BWCA No fishing! Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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05/21/2024 10:39AM  
I just did a solo trip the week before the fishing opener. Normally I will always bring a pole on my solos and my trips with family are pretty intense fishing trips.

Since it was the week before the opener I didn't even bring a pole. I can't tell you how freeing and enjoyable it was to not "need to fish" on a trip. The lack of having the equipment freed me to explore the country in a completely different and more relaxed way than I have really experienced before. For some reason when I have my fishing equipment with, I almost feel obligated that I "need to" head out and fish some, but without the stuff--it was just me, my canoe and the lakes with no "obligations".

Now, I still will do the 2-3 fishing trips per year with family in the BWCA-- but I really think that moving forward, because of the wonderful experience of just being in the wilderness, my 2-3 solo trips each year will probably no longer include a fishing pole.

Just throwing it out there in case you have never gone without your poles that if you are looking for a different and meaningful experience--it may be worth a try.
 
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JohnGalt
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05/21/2024 11:03AM  
Welp, I’ll take this as a sign haha. I was debating for a while whether to leave my poles behind when I go in next month, now it is settled. Thanks for the nudge! I’ve found I like photography quite a bit & that has kind of eclipsed fishing as my go-to when looking for something to do.
 
05/21/2024 11:51AM  
I always bring the poles, but I don't always use them very much. We fish for dinner and don't practice catch and release unless there is a good reason we wouldn't eat it. One of my favorite things to do in camp is to cast a line in the water with a bobber in the evening, and enjoy a cigar or drink. I use the excuse that I'm "fishing" and therefore not sitting around doing nothing.

I do get the idea of leaving the poles behind though. Some people just can't help themselves and see any time not spent on the water fishing as "wasted time" or "burning daylight". I've been on a trip with guys like that and I just didn't have as much fun. For me, there's nothing wrong with hanging out in camp and playing cards, or taking a daytrip over to see a waterfall.
 
05/21/2024 05:58PM  
I had the same experience as you. I found fishing to be more work solo and not all that enjoyable or productive so I stopped carrying the extra 5-6 lbs. I know several other soloists have quit after a few trips. When solo I've discovered that a lot of things had a decided "social factor" and disappear after a few solos. There are other things I don't do much anymore. I've found it very "freeing" not to be busy with things and have time to just sit and soak it up.
 
05/22/2024 07:20AM  
Yep, I've always been a believer in float your own float and to trip your own trip. What I learned on this trip was how refreshing it was to get out of the way I've always done things and trip a different trip. , Sometimes we get in a comfort zone and It was nice to expand in my experience to a different kind of "trip my own trip".
 
AlexanderSupertramp
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05/22/2024 07:33AM  
I really needed to hear this. It just stresses me out having it along, I never catch anything, and I cant fish from the canoe because it doesn't jive with my dog. I'm leaving it from now on.
 
05/22/2024 07:49AM  
I will never do this, but I do totally get your feeling.

I used to spend every waking minute fishing and a little guilt if I didn’t. I’ve evolved to enjoy each moment.

Laughing, playing cards with the kids instead of hitting that killer reef at dusk…swimming, laying around camp, reading a good book on an overlook etc…

T
 
Sparkeh
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05/22/2024 10:15AM  
This is the same reason I never bring my camera along. It ruins the being in the moment experience. I am a sport fisherman though so I do not have the same opinion. I feel relaxing and at peace with a line in the water.
 
05/22/2024 01:58PM  
If I did a trip before fishing opener, I'd relish the ability to leave my tackle at home. However, on solos I get antsy sitting around camp, and need to go out and explore when wind and weather allow. I love finding cool photographic compositions but I also love fishing, so I do both when I explore. Sometimes if I'm not having much luck fishing, I'll just put the rods away and find things to photograph. Or, if fishing is very productive, I won't take many photos because I'm having too much fun fishing. But I'm totally fine just enjoying a peaceful night at camp looking out over the lake, ideally with a fire. I might wish I was throwing topwater at some calm rocky shoreline, but I'm not one of the "need to catch 100 walleyes in a day or I'm a loser" hardcore fishermen that you hear so much about.

I think I like the idea of leaving fishing and photo gear at home more than I'd like the reality. Sure, I could cut 20lbs of gear and an entire pack out of the equation, but those two things are a big reason I love canoe country so much, so I'd feel like I'm cutting out a big piece of myself. Perhaps if I was trying for a long distance trip, traveling every day, with a friend, I could just use my phone for photos, and either bring a single rod with a single small tackle box, or none at all. But that's only because in that instance, the vast majority of my time would be occupied with travel, eating, and sleep.
 
05/22/2024 02:09PM  
Fishing went away some years ago. Never that good in the beginning neuropathy ended anything but pure luck. The extra weight and awkward packing for portages (I broke a tip off a good pole once) and the cost of license for maybe one meal made it easy to not fish. I do carry some line and a couple lures in my emergency gear kit. I do very much enjoy a shore lunch and have considered digging out those lures and doing some hand jigging, but never got it done.
To those soloists I have had the pleasure to join camp and share a fish dinner with, my deepest appreciation. Nature provides a great balance...those who love to fish and those who love to eat fish.
 
JohnGalt
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05/22/2024 03:01PM  
bhouse46: "To those soloists I have had the pleasure to join camp and share a fish dinner with, my deepest appreciation. Nature provides a great balance...those who love to fish and those who love to eat fish."


I had the same experience last summer, I didn’t cook any fish dinners myself though I joined for a few & they were great! Meeting new folks & a nice meal makes for a great time :)
 
Stumpy
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05/22/2024 03:26PM  
wxce1260: "I just did a solo trip the week before the fishing opener. Normally I will always bring a pole on my solos and my trips with family are pretty intense fishing trips.

Since it was the week before the opener I didn't even bring a pole. I can't tell you how freeing and enjoyable it was to not "need to fish" on a trip. The lack of having the equipment freed me to explore the country in a completely different and more relaxed way than I have really experienced before. For some reason when I have my fishing equipment with, I almost feel obligated that I "need to" head out and fish some, but without the stuff--it was just me, my canoe and the lakes with no "obligations".

Now, I still will do the 2-3 fishing trips per year with family in the BWCA-- but I really think that moving forward, because of the wonderful experience of just being in the wilderness, my 2-3 solo trips each year will probably no longer include a fishing pole.

Just throwing it out there in case you have never gone without your poles that if you are looking for a different and meaningful experience--it may be worth a try."

I agree
 
Ohiopikeman
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05/23/2024 04:51AM  
I am surprised to see that so many of the members are content with the camping, canoeing, and scenery aspects of the BWCA.

I understand that these are enjoyable and I did learn an appreciation for pure camping and hiking in bringing up kids through the Boys Scouts, though I distinctly remember thinking, "what's the point of hiking up this mountain if there is not a lake up there waiting to be fished?".

From my first trip to the BWCA in 1991 it's been all about the fish. There is no chance that I'd drive 1,000 miles from Ohio to spend a week in the BWCA without my fishing gear.

I to agree that portages sure would be much easier if I left the fishing gear home!

 
JimmyJustice
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05/23/2024 10:27AM  
OPM, you have a valid point. Traveling 1k miles to not fish...hmm. Maybe living in MN and access to all sorts of water changes my perspective a bit, but, there have been times in the BWCA when I just want to sit and enjoy camp, the scenery etc. Soak it all, smell the roses a bit, etc. but am compelled to fish if my boat mate wants to go. There are times I just want to stay on shore but feel guilty if I don't go. Even in those moments, the trip is a success because I am with friends. Its just while fishing in those moments, I ponder about what else I could be doing other than catching more fish than the guy who wanted to go fishing. I guess going solo would solve that dilemma :)
 
05/23/2024 11:41AM  
I prefer to travel on solo trips all day, usually 8 hrs per day. Then I make camp and enjoy the rest of the day/evening. Allows me to see a lot of country in the said alloted time for the trip.
 
Onthefly6
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05/23/2024 04:44PM  
I agree with ohiopikeman, I drive over 1,200 miles from central PA. There is not a chance that I would travel that far without my fly rods. My trips to the BWCA are not all fishing, but it's a major part. It's a major part of my home life as well, I usually fish 5-7 days a week. Primarily for muskies. I'm just so intrigued by the hidden world underwater. If I lived closer and was able to take more trips, I would definitely explore without fishing. (Before opener). I'm envious of all who live close to the wilderness.
 
mgraber
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05/30/2024 01:40AM  
Sounds like utter insanity! :)
 
05/30/2024 06:06AM  
mgraber: "Sounds like utter insanity! :)"


We are utterly insane.

We enjoyed our canoe-tripping, making it a priority vacation no matter where we lived at the time, from 1971 through 2013, and since then we have gone to the Canoe Country almost every year for a "cabin week" on a BWCA entry point lake. Our canoe trips included Crown Land in Canada, BWCA, Quetico, Temagami, and Algonquin.

Started out when we lived at Fort Knox, Kentucky, then central Illinois, and since 1975 we have been Michiganders. So it was always a considerable road trip to get to the canoe country. Still is. Will be heading up there in a couple weeks.

No fishing.
 
05/30/2024 06:29AM  
When I did my first pre fishing opener trip I was worried I’d get frustrated that I couldn’t fish, but I ended up enjoying it and now I rarely fish on solo trips even when I go during fishing season . Pre fishing opener has become my favorite time to go solo. It’s a lot quieter than going in October and the days are longer than in October.

When I take one of the kids we spend a lot of time fishing and there is nothing better than the smile on their face when they land a fish.
 
MidwestMan
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05/30/2024 07:45AM  
Follow the 'Junk Food Rule' ... If you are the type of person who can have junk food around and not eat it, you're good to take your rods on any trip.
 
HowardSprague
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05/30/2024 08:51AM  
I get it - and the trip might be more relaxing. And you might notice more things around you. I might have to try that sometime. But I did do one portage-clearing trip in May before fishing opener and I must say that looking at and paddling through those uncrowded lakes without a rod & reel made me a bit itchy!
 
NotLight
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05/30/2024 11:19PM  
I bring 4-6 jigs, a few 3" Berkeley grubs, and my 4 piece travel rod. Low overhead.
 
05/31/2024 08:25AM  
I spent 50 nites in the BWCA last year without fishing poles and I have a life time fishing liscense.
 
05/31/2024 09:10AM  
I haven't brought fishing gear in 20 years. Traveling and sight seeing is what I like to do.
 
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