Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

EP 52 - Round Lake to Gillis
by BigZig

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/02/2022
Entry & Exit Point: Brant Lake (EP 52)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 6
Trip Introduction:
The 2022 annual "guys from work" trip was held on June 1st to 5th. This year we ventured to Gillis Lake, east of the Gunflint Trail, in pursuit of the famous Lake Trout.
I'm lucky enough to work with a group of men who value the BWCA and all it has to offer. It has made planning an annual trip easy and enjoyable to take. Over the years some of us no longer work together but that doesn't stop us from this BWCA. Planning usually begins in late fall with semi-monthly "zoom" meetings so we can start discussing the who, where, and when of the next trip. 2022 was set for June 1-5 out of EP 52 with a destination of Gillis Lake. We planned to drive up and stay at Tuscarora Outfitters on Round Lake in their bunkhouse. We usually do this and rent canoes as it makes the trip easier in our opinion. We can go through gear, get our permit, and have an early start on entry day. This was out first time out of Tuscarora and they are fantastic. We began our paddling at 6:45 am on Thursday June 2 and headed for the 8 portages to Gillis. These are some of the most rugged portages I've encountered in the BWCA but fortunately none of them are extremely long. We mostly single portaged except of few had to be 1.5'ed with the food pack. Most were muddy or under water if close to the lake. All of them were very rocky. Fighting a small head wind we managed to arrive on Gillis in just under 4 hours. It's probably good to note that we most likely hit the peak of the black fly/gnat season. Head nets were mandatory. We were lucky enough to find the eastern shore campsite open just south of the portage into Gillis from Bat. The west wind and waves on GIllis were angry but we proceeded to cross cautiously as we had heard of a rescue only the previous day. Once camp was set and we were fed we began fishing right from camp. The first day we kept 5 fish and the rest released. The next day the wind was still angry so we stayed at camp and fished and explored the shoreline. On Saturday we were able to get out and paddle and fish more. We caught more lake trout keeping only one for a lunch time snack. Sunday the wind was minimal and we decided to head out the same route we took in. We managed to make the trip out in 3.5 hours. Once we returned the canoes, showered, and had a meal at Trail Center we made the return drive home.