BWCA Is PP to North Bay to Agnes to PP really Quetico Boundary Waters Group Forum: Quetico Afficionados
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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Quetico Afficionados
      Is PP to North Bay to Agnes to PP really Quetico     



distinguished member(1720)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/28/2010 09:46AM  
I've tentatively planned my first Quetico trip:

- Mid July
- 7 days
- Family trip (me, my wife, 4 daughters (ages 11,13,15,17), and 2 dogs)
- First trip to Quetico. 5 previous BW trips for me. 2 previous BW trips for family

Here is the proposed route (Route 21? in Paddling Quetico book):
- Tow to PP
- Paddle from PP through Burke to North Bay
- relax/fish fr a few days
- Paddle north bad to Agnes
- Relax/fish and see Louisa falls for a few days
- Paddle back to PP
- Tow back down Moose

So, will I really see "quetico" with this route? Since I will be so close to PP, will it really be much different than the BW?

I am excited to see the rugged solitude of Quetico. Will I see much of that on this route?

Is there another route I should consider?
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distinguished member (436)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/28/2010 10:32AM  
sure, you will "see" quetico on this route. you will see less people that you would in the bwca generally speaking for that time of year. however, you will be in a rather popular area for Quetico during a rather popular time so you will likely see other groups every day of your trip. I'm not sure how much activity louisa lake gets just off agnes but i would guess you would get more solitude camping there than agnes - just a thought...

overall, you still will see far fewer people on that route than you would on most any bwca entry point. I think Quetico gets only 10% of the visitors that the bwca gets every year.
01/28/2010 11:31AM  
I have camped near Louisa Falls and in North Bay on the same trip the first week of August 2008.

My experience was that this is one of the busiests routes, both North Bay and Lousia Falls see alot of traffic "for Quetico". It won't be anything like going to the Numbered Lakes or Dissappointment, but obviuosly you will not have the entire lake to yourself.

BUT the good thing is most of the traffic is passing through. At night we had Loisa Falls area all to ourselves essentially. There were other people camped on North Bay but once evening came around we really did not notice anyone camped in either location---So traffic yes--but not crowded. We only spent one night in each location but that was a busy time. It was pleasant enough that I have mentally been planning a trip similar to yours when our son gets older.

North Bay has some nice fish BTW.

Camp on North Bay

distinguished member(1757)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/28/2010 12:19PM  
Mad, First, this is not advice, just some thoughts. I have a trip similar to yours on my "list" and have thought a LOT about it. I would NOT stay more than 1 night in North Bay, unless the fish were jumping into the boat, the campsite was too good to leave, or because of bad
weather, because NB can be a busy area where some are going in, some are going out, and some just make it a destination. I think I'd get a better "taste" by paddling on day 2. Here would be my rough plan which I would totally play by ear once I'm out: Day 1, paddle/portage(p/p) to North Bay; Day 2, p/p up S-lakes, maybe to Silence; Day 3 layover day on S-lake; Day 4, p/p into Agnes; Day 5, layover on Agnes, side trip to Louisa falls; Day 6, p/p to Sunday, Burke or Bayley Bay, depending on weather, etc. Day 7, out to PP. This should be a nice, rather easy trip. Like Moosedrool says, expect to see people. You are only going in a day-and-a-half from Prairie Portage, so "solitude" may be hard to find. I hope to read your trip report! --Goose
distinguished member(1757)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/28/2010 12:59PM  
Timatkn, your fish pics are making me reconsider! --Goose
01/28/2010 01:06PM  
if you want to spend a couple of days on North Bay consider making camp in "Lost Bay", the fishing can be very good (walleye, northern, smallies) and there is good chance you will have it to yourself. Another bid for solitude would be to head to Agnes via South/West/Jeff and then East Lakes, very pretty and not too difficult (the creek between West and Jeff can be a bit of an adventure).

Meadows is also a good place to camp- (breaks up the two ankle-busting portages ) lots of groups paddling through but rarely stopping to camp, and the through route just crosses the tip of one bay.

Thing to remember is that Agnes (via Burke, Sunday, Meadows) and North Bay are probably the two busiest areas in the southern half of the park.
01/28/2010 03:57PM  
Good advice from everyone here.

I did not read your initial post well. "I am excited to see the rugged solitude of Quetico. Will I see much of that on this route?"

I would not call this area "rugged solitude". That doesn't mean it isn't a great area though.

I think Meadows has some nice largemouth if I remember right. There is an article by the BWJ where the editor guided a trip and they fished Meadows last year I think--might be soem info in there as well. As others have said many just blow through.

01/28/2010 04:03PM  
quote OldGreyGoose: "Timatkn, your fish pics are making me reconsider! --Goose"

North Bay should make anyone that likes to fish salivate. Bays, reefs, islands, deep water holding trout, then the narrows leading back to the U.S. side. The problem is choosing where to start :) I regret I was only able to fish a few hours there, but then again I can say the same thing about almost all the lakes we camped on in 2008--Agnes, Kash, Woodside, Basswood.

distinguished member(4442)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
01/28/2010 10:39PM  
i would skip North Bay--it's busy,and go right to on Sunday or Meddows just to break the rush of the first day.on Agnes travel as far as you dare north on the east side of the lake,go in and out of all the bays--All the bays--most trippers just pass thru and these little bays have a real wilderness feel to them,expect huge cliffs and rock falls,big open rock points and the island chain half way up has many camps.
01/29/2010 10:34AM  
IF you decide to stop on North Bay - understanding that it is a heavy traffic area and subject to some serious weather/wind, consider the large island directly in front of you after you come thru Burke Lake. There is a decent camp site on the 'east' side and good Bass fishing right off shore.

distinguished member(1981)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/31/2010 10:32PM  
I agree with the others in regard to their suggestions about limiting camping time on Agnes and North Bay. I always feel, at least a bit, as though I am back in the BWCA when on North Bay or Agnes. They both serve as major traffic lanes for a number of alternative routes. As soon as you get off either lake it feels like the traffic drops considerably. I would agree the "Lost Bay" option is also a good one.
On the flip side, I put a high value on avoiding people so my perspective may be somewhat skewed.
Regardless, Agnes and North Bay are far superior to any of the easy entry points of the BW.
senior member (73)senior membersenior member
03/30/2010 04:21PM  
Late adding on to this post, but I assume you haven't left yet.

One comment I have is that I notice the campsites are often in much worse shape near the entry points. One, obviously, because of heavy use, and two, more people stay near the entry points are often less likely to clean up after themselves. Actually, that's not exactly the way I want that to sound. Let's rephrase that as: people who are willing to bust their but to get deeper into the park, on average, will probably take better care of the sites. I'm sure there are tons of very considerate folks who camp near the e.p.'s. But, I think there are also some who don't appreciate it as much either.

So, go deep.
distinguished member(8598)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/03/2010 01:51PM  
I think you and your family (4 teenagers at once - oy vey!) would probably like this route. Our Boy Scout troop often uses it for a first canoe trip for scouts. With the increases in camping and fishing fees, there are fewer now than even 5 years ago.

I'd suggest a day trip to Isabella over the beaver dams and through the reeds. I think the idea to camp on Louisa or up Agnes a ways is also wise. I have found visitors come to Louisa falls in the evening.
distinguished member(1720)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/19/2010 05:13PM  
Well, we just got back. Here's what we did:
- Sat: Tow to PP, paddle Bayley Bay and Burke to North Bay. Camped on North Bay
- Sun: Stayed at North Bay, fished and relaxed
- Mon: Paddled North Bay, South Lake, West lake, to Shade Lake. Camped on Shade
- Tue: Stayed at Shade, fished and relaxed
- Wed: Paddled Shade, West, Jeff, East to Agnes Lake. Paddled south. Camped about 1/2 mile north of Louisa Falls
- Thur: Stayed at Agnes, visted the falls, fished and relaxed
- Fri: Paddled Agnes, did Meadows portages, paddled Sunday, did North Portage to Bayley Bay. Camped at first site on Bayley bay (The wind was 20-30 mph from the west. Bayley bay was rollin!
- Sat: Paddled back to PP, towed back to moose, showered at Jordan's outfitters, had dinner in Ely, drove home

It was our first moving trip. In the past we only basecamped. I think I prefer basecamping for fishing but moving is fun too.

It was a great trip. It was different than the BW. The camp sites were less abused. The portages were rougher. We didn't see as many people. The fishing was about the same.

More details to come with the full trip report...

07/19/2010 06:25PM  
Glad you had a good trip, can't wait to read your trip report & see pictures, as to fishing, that to improves as you get away from the main routes.
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