Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Brule Lake - September 2016
by adludwig

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/02/2016
Entry & Exit Point: Brule Lake (EP 41)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
We planned 5 days on Brule Lake to check out some of the lakes around the big lake.
Day 1 of 5
Friday, September 02, 2016

My trip partner, Jarod, and I got a nice early start to Grand Marais for some breakfast. Jarod and I have paddled together on and off for 20 years. We hadn't been into the Boundary Waters together for the last year and a half, so we were excited to get back out there, exploring somewhere neither of us had ever been. Our first stop of the day was at South of the Border Cafe for a good and hearty breakfast. Then we headed West on our 45 minute drive to the lake. We were excited to have the canoe loaded in the water right around 7:00am. I am a big fan of these early start days, because it truly is like getting an extra day on the water.

We had planned on staying some where near Cone Bay, to accommodate our plans for day tripping. We had also been watching the weather and knew we were in for a fair bit of wind out of the south most of the time. As we made our way through the maze of islands towards Cone Bay, we thought we would check out campsite #954 on the big island, just south of Cone Bay. We passed a few canoes heading out nice and early this morning and had thought that one of the groups had just left the island. We pulled up on the island and immediately knew this was going to be our home. Beautiful, open and spacious site that faced the north and would keep us out of all those southern winds. We set up the tent, hung the food pack, and set the rest of camp. Before we knew it, we were working on putting our rods and reels together. We headed out to start exploring this vast lake. The wind was increasing already, so we decided to head into Cone Bay, to find a little shelter. It took a little while, but soon I got jolted on a white spinnerbait and landed the first fish of the trip, a nice little smallmouth.
As we headed down the north shore of Cone Bay, I looked up and saw a black bear right on the shoreline! I excitedly yelled the location to Jarod, and of course it disappeared into the brush before he could see it. We lingered for a while, hoping to catch another glimpse, but it didn't happen. We had a light lunch, so our bellies started getting hungry for dinner. We made our way back to camp into a stiff south wind. There wasn't a lot of wind, but it made the paddle a little tough. We got back to camp and started preparing dinner.

Our tradition, like many others, is to bring in steaks for the first night. This helps us not get too sick of fish, and is always a treat after a first day filled with paddling, portaging, and setting camp. The steaks and instant mashed potatoes were divine!

After dinner and cleanup, we broke out the poles to do some slip bobber fishing from shore. We wrangled up a little bit of live bait on our way north. Our plan was to just save the bait for our time around camp, which ended up working just fine. Jarod was fishless for the day yet, but that changed pretty quick. He caught a little smallmouth before dark, which was exciting, knowing that we would be able to catch some fish from our camp site.

We fished for a while longer, all the while, enjoying the beautiful sunset. We had quite the nice sitting area next to the water for our evening. We would use this area every night while either fishing or just watching the sunsets.