Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

The Crew - 2007
by 4fishin

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/25/2007
Entry & Exit Point: Lake One (EP 30)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 8
Trip Introduction:
This was our first trip to the bwca. We had talked about putting this together every year when we were in college and finally I took the initiative to do so. I have to say, I have never met anyone as lucky as me to have such unbelievable friends. We had the best time and will be going back every year as long as we are capable of doing so.
We started out on Tuesday afternoon from my house in Albertville, MN about 1 pm. Arriving in Ely about 5:30 was perfect. It was hot outside but comfortable. We stopped into a couple of shops buying maps and other items. Then we went to the liquor store for some beers. We took off from Ely and headed up to our campsite on Moose Lake, where we were staying the first night before entering the waters in the morning. Several guys didn’t even set up tents in anticipation for the morning and they didn’t want to be hassled with unpacking anything yet. They opted to sleep in their vehicles instead. 7 of us had left from my place in the afternoon and we were waiting for 1 more. None of us had seen Benny in 2 years and we eagerly were wondering if he would show up like he said he would. I had talked to him earlier that day and he was on a bus coming from Montana to St. Cloud, MN. His brothers were picking him up there and driving him up to meet us at Moose Lake. We began consuming some beverages and the time past by. To help out we sat and made an crazy list of several outrageous things we wanted to accomplish on our trip. For some reason I can't recall anything that was on that list though. About 10 o’clock a car pulled into the site and sure enough it was the Smith brothers. We proceeded to have a long night of alcohol consumption. It was awesome! Waking up the next morning was not, however. We met our outfitter at the Lake One entry point at 9 am and got going around 10. This was our first time in so we made a few wrong turns on the way to Lake 3 but all we could do was say, “oh well”. I know, that is pathetic navigation but we were all pretty new to this type of thing. We arrived in Lake 3 around 2 pm. The original plan was to camp in the southern end. We dropped off a couple of guys at a campsite on the northern end in case we couldn’t find a nice one down south. And that is what we found, nothing. We headed back up and it was a good thing we did because this site was perfect for a large group like ours. We set up camp and started getting ready to fish. Deciding we were going to have a contest for biggest fish and most fish, we took off all in separate directions. We didn’t catch much but enough for a snack with our T-bone steaks. That night we sat around and talked about Montana with Benny mostly, drinking vodka-tang and lemonades. The next morning we got up, ate breakfast as quickly as possible and headed out to fish. Again, we struggled. Around noon a storm was coming in and everyone headed back to camp except Gundy and Gross. Needless to say, they ended up getting drenched while we sat at camp under the tarps laughing and taking pictures of them as they paddled back. After the storm, we went back out and caught a pretty good amount of fish and had a decent meal of fish with our spaghetti. Again, that night we spent hanging out about all kinds of crap that we used to get into when we were at UW-River Falls. The next morning we got up and decided that we were going to take a day trip up to fire lake and back seeing if we could have any more luck fishing. On the way up we caught a few and had enough to eat for shore lunch when we got up there. There was absolutely no one up there when we were and it was just awesome. After lunch we were all uncomfortably hot so we went swimming off a huge rock by the site we stopped to eat at. We jumped back in our canoes and headed east a bit more. Benny and I found the short portage that went down to Hudson Lake. We had radios and asked everyone else if they were coming because we were going. Everyone said no but we still went. As soon as we got over to the other side we threw our lines in and Benny had a pike on immediately. A couple of minutes later he caught a smally and then another one. We radioed the other guys but we were already too far away. We pulled in to a small edy just as the water way to Hudson Lake turns south. We positioned ourselves between a huge rock and the shore. I threw my line in and let it hit the bottom. Within seconds I had a smally on. Then another and another and another. Pretty soon a couple of walleyes were on our stringer. Unbelievable, we had hit the jackpot. We sat there and caught fish for 2 hours. Estimating we probably caught around 40 smallies and walleyes sitting in this hole. We were a long way from camp so around 6 pm we started heading back going through Hudson Lake and using the small portages going back into Lake 4. On the way back we ended up running into the rest of the guys in Lake 4. We held up our stringer and they all seemed a bit jealous. They were actually really pissed off they didn’t come with us. Rod and Adam decided to come with us back to camp and start cleaning fish and get ready for dinner. We headed through the small stream that connects lake 3 and 4, which we used all the time. Adam and Rod were ahead of us. Benny and I got through and were wondering what they were doing just sitting there in the bay? Rod had knocked Adam’s rod into the lake and it sank to the bottom. Leave it to Benny to pull out the snorkel and head out to get it. On the first dive Benny emerged with Adam’s gear. Lucky Bastard. That night was spend again talking about all the fish Benny and I had caught that day and talking about where we were going tomorrow. We drank some beverages as well and caught a snapping turtle, which was quite delicious. The next day we headed out and fished the small rapids where the portages are located on the way to Hudson Lake. That is as far as we got because we caught so many fish. It was an unbelievable day. Half way through the day we were all feeling a bit intoxicated. That was very evident with Gross and Gundy when Greg through his rod into the water after landing a fish. He thought it would float but found out quickly it wouldn't. He jumped out of the canoe after it and ended up forcing Gross to do the same in order to not tip the canoe and loose everthing in it. The best part was there was an older couple who witnessed our group catching fish like crazy and decided to stop and fish a while. As soon as they saw this happen, they got out of there quit fast. "Dear Lord", the old man said as Gross and Gundy swam their canoe to shore.  Sunday was our last morning, we packed up our stuff and headed out. Every one of us vowed to make this trip again next year and it has already begun to take shape. I hope your experiences in the waters were as good as my first.