BWCA Spring solo advice: cliffs + lakers Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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member (21)member
02/02/2024 09:36PM  
I’m planning a short spring solo trip in mid-May. I have only three full days (exiting on AM of fourth day) and am considering entering at Sag via a tow to American point and base camping on Ottertrack or Rabbit. My focus is scenery (I’m partial to “cliffy” lakes) and leisurely fishing for lakers. My concern with this route is the big water on Sag. The potential for rough waters (water temps will be chilly) and the possibility of being windbound on exit give me pause (I’ll be flying out of MSP evening of day 4 so not much wiggle room.)

If anyone has thoughts on other areas I might look at, I’d welcome suggestions. I’ve done Clearwater + Mountain and Duncan + Rose on previous long wknd spring trips, so I’m looking to explore a new area. Permits for the BW could be a challenge, so perhaps the lower end of the Man Chain via Prairie Portage in the Q would be a good option?

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distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/02/2024 11:31PM  
Well, that's a unique set of circumstances and preferences...very cool too! I'm not great at fishing for lakers, at least in the bwca, but I'll send a couple of options to consider.

Brandt entry point is available during that time. There are several smaller lakes with good laker fishing in that area. I'm not aware of any amazing cliffs but there are several lookout spots with beautiful vistas. A few lakes with reputations for good laker fishing: Paulson (lots of fish but mostly smaller size), Gillis, Little Sag, and many of the smaller lakes in the burned area.

If you are willing to make a longer haul, Makwa has good laker fishing. Makwa also has spectacular cliffs.

You might also consider Winchill but we didn't have any luck with lakers the one time I was there. It looks like Brule still have permits available if you choose this route. There are some cliffs on Winchill too.

Any of your options are going to be wind and weather-dependent to some extent. If you want to go to American Point and go in from there...go for it and adapt if the conditions change. :)

Enjoy the planning and post a pic or two of the fish you catch!

distinguished member(5673)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/03/2024 05:36AM  
Kekekabic, Gillis, Cherry, Wisini & Gun (far west by Takumich) are a few that come to mind.

02/03/2024 08:18AM  
There are not many campsites on the American side of Ottertrack.

I'd move late on day 3 back around American Point for pick-up on day 4.

You could consider staying on Cache Bay as an easy option. Save time, good lakers, but no cliffs.

distinguished member (371)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/03/2024 08:29AM  
I vote for the Brandt Lake area. As others have said some of those small lakes have some great laker fishing (On the smaller size but easy fishing!). If you have never been its a beautiful area with lots of different options. Gillis, Tuscarora, Little Sag, Gabi are all great places to camp. Here is a cool overlook you can scramble up to, I believe on Powell Lake near the portage.

member (21)member
02/07/2024 09:02PM  
Thanks for the helpful responses! I will check out the Gillis area- it looks like a promising option.
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