Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

LacLaCroix (It's A Really Big Lake)
by wrestlencanoe

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/26/2013
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)
Exit Point: Moose/Portage River (north) (EP 16)  
Number of Days: 8
Group Size: 3
Trip Introduction:
We had been planning this trip ever since we got back from last year’s trip which was LIS north to Snow Bay, Takucmich, Gun, and Steep, Slim, Loon and back out through LIS North. This year we planned to enter LIS North and Exit Moose River traversing through a large part of Lac La Croix. Once again it would be myself, and my sons, Sam and Ryan taking part in the adventure.
June 25, 2013-Made the drive up to Ely from Iowa and checked in with Voyager North Outfitters. We had reserved a room for the night before our trip and an 18.5 foot Souris River canoe. They would also help with the logistics as I was leaving our vehicle at Moose River North exit and they would transport us to our entry at Little Indian Sioux.

June 26, 2013- Woke up at 5a.m., loaded up, grabbed the leaches and we were following the Voyager North van down the Echo Trail by 5:30. We decided to eat our breakfast on the road which consisted of some pastries that we picked up at the Ely grocery store the night before and a half gallon of chocolate milk shared between the 3 of us. Let me just say that it is a challenge to drink milk out of the jug while traveling on a bumpy, twisty, up and down road. Left our vehicle at #16 Moose River, piled into the VN van and proceeded to LIS#14 by 6:30. We unloaded, deeted up, and were on the water by 7 a.m. Enjoyed overcast skies down the Little Indian Sioux, though the Paunesses and to Loon. We encountered light rain all across Loon and up Beatty Portage. Once on Lac La Croix it became partly cloudy all the way to Snow Bay. The best thing about the weather today was the light winds, Something I really appreciate when traveling across big waters. Picked out a campsite and had camp set up by 2:30. Rested, ate, and did a little fishing in the evening.
June 27, 2013-Although we really like the Snow Bay area(Spent a couple of nights here last year) , we decided we would pack up and move over to an out of the way lake called Trillium. We were on the water by 9:30 and really not in a hurry, we had all day to get there. Going East we decided to try the unmarked portage out of Snow Bay instead of going around. We went around last year on our way to Takucmich and just thought we would try something different. My miscalculation put us in the wrong mini-bay and then went to the northern mini- bay and found it. I would guess it’s a 30 rod easy portage out of snow bay. Checked out a few campsites along the way, none appeared to have much use and then managed a nice northern right before the portage into Takucmich. Stopped and had lunch on beautiful Lake Takucmich and worked our way over to Trillium as the wind was picking up. The portage into Trillium is a short one but it’s all up a steep hill. Made camp on Trillium at the only site. I would give the campsite a 1 star(tick city) but the seclusion and beauty of the area 5 stars. Took the canoe out after supper and we all caught 10-14 inch small mouths and large mouths until we were tired of catching them.

June 28 and 29, 2013 we awoke to clouds and light winds and decided to head for the campsite at LA Croix where it opens up, camp and fish and make our big crossing the following day. By now me and the boys kind of have a rhythm as far as packing/ portaging/and general canoe camp stuff. As for navigation I have the maps in the stern and Sam runs the Garmin in the bow. Ryan entertains us in the middle. It doesn’t take long for us to get back on LA Croix to the campsite before the crossing. As soon as we make it to shore at the camp site the mosquitos swarm us. I take a look around the site and it looks as though it hadn’t been used in a long time. I would really like to stay here for the main reason being the area around it looks very fishable. The mosquitoes keep attacking; I’m talking the worst I’ve ever seen. We get back in the canoe and leave this site to the skeets. The winds are light so we press on crossing the wide expanse of LA Croix. We paddled with a purpose across the big lake as I didn’t want to get caught so far off shore if the winds picked up. We made it to the narrows in about an hour and took a little break at a nice sandy landing in the narrows. It was still early afternoon so we decided to keep going for another hour and made camp at a wonderful Island site with good landings on 2 sides. We ended up staying at this site for 2 nights, relaxing, fishing and exploring the area. Knowing what I do now I would’ve stayed another day at this site, nobody around and the fishing was good.
.Big Eye of the trip
June 30, 2013-Today we wanted to check out Toe Lake so we packed up and moved. There is a camp site close to the Toe portage so we decided we would drop our gear there, fish Toe and set up when we were done fishing. I had heard rumors that Toe contained a strange color walleye that I thought would be cool to see. Toe is a very nice lake but all we saw were regular colored bass and northern. It wasn’t giving up its secret colored eyes to us. Well, it was still early when we made it back to the site where we left our gear so we continued on to Fish Stake Narrows. When we got there we decided to just keep going. As we got closer to Tiger Bay we began seeing people (something we hadn’t seen since Beatty portage) and the campsites were filled. We ended up taking an empty site across from bottle portage. - Toe Lake Bass
July 1st, 2013 Happy Canada Day! Today was spent paddling around fishing and exploring the Tiger Bay, Boulder Bay, and Boulder River area. Even though most of the camp sites were occupied in this area, it still didn’t have that crowded feel. We also went over to the Canadian side of La Croix and filled up our Nalgene Bottles. It just seemed right to drink Canadian water on Canada Day.

July 2, 2013 Moved to Agnes. Not a far move by any means. I had heard good things about the lake and it would also be closer to our exit on July 3rd. We had camp set up by 11a.m. and did a little swimming. After supper we did a little fishing and caught a few small walleye and crappie. Before hitting the tent for the night we packed up most of the gear as we planned an early exit in the morning.

July 3, 2013 we got up today at zero dark thirty (Actually 5) and on the water at 5:30. The sun was just coming up as we paddled out of Agnes. We made good time and didn’t see anyone else on the water until we were past Nina Moose. We hit the Moose River parking lot at 10a.m. and were on the Echo Trail heading back to Ely by 11a.m. Back in Ely we dropped off our canoe at VN, showered up and spoke with John about our wonderful trip. Souvenirs and Subway then on the road. We were home by 9:30 and already planning our next adventure.