Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

May 2021 Father-Son Trip to Crocodile
by SunrisePaddler

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 05/20/2021
Entry & Exit Point: Crocodile River (EP 66)
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
My son asked to do a father-son bwca trip and we had fun planning all winter long. We had a super time together on Crocodile Lake even though the trip didn't quite go as planned.
Part 1 of 6
The Plan

Last year my now 11-yr-old son, Josef, asked if we could do a father-son bwca trip together (in addition to our family's annual July trip). Took me about a millisecond to say “yes, of course!”

Our planning began immediately by defining his goals. He wanted to base camp. He wanted to fish. He wanted to eat ramen noodles. And so it would be (mostly).

Early in our planning we settled on a two-night trip to Crocodile lake to hit the eater-sized walleyes that reportedly abound in the lake. A new lake to us, we did our research and planned our put-in at the East Bearskin public access.

We're enthusiastic anglers who enjoy fishing, but let's be honest, we're not that good at it. And we're certainly not experienced *walleye* fishermen. So over the winter months I scoured this website for walleye tips and peppered outfitters and friends for advice. I learned words like "lindy" and "rig" and "patience."

For his part, Josef engaged in a months-long taste test of various flavors and brands of ramen noodles, creating a preference chart and eventually settling on the Thai Kitchen brand Spring Onion as his favorite.

Base camp, check.

Fishing, check.

Ramen, check.

Timing would be tricky. A summer or fall trip was not possible for various reasons, so we had to target spring. And we wanted to minimize Josef’s time away from school.

So, when permits became available in Jan, we secured our Croc reservation for entry on Saturday, May 20. We’d travel from our home in Minneapolis to HJO (bunkhouse) the day before, a Friday, with Josef attending a full day of distance learning school via laptop on the drive up. We’d enjoy two nights on Croc and paddle out Monday morning. If all went as planned, he’d miss a half day of school Monday morning and would log on as soon as my service kicked in near Grand Marais.

Gear: We’d take our trusty 15.5 foot Bell Morningstar royalex canoe, two larger GG packs, two smaller packs suitable for Josef to carry, our fishing gear, and food (including Josef’s Ramen, of course).

I'm an avid tree dweller, preferring my Hennessey hammock set-up for sleeping, but I would happily return to the ground for a couple nights to be together with Josef in the family’s 4-person tent.