BWCA Solo #44 Ram to Bower Trout Lake advice... Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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member (17)member
01/27/2022 11:22AM  
After watching permits tick down at an alarming rate I changed up my plans...

It's been years since I've done #44 and the miserable Misquah portage but I think that's what it's going to take to get some solitude.

I'm going early September for 9 days.. Going to go through Vista, Winchell, the Cone chain and then out through the South Brule river to Bower...

How busy does Winchell get? Is that considered a destination lake for people?

How tough is the fishing on these deep clear lakes during shoulder season?

Besides the Winchell cliffs, what are other must see places along this route.

I'm actually happy to sacrifice good fishing if it means a quieter trip in general.

The last 3yrs going out of Mudro, Angleworm and Nina Moose has left me looking for a little different style trip.. Especially after watching the permit frenzy yesterday.

Thank you in advance for the help...
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01/27/2022 03:40PM  
It's been a few years, but we camped on Gaskin, went to Winchell and there were sites open. Probably a little quieter mid-week than weekend if you can plan it that way.
distinguished member (143)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/27/2022 04:57PM  
The island in the SE corner of Vista is a great place to climb to the top as see the whole lake. We stopped their for lunch a few years ago.

I really liked camping on Omega to the North of Winchell. We caught a bunch of pike and a couple nice smallmouth. The portage between Omega and Phalanx is really cool - lots of ferns and very overgrown. We just walked it, we didn't carry the canoe.

member (15)member
01/27/2022 04:59PM  
I have not been through Ram and the lakes nearest it. But did a similar trip backwards from Bower Trout through Brule, The Cones, Winchell and out at poplar a few years back and out at poplar. I can tell you that the stretch from Vern Lake to Bower trout is awesome! Very quite, good chance for wildlife. We Didn't see a sole in August until we got to Brule. (this was pre-pandemic though) Can't speak to the fishing in the fall but I know it is decent for Walleye/ Pike/ SMB that whole stretch as I did a solo fishing trip in July in that area another time. For site seeing, there is a campsite on the north side of Vern next to the portage to Brule. If you are able, follow the trail behind it for a very rugged/ remote waterfall. You'll hear it from the campsite and you wont be disappointed. Swan lake is also gorgeous. I've heard Winchell can get busy but it was not on our trip. (again pre-pandemic).

Enjoy the trip! Sounds like a good one!
01/27/2022 05:14PM  
Good luck LS, we did the Misquah portage once about 40 years ago and I vowed never to do it again. That area between Brule and Bower Trout intrigues me though, looks like solitude and decent fishing. I think you have got yourself a challenging and likely rewarding trip planned.

You may have been to Vista before but it is one of my fav BWCA lakes. Might be worth a night or more, especially if you get the southern campsite and like walleye fishing.

Gaskin and Winchell might be the two busiest lakes you go through but most of the route should be quiet. Winchell is a big lake so if you are heading east to west be wary of the wind. It is perhaps the only BWCA lake I have ever been on that I have been skunked for fishing, we called it the Dead Sea. Please prove me wrong:)

Have a great trip.
distinguished member(1957)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/27/2022 06:55PM  
I did Bower Trout to Ram. Trip report: First solo: Bower Trout to Ram

The west end of Winchell tends to fill up faster due to people coming up from Brule. Brule can get very full so I am glad I didn't stay there. On Vernon, the campsite closest to the portage into Brule has a path that goes back to a pretty little waterfall.

The route through Davis and the Cone Lakes is not well traveled compared to most areas around there.

Have a great trip!
member (17)member
01/28/2022 04:10AM  
I'm intrigued by he cliffs on Winchell for a day of exploring and views. Maybe even some time lapse photography from the top. So at the price of sharing the lake and bad fishing I'll consider it worth it... ....I think...

I'm still a little jaded from what I experienced the last 3yrs..
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