BWCA 2010 Kashahpiwi trip, Day 1 (testing) Boundary Waters Group Forum: Quetico Afficionados
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      2010 Kashahpiwi trip, Day 1 (testing)     



06/21/2010 05:56PM  
Day 1, May 24, 2010: Prairie Portage to Shade Lake

It was an early April ice-out, the earliest ever in the Ely area (2-3 weeks earlier than usual) and the temperature was in the 80's when we arrived in Ely on May 23rd. The water level on Moose Lake at LaTourell's was very low. Monday dawned partly cloudy and calm, Mindy LaTourell dropped us at Prairie Portage around 7AM and we were in and out of the ranger station by 8AM (doors open at 7:45). The new Canadian fishing Outdoor Card helped speed things up.

We were across calm Bayley Bay and on the broad sand beach of the Burke Lake portage by 9:00. Very shallow water in the channel leading to North Bay required some pushing and shoving with the paddles and a couple times we had to get out and drag the heavily-laden canoes across the sandy bottom. North Bay was glassy. We stopped for coffee and a snack on a 5-star campsite at the entrance to the South Lake channel. Many nice bass, pike and bluegills were spooked by our canoes in the shallow water of the channel leading to South Lake. We were on Shade Lake by 2:00 and ready for a swim. Bugs were a non-issue—black flies had already come and gone and it was too dry for the mosquitoes. Nice 4-star campsite on the peninsula dividing the lake with a narrow, sandy landing big enough for one canoe at a time and great entry for swimming. Mature red pines, clear water, room for 3-4 tents and a decent fire pit and seating with limited lake views. Set up camp, our 8-day conservation fishing licenses not yet active, we tried to nap but too hot in the tents so we swam, then paddled over to view the pictographs. Two minimal images—three red lines repeated twice—possibly missing some elements. Michael Furtman's book suggests they might represent thunderbirds, my thought is they might be someone's signature marking hunting or trapping territory.

Natural High chicken&broccoli for dinner which was OK, but much better with the addition of JW's home-grown red pepper flakes. Tang&rum cocktails and a small fire, moon almost full, sky clearing and wind dying in the evening. Warm and humid for sleeping, beavers active during the night and a robin began singing around 4AM. We all heard something come down to the water early in the morning and take a long drink but no one looked out to see what it was.
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06/21/2010 07:28PM  
I have taken the liberty of pasting together your trip reports in one thread, let me know if this is OK,
06/24/2010 03:16PM  

Day 2, May 25, 2010: Shade Lake to Yum Yum Lake

Big sausage&egg skillet breakfast (farm fresh, free-range eggs, never washed or refrigerated, which is supposed to help them keep longer), fishing tackle rigged up and away by 8:15. Tough portage from No-Name Lake to Grey Lake: seemed longer than 100 rods. Steep climb from No-Name Lake, hang a right at the intersection, then a bog crossing on random logs, another steep climb and descent to Grey. Hot and sunny but not many mosquitoes. I love the functionality of my Red Rocks double food-barrel Super Pack but it's a killer on long portages, 2 barrels packed with food and miscellaneous gear for 4 guys /10 days. It's comfortable but heavy, 60+ pounds (12 pounds empty). Caught lots of largemouth bass on Grey Lake. Yum Yum Lake by 2PM after fishing Grey for about an hour.

JW caught a big lake trout paddling through the narrows on Yum Yum but the wind, pollen in the water and the fact that it was mid-day and sunny made fishing challenging. Hilltop campsite on a peninsula midway down the lake with spectacular views—poor landing, steep climb and small tent pads though (good for two tents, tight for four). We checked the other sites and this was the best. Yum Yum is densely forested with pines. Intense thunderstorm in the late afternoon—2” in less than an hour with close lightning strikes brought out hordes of mosquitoes but the moisture desperately needed, the forest very dry. Orchids, trout lilies, bunchberry and wild rose blooming.

B&J out fishing the bay behind camp after the rain—topwater smallmouth bass on Rapala Skitter Pops. Cool and foggy at 10PM, frogs and toads singing along with millions of mosquitoes.

06/24/2010 03:24PM  
06/21/2010 07:01PM

Day 3, May 26, 2010: Yum Yum Lake to McNiece Lake

Up early, ~6AM, coffee, granola, then out in a light rain to fish Yum Yum. Calm, “smoke on the water” effect. Nice 18” smallmouth bass along the north shore, on a Heddon Zara Puppy (frog color), then lost the lure to another nice bass due to a bad knot—just learning to tie the Uni-Knot. Fishing slow, lots of small males. The Zara Puppy always beats the Heddon Baby Torpedo and the Rapala Skitter Pop as far as I am concerned although I've got some tremendous strikes and catches on the Torpedo filed away in my memory from trips gone by. SB sticks with a Rapala Tail Dancer, white with a red lip (“Bleeding Pearl”, 23/4”, 5/16 oz.), which seems to work on everything.
BA & JW both had good results on top water lures also. The bay where the infamous Yum Yum portage trailhead is located is very beautiful with multi-colored cliffs and large red & white pines. The colors are rich and saturated after last night's heavy rain.

Venison/jalapeno/cheese salami on bagels with honey mustard for early lunch. 2 or 3 canoes passing through from the Yum Yum portage--first people we've seen since North Bay. Good bass fishing on the way to the Shan Walshe Lake portage.

Easy portage into Shan Walshe Lake, northeast side showing effects of the recent forest fire. Good smallmouth fishing. Beautiful sunny, cool, breezy day for travel. A stream flows into Shan Walshe from McNiece Lake and there's a lovely old cedar grove at it's outlet which is also the beginning of the portage. The hillsides are burned but the portage is in a small valley and the pines and cedars were partially protected and are spectacular—I managed to trip, fall and bang up my knee and shin pretty good rubbernecking at the trees. Green understory of sapling birch and pine, raspberry and blueberry bushes glowing green in the afternoon sun.

Spectacular views from the McNiece campsite on the north shore up on a bluff—fire pit on the lower tier, tent pads up higher and a bog and little waterfall just to the west provides background music of falling water and incredible chorus of frogs and toads begin singing at dusk and continue all night. The water is very high in McNiece in contrast to the rest of the lakes we have been on and the fishing poor-- could be all the pollen in the water or the warm water. Another swim, the water very pleasant—probably in the 60's temperature-wise. Small grilling fire for bratwurst and then a campfire with a spectacular backdrop. A cooler night finally with temps in the mid-40's.

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