Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Horse Lake Pike
by SpringFever

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 08/17/2008
Entry & Exit Point: Mudro Lake (EP 23)
Number of Days: 6
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
My now fifteen year old son was with me two years ago when I caught the largest northern pike of my 47 year life. I caught it in Lake Vermillion, while fishing primarily for small mouth bass. I caught it on my ultralight, with six pound test, no steel leader, and no landing net. That made for an adventurous catch. The fish measured 36 inches in length. According to the weight charts it was about a 12 - 14 pound fish. Well my son caught the pike fever that day, and had asked me numerous times to get him out pike fishing up north again. By last winter I became convinced that a trip to the BWCA was in order, thereby scratching that itch, and one or two of my own at the same time. It had been, after all, twenty years since my last trip to the BWCA. Well, like a good little camper, I researched lakes that would offer all of the things I was looking for, including good pike fishing, and chose Horse Lake as our fishing destination. My goal was to take a half day to get to good lake, then stay there for the duration of my stay. I also wanted a place where a day trip was feasible. Lower Basswood Falls and the pictographs north of there seemed to fit that bill. Horse Lake fit the bill in both respects. I reserved my entry point permit in February, and then was chomping at the bit for months. I literally had to stop dreaming about it because I was getting all worked up, and I was still four or five months from the start of the trip. As the entry date drew near, my brother, who had worked as a linguist in Italy for the last 20 years, and had dreamed of the northern part of Minnesota for two decades, showed great interest in coming with us. I let my son decide whether or not we should invite my brother, and he decided to do so. I'm sure he, in part, wanted more than just my company for those five days. So it was settled, the three of us would go to Horse Lake in search of northern pike. I didn't care if I caught any fish at all. I was hoping very much, however, to put my son and brother on some world class northern pike. I yearned more for the solitude, peace, and beauty of the BWCA. As you will read, mission accomplished on both fronts.
Day 1 of 6
Sunday, August 17, 2008 We left the Twin Cities at about noon and headed for Ely. Lunch on the way, stopped at the Kawishiwi Ranger Station to watch “the movie” and to pick up our permit. Ranger strongly suggested that we NOT leave my gas stove behind when we went in the next day. "Never know when a fire ban might be issued," she insisted. We took her advice and did not regret it. Spent the night at the outfitter’s bunk house. All set for tomorrow.