Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Brule Lake
by jjb2275

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/17/2013
Entry & Exit Point: Brule Lake (EP 41)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
2 person base-camping trip using Brule Lake as our entry point. Main purpose was fishing
My brother-in-law and I wanted to experience the BWCA and do some fishing. It was my 2nd trip and his 1st trip. While I was leery of using Brule Lake as an entry point due to the size and possibility of wind/wave action, I was told of great fishing and great scenery. We got up to the landing by 9 am Monday morning and quickly donned our rain gear and a quick bath of OFF before the mosquitos drained us of all our blood. We loaded up the canoe and headed out on a dreary overcast morning with light sprinkles and little wind. We had no problem crossing the lake on our way to Cone Bay and a potential campsite. It took 1 hour of paddling to reach Cone Bay. After not being too impressed with any of the campsites we headed up into South Cone and ended up making the campsite on the island our home. It is a great location and there is a great tent pad right by the water.

Our main focus was fishing and we had to work hard for the fish. In 3 days of fishing (8-10 hrs/day) we only caught 3 small walleyes, 6 hammerhandle pike and around 20 smallies (most in the 12-16 inch range). We worked hard for the fish we caught. The only pattern we were able to find was casting black/gold Rapalas toward large brushy trees in the water over shorelines with deep drop-offs. That is where we caught almost every fish. We fished all 3 Cone lakes, Cliff Lake, and Brule. We spent one day on Brule fishing all the islands in Cone Bay and the nearby islands on the main lake, but we only raised 2 fish around the islands. It was great looking water and lake structure. We fished shallow, deep, artificials, jigs, and leeches but alas no fish. We did keep 4 small fish for a meal. The interesting thing was that all 4 fish (both smallies and walleye) were full of spawn (both males and females).

Overall we had a great campsite, great weather and a great time despite the poor fishing. When we left Thursday morning to cross Brule the entire lake was glass. We felt very fortunate to not have to deal with big waves/wind on either trip across the lake. I’m looking forward to another trip next year, but will probably consider another location.