Beaverhouse to LLC June 2015
Day 1 June 5th – Wake up on Crane Lake after a late night arrival from Minneapolis. Our group is 3 generations myself (San Diego, CA), brother (Hailey, Idaho), father (Hailey, Idaho), nephew (Santa Cruz, CA) and a good college buddy (Crested Butte, CO). Shuttle via boat and Suburban to a midday start with clear blue skies on Beaverhouse. Goal is to get to Jean lake Day 1 we will see. Our group of 5 guys filled up a 2 man canoe and one 3 man. We were skeptical about the 3 man but ended up really liking it for fishing as one guy mans the canoe or trolls while the other 2 fish. Quick visit to Ranger station then on to Quetico Lake but first 10 bass in the river between Beaverhouse and Q we were like eager kids and had to wet a line. Quickly landed a 28” laker on Quetico lake that fought like a monster great way to start the trip. One 26” Walleye caught from shore on Quetico lake during our shore lunch that was a surprise. Caught in 5ft of water under sunny skies at 1 pm what the heck? We were not expecting great fishing on this lake and so far we have been impressed. Wind in our face so a tough day of paddling we did not make it to Jean day 1 but that was fine. We were not expecting great fishing on Quetico and were mostly traveling but actually had great fishing and ended the day with 8 trout and 9 walleye plus some bass and pike… really pleased with the size of the walleye 22-26” and quality trout. Camped on 4* Quetico ¾ of the way down great site with many frogs in swamp behind us. Saw nice black bear on shoreline but did not get picture that is our first "large" mammal in the park in the last 3 trips. Dinner is fried walleye and spinach salad we couldn't be happier.
Day 2 June 6th – Fished/paddled Quetico to Jean with more good walleye action on points and lots of 26” LT. Rewk was besting me on his Rapala "Fat Free Shad" I was trolling my favorite Rapala Deep Taildancer. I caught 1 LT that was a stout fish much rounder than the rest. Then on to Conk where we had some of the best SB action of the trip fish up to 20” on the fly. Caught about 25 of those before the rains started pounding down. Dove into the bags for rain gear and we were already drenched we are not used to that kind of rain in SoCal! Our group split up as we had lost one of the walleye on the stringer getting wood in a beaver dam. Luckily when we went back we saw a seagull dive in on it and recovered the fish before anyone else made it dinner. We made it to the 4* camp on the point on Jean and set up camp and shelter for the night inside the trees where there was more protection. Approx. 2” of rain fell on us that night it was a soaking glad it cleared up early the next day. Caught 20” bass on fly off camp point. That camp had been destroyed by previous campers lots of trash/TB a bummer to see people not take care of these places after making all the effort to get out here. Jean is a beautiful lake I could come back here for a solid week. Dinner pesto pasta with chicken cooked under the tarp a good hot meal after a long wet day.
Day 3 June 7th – Fished our way down Jean not much action but grand slam on the troll pretty quick which was cool. On our way to the mid lake pinch point we found a shallow reef and busted a lot of nice 18” – 20” bass going 3/3 at two different times. Shore lunch on one of the pinch point campsites that is a pretty area would like to camp there next time. We swam here and dried out some gear while eating walleye fillets this is the good stuff. In the afternoon we found our best bass action of the trip by far in “Little Jean” it was insane…. Bass up to 20.5” which was our biggest of the trip we never got a legit 21” but tons in the 18” – 20” and they were tearing up the topwater. For some reason its much easier to hook fish on the fly lots of popper fished missed. We took turns trading the rod after every missed/caught fish. Only fished about 1/10th of that area we just couldn’t move our canoe so much action! Would have definetly liked to have spent more time there and we actually found one nice camp on the 1st bay in. Really pretty little spot but poor landing at least in my opinion as I got wet checking it out. Saw loon on nest/eggs that was cool. Jean was a great all around lake caught a few nice 22” walleye on our way to the portage to Burntside where we would camp that night. Didn’t get to camp until dark a full day on the water and hard to tear away from the hot action on Little Jean. The cool camp with the fireplace under the big rock was taken by 2 guys so we moved on to a very nice camp on the eastern shoreline. Ribeyes that we had brought in frozen for dinner this night delicious!
Day 4 – June 8th. Camped at the 5* on Burntside and would have layover day here and fish the north side of the lake are around the middle lake camps. Pancake breakfast with real maple syrup and Starbucks "Vias". Burntside was good but nothing spectacular fishing wise a little tough for walleye/bass lots of small pike. Biggest walleye 24” biggest bass 20” but we worked hard for not tons of fish. Fishing might have been off with an hour of thunderstorms and torrential downpour in the afternoon we had to pull over on shore and wait it out. Cool photos and a nice cooling off. A smoky haze rolled in in the afternoon and would stay a day we would later hear it was some fires buring in Canada? Not exactly sure what caused it but the haze was pretty solid for a day. Late afternoon dinner of brats/peppers/onions. Fished the night bite for waldos but not much shaking caught 3 fish.
Day 5 – June 9th. Travel day do Bentpine… Mid am departure to the west side of Burntside and up into the little bay on the north west side but not much going on in there but a few bass and pike. Cool spot. Then on down the river to Clair and long portage into Bentpine that one had us sweating the map says 68 rods but I think it had to be 168 with large hill towards Bentpine. Clair is a pretty lake we just busted through would have liked to spend more time there. Good to get a sweat on as the other portages had been almost too easy. Had insane walleye action on one of the no named lakes before Claire catching fish every cast but all small. Found cool moose rack as well. We paddled to the 5* camp on Bentpine at dusk and it was taken... bummer! So we had to back track to the 4* which was a beauty as well with a great fireplace right on the water. Life is good and we are well into the Quetico routine at this point. Homemade ratatouille that one of our crew had made and freeze dried in colorado with the addition of some local summer sausage again no complaints from everyone.
Day 6 – June 10th – Layover day on Bentpine fished the East bays and found tons of walleye but nothing huge biggest 21” but most were 16-18 and one 37” Pike. Bentpine was beautiful but lots of small walleye (tons of 16-18” fish) and no big dogs with the exception of huge pike… biggest landed 37” my Dad dropped a 40” at the boat without a photo he was seriously bummed. I had a fish gripper that I had grabbed the big pike with for him and when I went to hand it over to him the fish gave a good headshake and was off. Overall not sure I would go back to Bentpine just because the size of the walleye were all really small not like we are used to on other lakes including Jean/Quetico this trip where we caught fish up to 26”. Could have just been us as I know this is one of the most popular walleye lakes in the park. I guess it just depends if your after size or numbers. Caught 1 SMB on Bentpine believe it or not I know you said they were not in there but there was definitely 1. There were two different groups camped on Bentpine unusual this far out. Beautiful evening out on the water with 10 walleye landed (biggest 20”) with my dad. Cool shots of him this evening next to the campfire with the fire roaring next to the lake. Some red wine in bags for dinner and fish tacos with cabo sauce, cabbage, lime and hot sauce and we called it a night.
Day 7 June 11th – Early am departure we were headed to Tanner so wanted to get an early start on this long day not really knowing where we were headed and unsure of the Maligne rapids/portages. Nice to get an early start our am’s had been lagging the last few days with pancakes, 3rd cups of coffee and lots of BS and gear talk. Really good fishing on March Lake on way to Sturgeon that is a great little lake would happily camp there. Our first walleye in here was 22” - bigger than all of the Bentpine fish plus some nice bass. Had lunch on the 4* island site on Sturgeon nice site but very heavily used. Salami and cheese on tricuits. Then on to Maligne which was new territory for us… Heading down the Maligne was a hoot we crushed the walleye and some really nice 20” bass with strong shoulders. This afternoon we felt like Lewis and Clark as every turn had new fishing holes, the challenge of some fun water and always on the lookout for dangerous rapids. Lots of fun fishing in the river and below rapids. My bro lost one bass at the boat below the falls closest to Sturgeon that we were sure would have crushed our 20.5” big fish for the trip. It was a tank he was yelling “get out the driftwood”… and when I saw it I agreed it was a pig. Lots of paddling to get to the Dam camp on Tanner long push this day especially for my 73 year old dad he is still solid when it comes to this stuff which is awesome. Bentpine to Tanner in one day is about 20 miles I think. Lots of walleye and good size (22”) below Tanner dam and a few other spots where the walleye action was hot n heavy on 20” fish. Dinner is our last fish fry of the trip and we are beat. We see snapping turtles digging their holes and laying eggs near this camp.
Day 8 – June 12th – Last day – early am wake-up to find our way out and get pick up at LLC by 10:30. Another day where we are not really sure how long it will take us so we try to get an early start. Some nice bass on Tanner topwater. More time wasted below Tanner rapids where my bro catches fat 20.5” bass looked bigger. We don’t move quickly in our group someone is always fishing so its good we were on the water early… From there rods were put away and we headed straight out to shuttle pick up on LLC. Ran into guys camped at Twin Falls leaving Poobah a day early not sure why asked us to get them shuttle from Zups which we did. Beer cheers in the boat and an easy ride out to Crane Lake. Another great trip in the books and a fun new route that we all really enjoyed. Quality time in the outdoors with a great group what more can you ask for. We meet up in Minneapolis with my wife and 2 daughters (2 and 4) for a BBQ with family before heading our separate ways home. Next years trip might be a base camp trip to McAree or ?? and we bring some of the youngsters along. Really looking forward to getting my girls in the park for a few nights. Thx for reading hope you enjoyed the report!