Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Solo Trip-EP14 Shell/Lynx
by forgop

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/28/2017
Entry & Exit Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north) (EP 14)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 1
Trip Introduction:
I needed a bit of a break from some of the noise back home and chose to make this my first canoe trip. I hoped to catch some walleye and smallies on this trip.
Day 1 I left out of EP LIS around 11am and paddled my way up. The rain set in and lingered for much of the day. I made the portage on the north end of Upper/Lower Pauness and quickly came into some harsh rain. I quickly realized all 3 campsites on the Lower Pauness were taken. I wasn't about to triple portage back and it was too late to head on over to Shell, so I made do on the point across from the portage. It rained for a good 6 hours it seemed although it did let up enough for me to try a couple of spots for some fishing and got nothing.

Day 2 Woke up to you guessed it, more rain, albeit relatively light. I made my way over to the portage to head to Shell by around 9:30 I believe by the time I got all packed up. Due to the poor planning/packing of my stuff, I made 4 trips from the portage up to the beaver flood zone which was brutal. After getting everything off the canoe on the Shell side, I encountered a couple who were absolute angels and helped carry a pack each on their way back to the portage on the Shell side they left behind on their double portage. While his portion of the portage was much shorter, it was such a great relief to have some short lived help. I can't thank them enough. I made my way over to the island on the north side of Shell and found the middle camp empty, so I set up there as quickly as possible. Guess what? More rain was in the forecast and made myself a dry area to hang out under rather than relying on the tent to stay dry like the night before. I also set up a hammock as I intended to get some relaxation time in. It did clear up for a short time Wednesday night and I jigged with grubs of all my usual successful colors up north tipped with leeches on the east side of that island and on the smaller island southwest and I managed to catch a single smallie that wasn't even worth keeping. I was so beaten from the portage that I called it an early night.

Day 3 I woke up to a bit of sunshine and quickly got out and jigged all along the east side of my camp island and the northeastern shore. Shortly into my morning, I caught 2 walleye and 1 smallie only to be shut out the rest of the morning. One of the walleyes was too small to keep, so I made a meal of the smallie and a walleye and it was quite good. I was met with more rain in the afternoon and in the evening a bit. I didn't catch a single fish that afternoon after trying the same spots again. I had no luck with the usual stick/crankbaits that are usually successful with walleyes on my Canada trips.

Day 4: I was told by the outfitter that Lynx was supposed to be good fishing and decided I'd portage over there after trying the eastern shore of my camp island and the northeastern shore after no luck there again. I made it over to Lynx and the structure up the northwestern portion of the lake looked great. Again, no luck. I was beyond frustrated and decided I'd had enough of the madness. I brought enough food to last nearly 5 days and was running low and the prospects of lasting out much longer weren't looking good without running out. Around 1:00, I decided I was finished and made it back to camp to start tearing down at 2:00. By 3:30, I was pulling away from my camp and busted my tail back to EP14 LIS as quickly as I could. I was back with my Terrain loaded up by 9:30. I was so beaten from the effort I put forth to make it back, It was all I could do to get the solo kevlar canoe on top and tied down.

I made good pretty good time back to Ely making good use of my AWD on the way back in the rain. I'd made the 6 hour trek back to my car without any food for over 12 hours and devoured some protein bars in my car and then at as much as I could at the gas station since everything closed about 30 minutes before I got into town.

The trip was certainly a learning experience. If the fishing had been simply average, I would have stayed a full week. However, I didn't want to struggle for maybe 2 fish a day and then return back home completely beaten before resuming work and my class immediately upon my return.

If you're the couple I ran into at the beaver dam, thank you once again. After returning back home, I was back on the table for a 90 minute massage and within 5 minutes, she asked what in the world I did to myself in a week's time since my last appointment. All I know this was the most physically demanding experience spread over 4 days that I've made since being in the army. ~Lower Pauness Lake, Upper Pauness Lake, Little Shell Lake, Lynx Lake, Shell Lake

Lakes Traveled:   Lower Pauness Lake, Upper Pauness Lake, Little Shell Lake, Lynx Lake, Shell Lake,