Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Sylvania Wilderness June 2010
by Gunflinter

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/12/2010
Entry Point: Other
Exit Point: Other  
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
I've got a 5 day trip planned to Saganaga in July and I had the opportunity to visit Sylvania for the first time in 33 years.
My wife and I, and our friends Ron and Jessica spent the week of 6/4-6/11 at a cabin outside Eagle River, WI. I’ve visited this area many times and keep coming back. This year the fishing was off compared to other years but we caught many 16 inch SM bass and a number of northerns.

SM from Big Portage Lake in WI.

At the end of the week my wife rode back home to Missouri with our friends and I headed a short distance north to Sylvania Wilderness. My wife and I were there 33 years ago when she was pregnant with our first son who is now 32.

I was suppose to enter on Sunday but the guy who had the spot I was to camp at did not show up on Friday or Saturday so they let me head in on Saturday. I had selected Crooked Lake to camp on because that was what was available when I applied. At Sylvania you have to select a certain campsite which is good because you’re guaranteed to have a site but bad because if you don’t like the site you’re stuck. My site had a great landing area that was easy to unload at but it was a good long walk back from the water and didn’t provide much breeze or view of the lake. Crooked Lake is the only lake that allows motorized boats and there plenty coming and going all day.

I’m not big on preparing meals but I did have eggs and bacon several mornings and mixed up some fettuchini for super one night. I took in a one gallon container of frozen water inside a soft plastic cooler and it stayed frozen/cold all four days. I’m sure this wouldn’t have been the case if the weather had been hot.

I fished on Crooked a little with no success but did catch a reasonable number of SM bass on High Lake which was only a 45 minute canoe trip and 30 rod portage away. The largest fish was 17 inches and many were 16. High Lake is supposed to have Lake Trout and I did try trolling a little with no success. I did take in a fish finder and it read 89 feet at the deepest spot I could find. The fish finder (see photo) worked great. I put a little vaseline on the two suctions cups that I attached the transducer to and it held well. I’m very non-technical but I was able to buy an adapter to allow use with AA batteries at Radio Shack for a couple of bucks and it worked perfectly. A small piece of bungee cord held it in place on the front thwart. The eight batteries lasted all week in WI and then four more days at Sylvania.


The weather was rainy but very little wind. All in all I think it was a pretty good shake down trip for my upcoming BWCA solo trip in July. Debbie at Seagull Outfitters is going to tow me into Red Rock bay where I’ll base camp. I plan on fishing Red Rock Lake, Roy Lake and Saganaga if the winds aren’t too bad.

One more picture. This is three guys who have never uttered the words single portage.