BWCA Needing guidance on Gaskin Lake Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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08/17/2022 11:31AM  
I have a trip coming up the end of August and we’re going in at Poplar and heading to Winchell Lake. I am curious for a campsite recommendation and fishing advice on Gaskin lake.

Also any recommendations for fishing for lake trout on Winchell Lake?
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08/17/2022 11:51AM  
We stayed on Gaskin for a couple of mid-August nights in 2020. It was pretty busy, but this is what I recall...

Coming for horseshoe, the first campsite is an island site (#627). This one was occupied when we went by but seems like a fairly decent site from what we could see from the water. Is the only site on the East third of the lake, but I would think you would have plenty of groups passing by.

Further West there is a site on the south side on a point (#629). This one was also occupied but again, seemed like a good site. Open to the west to catch breezes (which depending on the weather at end of August could be a plus or a minus. Plenty of mature trees with tents set back far enough where they were barely visible from the water.

Further West along the south shore is the site we ended up grabbing for our stay (#623). It was fine for our group of 6 - 2 tents and 2 hammocks. Good landing and north facing views for any potential Northern Lights.

The site we were hoping to grab based on recommendations was the island site further west (#634). We had our fastest canoe head that way first but it was occupied. We trolled by fishing and it did look like a great site.

We didn't really check out the other sites, but the west half or so of the lake is still pretty bare from whatever fire went through, which thankfully spared the nice island site I just mentioned. We could see there was a group staying in the site Northeast of us (#630) but the other North site (#631) was in the burnt area.

For fishing, we caught enough smallmouth trolling around to provide a couple of meals, but nothing to really write home about. We caught a couple more in Winchell along with a small pike, but we didn't go for Lakers. My guess is you would need to get down to 80' plus to have any luck there.

See my 2020 trip report for more details.

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08/17/2022 01:30PM  
I've been to Gaskin a couple of times--it was my very first trip about 20 years ago, and then we stayed there again a few years ago in a fit of nostalgia :D

We stayed on the island site both times. It's a pretty site with great views and an okay tent pad for one tent. Lots of room, tho. Gaskin is an easy lake to get to, and high traffic...and this site reflects that. It's definitely visited...but still nice.

The fishing is for crap on Gaskin, tho :D That first trip, we caught a couple of smallies, and that was about it. I remember when we went back, we were like, oh...we'll catch stuff now since we're old and know what we're doing :D No. There's just not much action.

Gaskin is easy to get to, and it is pretty, but it's not a great fishing lake, at least as far as we're concerned.

If you're could always mosey over to Little Trout for some lake trout action. HAHAHAHAHAHA (<--this is a joke; not about LT's fish population...but about moseying. ON MY VERY FIRST TRIP my now-husband took me through the Little Trout portage from Misquah :D Single portaged, at the end of a very long day, and I was carrying probably 120lbs of packs. IYKYK. :p And yet, I married him anyway AND I keep coming back to the BWCA)
08/17/2022 08:39PM  
Hey CanoeViking,

We went through there in May and stayed at site 629 and weathered several storms. The site was very nice, with several excellent tent pads, large firepit space, access to the bay as well as the ability to fish right off the point. We looked at the reviews on this site and others to prepare and there are plenty of good options. We didn't catch any fish but we were also limited by thunder and lightning. Spoke with another group who had been there longer and reported fishing was very slow for them as well.

We trolled Winchell on our way through but didn't spend a night - no fish. Wish I could give you better reason to be optimistic...I know other trip reports on this site have had success fishing so hopefully you can glean something from those.

We did have an awesome trip and enjoyed the area immensely. We saw several moose and lots of other wildlife. Hope you have a great time!
08/17/2022 10:32PM  
634 is a good site. Stayed there a couple times. Decent smallies off west side of camp. West winds make current between site and island to NW and we caught walleyes. Go back around the corner to NE and find the small weed are there. Medium sized bay south of site that points back east was loaded with huge smallies. Down tree in east tip and west wind had blown in all day. The bay leading to the Winchell portage has a big weed bed the goes a long way out....troll the outer edge.
Site 630 is ok, the far NW site is not great, the far SW site on the long peninsula was burned and closed a few years ago, the Mondale site....628? very nice. Its on the pointy peninsula on the east end of lake. It doesn't show up in the map section here. There is a blue "photo" dot there instead.
08/18/2022 09:38AM site 628 shows up on the maps. Have stayed here twice. Its a very nice site but I prefer 634 cuz it seems closer to better fishing. Rode out a vicious storm on 634 in July 2014....the storm that injured people in the Lady Boot area. Had a medium sized tree go down in camp that took out the tarp lines. It was a wild night.
08/18/2022 10:03AM  
Weird...I do not see it. When I think back to our trip I was thinking there was another campsite but just assumed I was not remembering correctly (usually a safe assumption these days). On our trip this one was occupied. It was a busy busy lake that week.
08/18/2022 12:35PM  
Ya...weird....gone again.
08/18/2022 03:13PM  
Thanks for the info. I’m super excited about this trip. The little ones are finally big enough to portage again.
08/22/2022 10:39AM  
cowdoc: " site 628 shows up on the maps. Have stayed here twice. Its a very nice site but I prefer 634 cuz it seems closer to better fishing. Rode out a vicious storm on 634 in July 2014....the storm that injured people in the Lady Boot area. Had a medium sized tree go down in camp that took out the tarp lines. It was a wild night."

Someone posted a photo on top of the camp. This is fixed.
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