BWCA Lake Trout lakes near Sturgeon, Lonely-Walter-Jesse chain Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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cburton103
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05/08/2022 08:08PM  
I’ve tried to find all the information I can regarding which lakes on my route have good fishing for lake trout, but it’s been a little sparse for a few of them in particular. I’m entering from Stanton Bay where I’ll be dropped off by my outfitter, then paddling down through Dore and Twin Lakes, and probably camping somewhere in the bay containing Blueberry Island night one. Going to spend a few nights on probably Keats next, then probably Lonely, then Jesse or Maria on the way out.

I’ve read that Pickerel is good for lakers, and that Walter and Jesse have decent laker populations. McDougall off of Keats seems to have decent numbers as well. The reports I’ve read on Sturgeon have been mixed - some claim there are lakers, some claim no. Lonely I’ve read it both ways as well, with no lakers being the more common stance. We may day trip over to Draper as well for smallies, and I’ve read there should be lakers in there too.

It’s hard to want to spend precious Quetico time fishing for a species that may not even be in a lake in reasonable numbers sufficient to warrant targeting them, especially since we’ll have a couple canoe camping/Quetico newbies along. Am I missing anything here regarding any of these lakes and their laker populations? Any nearby lakes worth targeting lakers in? Thanks!
 
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Argo
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05/08/2022 09:07PM  
Where did you read that Jesse has lakers? Someone in an earlier thread made that claim but I'm skeptical. It's a very shallow lake with dark water that is teeming with pike and walleye.

I've heard Walter and Lonely have them but the reports are never great.

Apart from Pickerel, which I've heard is good - particularly as you paddle the big open water SSW of Stanton Bay, it seems like you have chosen a route that avoids prime LT lakes such as Jean, Quetico, Cirrus, Kasakakwog and Batchewaung. But Antoine is on your route. It's a bucket list lake for me. Looks terrific and is a good LT producer.

I caught LT on McDougall two decades ago but struck out 2020. We capsized before hitting McDougall and lost 2 of three rods and a tackle box full of laker jigs. So we never really had the right presentation the second time around..

Because my trips are usually late July I need to find deep water. If you're traveling in colder water months you shouldn't need to limit yourself to the deep zones.
Gaidin53
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05/08/2022 10:56PM  
It’s already been said but Antoine would be the lake I know about in that area for Lake trout. The Boundary Waters Journal guy marked Antoine for Lake trout for me since it was near my route, I’ve seen some videos showing some nice Lake trout getting caught on that lake.

I didn’t add those into my gps since they were off my route for this year.

Ryan
Gaidin53
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05/09/2022 03:26PM  
So apparently McDougall lake has Lake trout. Was just watching a YouTube video from 2018 of a group. Recognized the awesome campsite on McDougall. They went out fishing and showed two really nice Lake trout they brought in for supper. Saw the group catch several more really nice trout on video as well. I looked up fish species for the lake to confirm and Lake Trout are listed for that lake.

Ryan
cburton103
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05/09/2022 10:40PM  
Argo: "Where did you read that Jesse has lakers? Someone in an earlier thread made that claim but I'm skeptical. It's a very shallow lake with dark water that is teaming with pike and walleye.

I've heard Walter and Lonely have them but the reports are never great.

Apart from Pickerel, which I've heard is good - particularly as you paddle the big open water SSW of Stanton Bay, it seems like you have chosen a route that avoids prime LT lakes such as Jean, Quetico, Cirrus, Kasakakwog and Batchewaung. But Antoine is on your route. It's a bucket list lake for me. Looks terrific and is a good LT producer.

I caught LT on McDougall two decades ago but struck out 2020. We capsized before hitting McDougall and lost 2 of three rods and a tackle box full of laker jigs. So we never really had the right presentation the second time around..

Because my trips are usually late July I need to find deep water. If you're traveling in colder water months you shouldn't need to limit yourself to the deep zones."


I believe I read about Jesse having lake trout on a thread on these boards. Also, Ontario Fish Online has Jesse listed as having lake trout, but the listed fish species often seem to be wrong on there.

I didn't think I would be able to make Antoine fit into my route, but after talking to my crew tonight I actually think we'll shoot to get to Antoine night one instead of staying in Sturgeon somewhere after the Deux. Thanks for the recommendation!

If you don't mind me asking, where did you capsize? I'm intrigued to see what all of the moving water between the outflow of Russell into Sturgeon up through Chatterton, Keats, etc will look like this year with all of the rain and late melt.
Argo
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05/10/2022 06:48AM  
Since you're going to Antoine, I'm going to suggest you that you likely could paddle in from Ram Lake and avoid the half km portage from Sturgeon. I watched a video where a dad and son did this in the summer of 2018(?) so it should be doable in this year's high water.

We capsized on Russell after checking out the falls in July 2020. We just had most of our fishing gear and some day items in the canoe so we were light and riding high on the water. It was a beautiful, calm, sunny day but you could see storms to the north all morning that refused to intrude on us. As way climbed into our canoe the wind really picked up and was blowing in our faces. We rode the outflow of the falls into the lake but just as the flow subsided and killed our momentum a fierce wind blew the bow to the left. My son, being all of 100 lbs at the time, was in the bow and between the wind and the eddy carrying us back to the falls we could not get the canoe turned around. At that point we should have just paddled to shore. Instead, as we fixated on righting our direction west the eddy carried us broadside back into the outflow and that was it. It all sort of happened in slow motion. At that point we just held onto the canoe, keeping it upright to contain our daypacks and one small tackle box. We got swept around the much large eddy to the north and just pulled up on shore. Believe it or not it was flat calm again. In retrospect, we could have easily made the south shore when were were initially blown sideways. Also, I think if we were kneeling instead of sitting there's a chance we would have stayed upright.

Apart from our two good fishing rods and one of two tackle boxes (containing laker jigs), we managed to salvage most of the important things. Our day packs floated, my gps and inReach were tethered to the thwart. However, when we returned to our gorgeous campsite and took inventory, we realized we were missing my son's flip-flops, my cap, and our map case containing our route, meal plan and permits! Here's the thing...when I bought this case from Aquaquest I deliberately requested the bright orange case. We paddled back and searched the shoreline and found it immediately almost a kilometer away from the falls (this was probably two hours past our capsize event). Everything inside was bone dry! Very unlikely that we would have found it if it was a darker model. Two days later, after an overnight on McDougall we paddled the shoreline once again on our exit out and found my cap. I'm not bald but you just don't want to be hatless out there. No sign of my son's dark, spongey flip-flops.

Our one remaining rod that was left at the site was a $25 pink "Rapala Girl" spinning combo that I bought a day before the trip as a back-up. But here's a wonderful story, a few days later we met up in the middle of Walter Lake with a family of four from Whitby ON just outside of Toronto where I'm from. We told them our story and they gave us one of their rods! Salt of the earth types the are. I gave them two Bungee Dealy Bobs. I eventually returned their rod even though they insisted it was gift when they gave it to us.
cburton103
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05/10/2022 01:26PM  
Argo,

Thanks for sharing that story. Glad to hear you were both ok! Moving water, light canoes and wind is a tough trifecta to deal with!

In terms of skipping the portage into Ram, are you talking about paddling the creek into Ram after the small first bay of Sturgeon? So I would finish the Deux Rivieres, then turn right (west) to that creek that exits the Northeast part of Ram?

If that looks doable, that may seal the deal for visiting Antoine. One member of my crew was lamenting adding another 100 rod portage, so this will help make the trip a bit smoother and easier. Plus, I haven't caught a decent lake trout in three years now. Went to the bwca the last two years and only managed one teeny maybe 13-14 inch lake trout in Fraser Lake in 2021, and none in 2020.
Gaidin53
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05/10/2022 04:58PM  
Here is the map Stu Osthoff marked up for me. This is based on my July trip though. Has some other pertinent facts added though on portage information.

Ryan

cburton103
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05/10/2022 05:26PM  
Gaidin53: "Here is the map Stu Osthoff marked up for me. This is based on my July trip though. Has some other pertinent facts added though on portage information.


Ryan
"


Wow, thanks for that map, Ryan! Pure gold.
Argo
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05/10/2022 05:44PM  
Of course! Olifaunt has trout.

And yes, I'm talking about exactly where you described. This is the video. You can scroll through and find the part where they navigate to Ram with some uncertainty. The dad wasn't 100% sure they could do it. But they did.
PineKnot
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05/10/2022 10:01PM  
I know the following lakes in the area you're looking at have lakers....the ones with an * are particularly good for some larger fish....

Pickerel *
Olifaunt
Dore
Ram
Antoine *
McDougall *
Walter
Batchewaung
Argo
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05/11/2022 08:41AM  
PineKnot: "I know the following lakes in the area you're looking at have lakers....the ones with an * are particularly good for some larger fish....


Pickerel *
Olifaunt
Dore
Ram
Antoine *
McDougall *
Walter
Batchewaung "


Just checked my old map - my outfitter marked the southern shore of Olifaunt as well as the long bay in the south as LT zones.
cburton103
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05/11/2022 12:31PM  
You guys exceeded my expectations! Thanks very much to each of you!

Planning on for sure including Antoine in our route now. Possibly even a layover day. We'll probably be able to hit McDougall and Walter with solid effort as well, and troll through Pickerel, Dore and Ram on the way in and probably on the way out through Batch Bay.

I'll try to remember to post a lake trout fishing report here after the trip to help pay this advice forward.
05/15/2022 12:05PM  
Antoine is worth the layover day. Take the site on the island due south of the portage from Ram. Comfortable, good base of operations.
jberns
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05/15/2022 03:43PM  
Cburton, when is your trip? I'm probably headed to Antoine for part of my June trip. Given this year's weather, I'm guessing the mud on that last portage will be terrible. Hopefully the one from Sturgeon to Ram can be skipped. I've taken those portages from Sturgeon to Ram to Antoine 2 other trips and mud was above ankle-deep for the entire portage.
Springer2
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05/15/2022 03:57PM  
McDougall trout, early June, 2007, probably mid-depth Rapalas.



cburton103
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05/15/2022 04:58PM  
Springer2: " McDougall trout, early June, 2007, probably mid-depth Rapalas.



"


I love how good the average size of Quetico lake trout is. Such iconic fish. Extra special to catch them in a place like Quetico.
cburton103
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05/15/2022 04:59PM  
jberns: "Cburton, when is your trip? I'm probably headed to Antoine for part of my June trip. Given this year's weather, I'm guessing the mud on that last portage will be terrible. Hopefully the one from Sturgeon to Ram can be skipped. I've taken those portages from Sturgeon to Ram to Antoine 2 other trips and mud was above ankle-deep for the entire portage."

My trip is May 27-June 3 on the water. 8 days this year, which is great. I’m hopeful to go for even longer trips when the kids are older and come along. My wife is a saint for even letting me go while she’s 7 months pregnant with #3!

I’ve heard of the mud on those portages. I’m sure we’ll have some pretty epic mud this year with the late spring, high water, and the rains they’ve had and are projected to continue to have. It will be interesting to see the moving water areas through the Poet’s chain as well.
05/16/2022 07:40AM  
PineKnot: "I know the following lakes in the area you're looking at have lakers....the ones with an * are particularly good for some larger fish....


Pickerel *
Olifaunt
Dore
Ram
Antoine *
McDougall *
Walter
Batchewaung "



That's a good list. If you felt up for trekking a bit more to the west, Cirrus is a good LT lake as well....
 
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