BWCA EP1 Trout Lake - general info Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/15/2016 12:20AM  
Hello all. Got permits late in the game this year, so there were not many choices left for our entry date. Just jumped on EP1 Trout because I've always wanted to fish Pine and Buck. 7 campers. 6 nights. Looking for a relatively easy trip and a good base-camping site so we can spend time exploring and fishing.

My main question: Is it possible at all to get from Pine to Buck on that creek? Looking to avoid those two 200+ rod portages from Chad.

Any other general advice about the area? Cool sights to see? Would love to hear some stories!

I've read this forum many times but this is my first post!
 
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Contrarian
  
07/15/2016 10:30AM  
A couple thoughts and tip:

Have you considered whether you are paddling across lake Vermilion or getting a tow? You may know this already, but you have to cross Vermilion to get to the Trout entry. Most folks park on Moccasin Point.

Most reports on this site are that the creek from Pine to Buck is either not navigable/not worth the work. I haven't tried it personally.

Pine is a very pretty, good sized lake with decent fishing and a lot of places to get out of the wind. I like it, and have base camped there.

To travel to Buck, you should probably go through Chad, but you have two options. If the wind is up and against you on Trout, take the 260(ish) portage into Pine lake, go up the Pine Creek, and portage to Chad (another lake I like, but not for walleye). Note that the Chad portage has a false ending of sorts. It ends in a beaver pond you need to paddle across, unload, and then finish the last few feet of your portage into Chad.

If the wind is on your favor on Trout, and you don't care to see Pine, continue paddling up Trout to Pine creek, which is much further north on Trout. That saves you the 260 into Pine but adds a good paddle (and if you paddled across Vermilion, you will have done some fair paddling by that point).

Pine creek is very slow and meandering with a lot of twists and turns. There can be a few beaver dams to pull over but nothing too bad. There are shallow spots depending on water level, with the worst being a short section between Trout and the Chad portage. I have seen beavers swimming around each of the three times I have been on the river.

I enjoy this area. You typically see few other travelers after Trout lake.
Good luck!
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/15/2016 11:18AM  
Thanks Contrarian! Especially like to hear that we won't see many people after Trout. We have a first timer from Belgium on this trip and it'd be great if he gets to experience some isolation.

I've never gotten a tow before but am seriously considering it this time. The quicker we get to base camp the better. I've heard you can get a tow from Moccasin Point Marine and one other place I can't remember the name. North Country?

Thanks again for the tips! very helpful.
Contrarian
  
07/15/2016 11:32AM  
We have used the gentlemen from Trout Lake Guide Service for the tow from Moccasin point to the portage, 218-780-3610. He also runs the motorized portage between Vermilion and Trout. I have not used any other company so can't speak to the ones you listed.
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/15/2016 12:18PM  
quote Contrarian: "We have used the gentlemen from Trout Lake Guide Service for the tow from Moccasin point to the portage, 218-780-3610. He also runs the motorized portage between Vermilion and Trout. I have not used any other company so can't speak to the ones you listed. "


Will give them a call. Thanks!
napinch
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/15/2016 01:09PM  
If you use the search function, you should find pretty much information pertaining to Pine and Buck. I based-camped on Pine a few years ago - It is a pretty lake and the fishing was pretty good. There are a number of members on this board who have great success on both Pine and Buck. Most choose to stay on Pine or Buck. Trying to go to Buck for a day would be a fair amount of work to fish. If you stay on Buck, you can do day trips to Western or back to Chad.

Like Contrarian had stated, you may want to get a tow across Vermillion. If you are going to Buck and paddling, you want to make sure you give yourself enough time as it would take you roughly 7+ hours to get there. (16.5 miles - paddle and portage)

Enjoy your trip
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/15/2016 01:28PM  
Thanks napinch!

deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/15/2016 02:19PM  
Just read a report that says the site on Buck is very small. We have 7 campers, maybe 3-4 tents. Will that be an issue on Buck?
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/20/2016 01:00PM  
quote Contrarian: "We have used the gentlemen from Trout Lake Guide Service for the tow from Moccasin point to the portage, 218-780-3610. He also runs the motorized portage between Vermilion and Trout. I have not used any other company so can't speak to the ones you listed. "


Just called Lonnie. Got quoted $75 per canoe. That seems way too steep.
napinch
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/20/2016 01:43PM  
I have not been on Buck, but based upon campsite analysis, it may be tight for 7 people. I guess that depends on how many tent sites you need.

If you decide to go to Pine, that is very doable without the tow. Many others that go through that entry point go without a tow. Yes, Vermillion is a big lake, but it is only about a 3.5 mile paddle to the shorter Trout lake portage. As long as the weather is okay, then you should be alright. Trout is very big too, but the Pine lake portage is on the lower end of the lake - won't have to paddle out in the bigger part of the lake.

There are a number of sites on Pine that can support more than 2 or 3 tents.
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/20/2016 02:55PM  
Thanks again napinch!
pastorjsackett
distinguished member(1213)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/20/2016 06:43PM  
Welcome to the posting world!

This works both ways. I am interested in Pine so I'll just "listen in" and wait for your report.

Good luck!

PS I usually opt for a tow on big water like Vermillion.....though I myself have never been there.
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/20/2016 06:46PM  
quote pastorjsackett: "Welcome to the posting world!
"

Thanks pastorksackett! Update, Lonnie did offer a $75 discount on 4 boats. $225 total. Nice guy. I just didn't expect it to be that high, more like $50 for the whole thing. IDK I've never done it before so I was wrong.
napinch
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/21/2016 06:31AM  
For what is worth, when we went to Pine, we also got the tow from Lonnie and will second that he is a nice guy. We also went with the automated carry / pull across the longer portage into Trout. (Was less informed of both portages)

But I think if you have them drop you off at the shorter portage, it is just a 40 rod or so carry.
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/21/2016 10:39AM  
quote napinch:
But I think if you have them drop you off at the shorter portage, it is just a 40 rod or so carry."

How do we find the shorter portage?
napinch
distinguished member (157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/21/2016 12:52PM  
If you look at the BWCA map for the Trout entry / portages, you should see two routes; shorter portage is on the left side. If you are getting a tow on Vermillion, just ask Lonnie if he can drop you off near the short portage. They may not be able to take all of the way there due to a shallow channel / creek that you must navigate up to the portage.

Have fun!
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/21/2016 01:12PM  
I see it now thanks!
07/21/2016 02:32PM  
I would also recommend the tow on Vermilion. It is huge and unpredictable in any kind of wind. The tow saves you hours of paddling. We took the ride across the Trout portage on the way in and the short portage from Trout on the way back. They pull all your gear and people on a 4 wheeler and drop you into Trout in 2 minutes.

From there I would take the long portage to Pine instead of paddling all the way up to Pine Creek. It is long but not very hard.

There is a very nice campsite on the south side of the large island on Pine which would be perfect for a larger group like yours. Good fishing for walleyes and smallmouth on Pine. From there Chad, Buck, Western, and Glenmore are all easy daytrips with nothing but a back pack, lunch, and fishing tackle. Good walleye fishing in all except Chad but that one has largemouth bass which are kind of rare in the area. Lots of solitude in the area for a spot so close to an EP and a huge lake like Vermilion. We heard wolves every night.

DO NOT try to cut the portages by taking Buck or Glenmore Creek. We spent 6 hours bushwhacking in chest deep muck and pulling over dozens of beaver dams when we tried to take a "shortcut" from Glenmore back to Pine.

Nice area. I was just talking to my neighbor last night about a trip back up in there. You will like it.
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/21/2016 03:31PM  
Thanks Jamotrade!

quote jamotrade: "
From there Chad, Buck, Western, and Glenmore are all easy daytrips with nothing but a back pack, lunch, and fishing tackle. ."


You'd consider a day trip from Pine to Buck easy?
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
07/21/2016 03:41PM  
quote jamotrade: " They pull all your gear and people on a 4 wheeler and drop you into Trout in 2 minutes. "


Lonnie quoted me an additional $35 per two canoes to haul us over the Trout portage.
jrlatt
distinguished member (479)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
07/23/2016 08:50AM  
Hello

Me and a friend booked late too. I was considering trout, but we went with moose. Sounds like a nice trip other than Vermilion. From what I have heard on moose it is 25.00 dollars a person one way. We are debating getting a tow at least one way. I have never had a tow in 25+ years of going to BWCA. If you don't take the tow, plan early or late to go across. Allow extra time to wait out the wind if need be. Have a great trip

jrlatt
07/24/2016 12:17PM  
Vermillion is a tough lake to paddle. Not only wind dangers, but lots of big boats running helter skelter at high speeds. When I went to EP 1, we used Voyageur North North Outfitters for a tow. They gave us a reasonable rate for two nights in the bunkhouse, canoe rental, and the tow. As others have said, Pine is a good fishing lake and very quiet.
07/25/2016 12:35PM  
quote deadriver: "Thanks Jamotrade!


quote jamotrade: "
From there Chad, Buck, Western, and Glenmore are all easy daytrips with nothing but a back pack, lunch, and fishing tackle. ."



You'd consider a day trip from Pine to Buck easy? "


Yes. The paddle on Pine creek is only about 30 minutes or so to get to the Chad portage. This portage was flooded by beaver activity when we were there but we just skirted the swampy area and made it to Chad in less than 30 minutes. I'm sure that the trail has been more established by now so you should have an easier time. The portage to Buck was also flooded but not a big deal. I would estimate that the trip to Buck would be under 2 hours. We spent about 1.5 hours fishing Buck for walleyes and a few nice bluegills, then moved over to Western for a while and got into some numbers of eater walleyes and a big northern. By the time we got to Glenmore we fished for about 30 minutes and had no luck but it was very windy so we stopped at the campsite for lunch and then made the horrible decision to bushwhack home on the creek.
07/25/2016 12:43PM  
quote deadriver: "
quote jamotrade: " They pull all your gear and people on a 4 wheeler and drop you into Trout in 2 minutes. "



Lonnie quoted me an additional $35 per two canoes to haul us over the Trout portage. "


That's right. It costs about $35 round trip. With 4 paddlers that's about $4 apiece each way for the time and energy savings. We only had 2 of us and I would still say it was worth it.
deadriver
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
12/13/2016 04:25PM  
Thanks for your help everyone. Here's my trip report.

http://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=978397&forumID=19&confID=1
 
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