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Art Vandelay
Guest Paddler
  
12/24/2023 08:03AM  
I have a question on the Quetico permit that I booked the other day via phone.

The gal that I spoke with when reserving the permit was not at all familiar with the Quetico. She didn’t think it mattered which Cache Bay permit she gave me so I ended up with a Cache Bay fly-in access permit.

I know it used to matter what direction you head from Cache Bay. I told her that I’m paddling in, she said that’s fine. I’m heading down the Canadian side of Ottertack and knife. I know that’s not a very sexy Quetico route but there are a couple of very specific areas I am going to.

Should I try to get my permit changed or just explain to the ranger station this is what the reservation line gave me? Thanks
 
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12/24/2023 08:29AM  
Since you have plenty of time ahead of your trip, I'd work to change it. You need the Knife Lake entry from the Cache Bay Ranger Station.

(any route in Quetico is sexy, IMO)
Jackfish
Moderator
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12/24/2023 09:58AM  
So your entry date is sometime in mid-May? Any particular reason you didn’t secure your permit online? I’m confused by the confusion over getting your permit - why the person on the phone didn’t even know about Quetico and why you would accept a fly-in permit when you’re not flying in.
Art Vandelay
Guest Paddler
  
12/24/2023 12:53PM  
Well I apologize for my stupid questions. I called the reservation line because I wasn’t sure what permit I should get for the north arm of Ottertack. Why the gal on the phone gave me the permit she did, and why she didn’t feel it matters which cache bay permit she issued are questions that you will have to ask her.

My questions:
Does it matter which cache bay permit I have? Can someone show up to the ranger station with a permit for the Man Chain and do the Falls chain instead? I know it used to be kind of a big deal, it sounded like it doesn’t matter as much now.

Which cache bay permit should I get if I’m mainly going to be fishing Ottertack? Sounds like I should try and get it changed to knife lake even though I might not go as far as knife lake.
12/24/2023 02:55PM  
First question would be where are you paddling in from. Ely side or Gunflint side. Yo7 then pick by entry lake it’s different in Quetico as you pick a lake on route not the lake you enter on.

The cache bay fly in is designed to fly in from the North of Quetico into the South in an airplane to cache bay. You definitely don’t want this and need to get it changed.

Not sure I’d want to be on a busy 1/2 BWCA lake in Quetico though but tha5 is just my take. If you can portage one time I’d recommend Saganaganons.

Ryan
12/24/2023 05:22PM  
Art Vandelay: "My questions:
Does it matter which cache bay permit I have? Can someone show up to the ranger station with a permit for the Man Chain and do the Falls chain instead? I know it used to be kind of a big deal, it sounded like it doesn’t matter as much now.

Which cache bay permit should I get if I’m mainly going to be fishing Ottertack?
"

On the first day, if a ranger stopped you, you should be on the direction of your permit. After day one, not an issue. Still, you should get the permit that fits your route plan.

Also, you don't show up at the ranger station with a permit. You show up at the ranger station with a reservation to pick up your permit. It does matter, especially if you show up with a fly-in permit and the ranger says, "I didn't hear any plane".

Get the Knife Lake permit if heading to Ottertrack. It is the only permit headed that direction.
12/24/2023 07:41PM  
I suspect if you showed up, the Rangers at Cache Bay would listen to your story and help get you squared away without issue.

But as pointed out...that is indeed not the correct permit. Correcting it should be easy, but figure out where you want to go first. Falls Chain, Man Chain or Saganagons....
Jackfish
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12/24/2023 08:14PM  
bobbernumber3: "Get the Knife Lake permit if heading to Ottertrack. It is the only permit headed that direction."

I agree with this. I also wonder if a Saganagons permit EP 74 would work.

Either way, the fly-in permit isn’t the right one. A phone call to the reservation line to explain the wrong reservation thanks to an inexperienced customer service person should be done and a correct reservation procured.

And my apologies to Art. I didn’t call his questions stupid. It was more about the reservation person not being as helpful as they could have been.
tumblehome
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12/24/2023 10:19PM  
I don't think these are stupid questions either. A lot of the Quetico system is a bit confusing. Both to the seasoned paddler and the novice.

Art, are you still in the latex business?
Tom
Art Vandelay
Guest Paddler
  
12/25/2023 02:09PM  
Merry Christmas and thanks for your replies. I’ll address a few of your comments/questions as you all have elicited more info than I wanted to give.

I know what Saganagons has to offer. I used to use a 4 wheeler and a canoe with a Quetico park sticker and take day trips to Saganagons. I would love to spend a week camping on the lake sometime but not this trip.

Ottertrack is a gem. The lake is loaded with ciscos, which makes for lots of quality fish. I’ve been looking at that deeper northeast arm for 30 plus years now and am finally going to spend 3 or 4 days fishing it. I have high expectations, maybe it won’t be as good as I think it will be but at least I’ll finally scratch that itch. Ottertack is in an interesting spot. Too far for a day trip but not far enough to justify a Quetico trip (for most people). I learned 2 decades ago that going further does not mean better fishing. Going further is great if that’s what you want to do. In May I’m gonna fish the heck outta Ottertrack trolling for trout during the day and trolling for big walleyes after dark.
12/25/2023 03:37PM  
sns: "I suspect if you showed up, the Rangers at Cache Bay would listen to your story and help get you squared away without issue.


But as pointed out...that is indeed not the correct permit. Correcting it should be easy, but figure out where you want to go first. Falls Chain, Man Chain or Saganagons...."


or Knife. There is a Knife Lake permit going west from Cache Bay.
12/25/2023 05:55PM  
Art Vandelay : "...I have high expectations, maybe it won’t be as good as I think it will be but at least I’ll finally scratch that itch....."


Overall, I don't think Ottertrack is a great fishery. But I do know it holds some big lake trout. My bow man hooked a dandy, probably the biggest I've seen on the end of a line, and I was positioning the boat and coaching. The rod tip came down, the fish made a run, and that was the end.

A day trip to Banta produced a lot of nice fighting lakers.
12/25/2023 08:30PM  
I’d go with no expectations of catching fish, then you’ll be happy when you do.

Ottertrack is a pretty lake to paddle.
12/25/2023 11:48PM  
Ottertrack is a gorgeous lake. The cliff area is amazing! The north arm has two nice campsites from reviews I’d looked at and dropped flags. Knife lake permit from Cache bay makes the most sense as others have said.

Ryan

12/26/2023 09:02AM  

Walleye from campsite on the point, Aug 2001


Northern from south side of NE arm, Aug 2001


Bass from south side of NE arm, Aug 2001


Laker, 2004







We've had a couple memorable trips to Ottertrack many years ago. It has made some great memories with our kids on early trips to Q. In 2004, we battled winds to get to the end of the north arm only to find the site occupied by a Mother and daughter. They were nice enough to see we were whipped and invited us to share the site. The site was huge with a couple fire rings and they were gone in the morning.

The north arm is off the beaten path, so not much traffic. Day trips to Banta and Jasper are worthwhile. Ottertrack was where I first saw canoeists trolling deep water for lakers... an "Aha Moment!" It is a fair to okay fishing lake.
tumblehome
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12/27/2023 06:47PM  
I too think Ottertrack is a great lake. I spent a few beautiful fall days there some years back and enjoyed some nice lake trout fishing. It feels good to be there when on the other side is the crowded BWCA with all those paddlers wishing they were on my side of the lake!
Tom
PNK
Guest Paddler
  
01/30/2024 05:26PM  
Hello Art!
Did you ever call back and get this sorted out?
Most permits you can change at the ranger station, provided there are still quota openings on the route you want to change to. However, the fly in permit is different and changing that to a different entry will also involve a change in cost as well. Just don't want either of those things to be a surprise if you end up leaving it until you are at the station!
If you do call back to change this, make sure they don't charge you a change fee, as this was a mistake on their end!

PNK
Guest Paddler
  
01/30/2024 06:41PM  
Just editing my last post...
It appears that the fl- in and the other entries from Cache Bay are all the same price currently, but it has not always been that way. Maybe they have changed that this year? Either way, I would still suggest making changes before paddling to the station, as you don't want all the Knife Lake entries to be taken for that day!
Art Vandelay
Guest Paddler
  
02/20/2024 06:40AM  
PNK: "Hello Art!
Did you ever call back and get this sorted out?
Most permits you can change at the ranger station, provided there are still quota openings on the route you want to change to. However, the fly in permit is different and changing that to a different entry will also involve a change in cost as well. Just don't want either of those things to be a surprise if you end up leaving it until you are at the station!
If you do call back to change this, make sure they don't charge you a change fee, as this was a mistake on their end!


"

After a supervisor listened to a recording of the call and verified that it was their error and not mine I was able to correct my reservation without paying the fee to change it.
 
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