Poplar to Winchell Loop
We woke up early morning on Wednesday eager to get on the road. So, we ate a quick egg bake my mother made for us and headed out on our adventure. We all had arrived at our home in Northern Wisconsin on Tuesday night and finished packing and preparing all the gear. The forecast was for quite a bit of rain so I was a little worried but we were hoping for the best.
The group was my brother and his girlfriend, my best friend from college and his wife, and then myself and another friend from college as well as a dog. 3 of us had been up before and 3 newbies so we planned a little easier trip for the 3 girls to get their feet wet. The area we were going was scenic with easy portages. My brother and I love going for the fishing but we decided to make a sacrifice for the group.
It is a 4 hour drive up to Grand Marais from our house. We stopped and got some fishing licenses as well as at the World's best donuts in Grand Marais (they were amazing). Stopped by the Gunflint Ranger station as well then were on our way up the Gunflint. We were paddling out from our entry point at Poplar Lake at like 10:30am
The forecast was for a rainy day but it was sunny and mid 60s with a slight breeze at our backs as we got under way. (Couldn't ask for a better day to start on).The portages were all pretty easy and went fairly smooth dispite our 3 greenhorns. We were a little slow at first but not too bad. Our goal for the day was Horseshoe. We heard that it could be pretty busy but that it had good fishing and was a pretty lake; so we were hoping on a Wednesday it wouldn’t be too busy. The first campsite was open but that was our 4th choice so we kept going. The two at the bend of the lake that we wanted were both taken so we settled on the one on the North shore of the southern part of the shoe. It was a spacious site, pretty wooded with two good tent pads so it worked for us. We unpacked our gear and explored a bit and then ate some lunch. We had summer sausage, bagels, cheese, granola bars and some trail mix.
Then after lunch we set up the rest of camp and 2 canoes headed out fishing and the other went to read and sun bathe. Our canoe only caught a few little smallies and a couple Northerns in a couple hours of fishing, which was surprising and disappointing to me. I do not claim to be a great fisherman but I do decent normally. The other canoe only caught one smallie as well so the fishing was quite slow but we were hopeful that the evening bite would be decent. We headed back to camp, collected some firewood, and relaxed a bit. Some people took naps and a few others read and talked and just enjoyed the still and quite of the Boundary Waters. We had an early supper of rice a roni and chicken and then headed out fishing. Unfortunately, the evening fishing was pretty slow as well. I managed a few walleyes in a couple hours but that was about it. My buddy is pretty new to fishing and so I was teaching him how to jig and he kept getting snagged which was a little frustrating. It was also a little windy so we couldn’t stay in the same spot very well. The walleyes were biting some but not very aggressively. I could feel a lot of them hit my jig but they wouldn’t take it. which made it really tough on him as he couldn't yet tell rock apart from fish. So, it was a bit of a bummer but it was still a beautiful night and it was fun to be out on the water. We talked around the fire for a while and had some hot cider and chocolate but then headed to bed pretty early because it was a long first day. Lakes: Poplar, Lizz, Caribou, Horseshoe