28AM  
Giving away too much information about lakes will catch up sooner or later. Thanks to the internet sharing info spreads exponentially. This is beyond the good old days of coffee talk at the local bait shop.
H0wdy
Guest Paddler
 
01/01/2022 12:03PM  
Matt Rinella has become very outspoken about social media/message boards and the negative effect they have had on hunting. This quote of his applies very nicely to fishing as well.

“KEEP ON HUNTING, BUT POST NOTHING IN 2022. THIS WILL PROVE YOU’VE MOVED PAST THE ATTENTION-SEEKING TODDLER STAGE IN YOUR DEVELOPMENT AS A HUNTER AND NOW GO AFIELD FOR MATURE REASONS.”
Gadfly
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/03/2022 11:50AM  
I am very curious as to why this thread is being pounded so much for giving out lake names. People have suggested these lakes in hundreds of different threads and trip reports on this forum and I never see them get ripped for it. Is it because of the video?
I really don't believe any of the lakes listed here are any kind of secret. I also don't think people understand the effort it takes to get to some of these lakes in the winter.
Interesting no one had an issue with this thread. Many many more out there offering the similar information.
Trout Lakes
ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/06/2022 02:34PM  
Gadfly: "I am very curious as to why this thread is being pounded so much for giving out lake names. People have suggested these lakes in hundreds of different threads and trip reports on this forum and I never see them get ripped for it. Is it because of the video?
I really don't believe any of the lakes listed here are any kind of secret. I also don't think people understand the effort it takes to get to some of these lakes in the winter.
Interesting no one had an issue with this thread. Many many more out there offering the similar information.
Trout Lakes "


Does feel like a double-standard to me, for sure. That is why I encourage people to consider whether their responses/criticisms are based in facts, or in emotions. I've witnessed many threads on here talking about EXACT locations to fish on specific lakes and they are almost never criticized for sharing that level of info.

In the end it doesn't bother me and my conscience is clear. I will just keep preaching conservation and respect for fish and I am sure there will be a net positive result from people watching these videos and learning from my experience. :)
Minnesotian
distinguished member(2157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/06/2022 06:46PM  
Gadfly: " People have suggested these lakes in hundreds of different threads and trip reports on this forum and I never see them get ripped for it.
"


Couldn't agree more, Gadfly. In fact, digging into the map on BWCA.com, every spot that is yellow is a spot marked by a member of BWCA.com as a fishing point on this map:
BWCA.com map of the end of the Gunflint, showing fishing spots=


CryptoKlerval
 
01/07/2022 10:13PM  
Very much appreciate this discussion. Certainly don't see this type of civility between two people with different POVs in my neck of the woods.

Thank you, Eric, for the incredible videos . My buddy and I are taking our first winter trip this March. For the record, we won't be going to the lakes mentioned in your video, as we decided to go to Daniels Lake after reading about it being a good lake for Trout fishing in the winter. Lastly, as the digital age continues to eat away at the interest in these type of outdoor sports, I hope more younger people stumble upon your videos and are compelled to leave their virtual worlds for a few days. They really got me excited for my upcoming trip.

Cheers,
Klerval.eth
LT67
Guest Paddler
 
02/06/2022 08:38PM  
Eric,
I really enjoy watching your fishing videos and even scour this site looking for them. I am retired from winter camping and your videos provide excellent entertainment for many people! You are a respectful fisherman and a very good videographer. Also a great dog daddy! Keep on fishing. You are a good example for many. I would really enjoy fishing with you! Marc from Red Wing,mn
ericinely
distinguished member (283)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/24/2022 10:38AM  
LT67: "Eric,
I really enjoy watching your fishing videos and even scour this site looking for them. I am retired from winter camping and your videos provide excellent entertainment for many people! You are a respectful fisherman and a very good videographer. Also a great dog daddy! Keep on fishing. You are a good example for many. I would really enjoy fishing with you! Marc from Red Wing,mn"


Thanks, Marc, for the kind words! If you create a youtube account (easy, all you need to set up is an email), you can subscribe to my channel and receive alerts when I post new videos...That should save you a ton of time searching for them!
 
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