Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Wood Lake
by BigZig

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/06/2024
Entry & Exit Point: Wood Lake (EP 26)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 8
Trip Introduction:
Each year a group of guys that work together (or in some cases USED to work together or are family) gather to enter the BWCAW and enjoy all it has to offer - wilderness, fishing, camping, canoeing, and fellowship. I started the group in 1988 and it has evolved over the years with different people. We try to visit a new or different area each year.
As usual we began the trip the day before from the Minneapolis area. We have one member now who traveled from CO to join us. The drive north demands a traditional stop at Gordy's Hi-Hat in Cloquet when we are Ely bound. This place never gets old. We always stay at VNO bunkhouse the night before and rent canoes from them, pickup our permit, and grab other little essentials like tackle, head nets, maps, etc. We think they do a terrific job at what they do. On past trips we have used them for tow service too but not this year. I had purchased a used Northstar 18 from Tanner last fall so this was my maiden voyage with it.

Thursday morning we were up, fed, coffee'd , and heading down the road to EP 26 (about 15-20 minute drive) by 7:00 AM. We had enough vehicles with that we decided to leave one at EP 25 Moose Lake in case we decided to exit out through Wind Lake on Sunday. Two guys did that while the rest of us portaged gear and canoes to Wood Lake from the parking lot. About a 16 minute walk one way. We weren't thrilled about traveling all the way to Basswood and sharing the lake with motorboats, plus it was kind of windy, so we decided to check out the sites on Wood Lake. The other group that entered was heading for Basswood so we knew they weren't contenders. We found the second site on the right (facing West) open. It had nice canoe landings, elevation, a bear tree, and lots of flat tent pads. Hammock trees were not that great but worked out. We did check out the next one closer to the portage to Hula Lake but liked the first one better.

Friday was exploring day. VNO said "Smallies were hitting anything you threw at them" on Indiana so that's where we headed. The portages from Wood to Hula to Good to Indiana are pretty well traveled and easy to find. I would call them intermediate to hard portages due to the elevation and distance they hold. One of the two sites on Indiana was occupied so we went to the open one for lunch. It should be rated a 2. Poor landing, poor tent sites, large hill in back to fire place area was wet with run off. The view was fabulous though. We fished a while after lunch and found it okay. Maybe it was us..? Spaghetti for supper.

On Saturday we decided to fish and explore Wood Lake itself. It is a beautiful lake. Lots of structure and bays and few campsites. In the morning I was able to find walleyes right off the point in the center of the lake. That afternoon there were others sitting in this location fishing from shore...go figure... Trolling a perch X-rap was the ticket for me. Another member produced two nice Northern Pike for our group fish meal. We lost count of the number of SMB that were caught this day - but it was fun. We don't keep SMB in our group. We even caught a nice LMB. Tip of the day - aluminum/plastic rental paddles sink...(we found it but the owner had to dive for it.)

Sunday we were packed and paddling back to the exit by 7:45 AM. Showers, bathroom, and cold Hamm's at VNO waited for us along with some Ely shopping and lunch. Until next year - happy tripping!~Wood Lake, Good Lake, Hula Lake, Indiana Lake

Lakes Traveled:   Wood Lake, Good Lake, Hula Lake, Indiana Lake,