BWCA Quetico route help. Beaverhouse entry in June Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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senior member (99)senior membersenior member
02/21/2022 11:52AM  
Looking for route advice. We are headed to Quetico the first week of June on a 10-day trip. We will be entering at Beaverhouse on Wednesday June 1, doing a loop, and exiting at Beaverhouse on Friday June 10. While we have been to Quetico several times, we are always a bit further South - Wicksteed, Brent, Earl, & Ted are a few of our favorite destinations and, regardless of the time of year, we rarely see another canoe once we've made it away from the general Crooked Lake area. We fish hard and target bass, mostly. Not interested in walleye except for an occasional dinner. I understand that Quetico, Jean, and Sturgeon are great fishing lakes and we plan to hit all 3 on our trip but, since solitude and adventure are a high priority for us, we want to make our way through some smaller lakes for sure. All that being said, here's what I need help with...

1) I can't get a feel for just how busy some of these big popular lakes are the first week in June. If we spend a few nights on Jean, for example, might we be searching for an available site? We opted for a BWCA trip last year and finding sites was a nightmare - NOTHING like our trips to Quetico, and the reason we will never go back.

2) I'd like some general information on which of the smaller lakes might have good smallmouth fishing. I don't expect anyone to divulge a honey hole...but maybe some "this lake is better than that" information - or..."that's really more of a walleye lake" would be very helpful.

3) My research indicates than a good number of the portages we are considering are described as "deep bogs" or "knee deep mud holes". We shy away from no portage in the pursuit of big bass and a lake to ourselves, but I really don't feel like hauling waders on this trip! One portage in particular is between non-name and Bentpine on the way from/to Burntside. How bad is it?

4) Here's our preliminary route. I'd love some thoughts and/or route suggestions that get us the solitude, adventure, and big bass we are looking for.

One more note...we are and experienced party of 4 that need not a single tent pad as we all hang (hammocks, that is).

DAY 1: Beaverhouse to East side of Quetico
DAY 2: Quetico to West side of Jean (short travel day, lots of time to fish Jean)
DAY 3: Jean to Your through Boulder
DAY 4: Hang on Your and daytrip into Wildgoose
DAY 5: Your to Bentpine via Snow, Little Pine, Trail, & March
DAY 6: Hang on Bentpine
DAY 7: Bentpine to Sturgeon via Bentpine Creek
DAY 8: Sturgeon to Burntside (or Little Jean)
DAY 9: Burntside (or Little Jean) to Quetico
DAY 10: Quetico to Beaverhouse

And... if the bigger lakes aren't as busy as I imagine, we'll nix the amount of time spent traveling to smaller lakes:
(I also kind of fear the route above is too much travel, not enough fishing)

DAY 1: Beaverhouse to East side of Quetico
DAY 2: Quetico to West side of Jean (or Burntside)
DAY 3: West side of Jean (or Burntside) to Bentpine (through Clair)
DAY 4: Hang on Bentpine
Day 5: Hang on Bentpine
DAY 6: Bentpine to Sturgeon via Bentpine Creek
DAY 7: Sturgeon to Burntside (or Little Jean)
DAY 8: Hang Burntside (or Little Jean)
DAY 9: Burntside (or Little Jean) to Quetico
DAY 10: Quetico to Beaverhouse

Thanks in advance for your help!
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02/21/2022 01:26PM  
Either one is a dandy trip. I've always wanted to go to the Bentpine area, but never have.

One option you might consider is combining the two and continuing through Your to Badwater and making your way back to Quetico Lake and Beaverhouse that way. You won't find any bass in Badwater, but you will find walleyes and northerns. You'll also have the Mile Portage between Badwater and West Bay to contend with, but most of your food will be gone by then so you'll be lighter. It's a bit rocky and rugged with some muddy stretches, but it also has plenty of "regular" trail that helps make it a doable portage. Plan on a 30 minute trip from end to end single portaging. About 60 minutes if you leap frog it. The middle point is the high hump between the two bogs.
distinguished member(7670)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/21/2022 05:20PM  
I like route 2. The only fish I ever catch is bass so you should be covered.

Also, you might want to check fire maps for last summer cuz I think Your Lake was involved.
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
02/22/2022 03:51PM  
Thank you so much for all the input. I have been concerned about the wind out of the West when paddling across Quetico Lake on our last day so I'm strongly leaning toward a loop that takes us out through the muddy Badwater Lake trek. Also, thanks to your thoughtful comments, I'm leaning toward a route that will allow for more hardcore fishing in lieu of travel. Sadly, that means giving up seeing mighty Sturgeon Lake and the much anticipated Badwater Creek - but...I shall not let FOMO cloud my vision! Here is the new preliminary route:

Day 1) Beaverhouse to Eastern Quetico
Day 2) Quetico to Jean
Day 3) Hang on Jean
Day 4) Jean to Little Jean (or Burntside)
Day 5) Little Jean (or Burntside) to Bentpine
Day 6) Hang on Bentpine
Day 7) Bentpine to Your
Day 8) Hang on Your & daytrip in to Wildgoose
Day 8) Hang on Your
Day 9) Your to Badwater
Day 10) Badwater to Beaverhouse

Any thoughts? Little Jean vs. Burtside?

Thanks again everyone. I'll be sure to fill out a trip report when I get back. If you're interested, here are videos of 2 of our previous trips to Quetico.

Q 2017
Q 2019

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