Woodland Trails: Heading to Boundary Waters in JuneLast week was the beginning of our waiting game. We had just finished our online registration to gain access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness via www.bwcaw.org. Our goal was to beat the rush and gain any advantage by having our form sent in online by Jan. 15.
By: Jim Bennett, Hudson Star-Observer
Last week was the beginning of our waiting game. We had just finished our online registration to gain access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness via www.bwcaw.org. Our goal was to beat the rush and gain any advantage by having our form sent in online by Jan. 15. Then the waiting game would begin. Or so I thought.
Being a hunter, I am always signing up online for applications with hopes of being drawn for some kind of hunt. I’m used to a long waiting game. That’s just the way the DNR operates. SLOWLY!
Evidently the National Park Service folks have a step up when it comes to putting smiles on people’s faces because we have already been notified that we got our permit. Having to apply with a main choice and two options, I had no reason to be optimistic but we ended up with our first choice. Moose River, here we come.
We decided to head into the area in mid-June. We talked to several folks about options for date choices and this is what we found out. Most of May would mean few or no bugs but a good possibility of cold and even snow. Fishing could be good for a few species but slow for most others. Early June would mean better fishing, a few more bugs and still the possibility of cold water and cold conditions. Mid-June seemed to be the best option with great fishing and a few more bugs!
The water would still be cold mid-June but fishing should be peaking for many fish through the end of June. Bug activity would be increasing too but again that all depends on the type of spring we have. Anything later would give canoers and kayakers more options for summer-like conditions and more folks once school is out.
We chose June 9 as our entry date. Our entry point is going to be the Moose River. A great friend, Norm Botsche, told me about this trip. I already have my W.A. Fisher Map and have spent a lot of time going over possibilities this trip offers. We start off with a 160-rod portage and then we paddle up the river to rapids and battle smallies. From there we hit Nina Moose Lake that holds good numbers of pike. Our plan is to go after the above-average pike in the shallow bays with fly rods and streamers on wire core pike leaders.
After some time on Nina Moose, it’s back up the river for a ways until we hit Lake Agnes. Agnes is an above-average walleye lake with good smallies and pike. That is where we plan to make our base camp — less than four miles from the Canadian border. I am a base camp kind of guy. By that I mean I am not one to head into the BWCAW and canoe 20 miles day and camp, then get up the next day and do the same thing every day for a week or two. Those folks certainly see a lot of beautiful lake country but they pay a price. The weird part about some of those types is there are rumors they even head into the wilderness without bringing a fishing pole! They just like to canoe! Weird, huh? LOL!
Not me and my group. We like to fish and make day trips and maybe do a solo overnighter for a day or two but still come back to base camp, where I am going to be. We have lots of lakes to explore north all the way to the border. If we want, we can head north out of Agnes up Boulder River, where we would run into a huge body of water many know of called Lac La Croix. It’s a famous body of water and has everything one wants to see and do in the BWCAW.
But I have my eyes set on a couple of other smaller lakes that might take a bit of work getting into that hold the fish of the north: lake trout.
One lake is called Oyster Lake. On the map it looks like a great lake with steep contour lake lines that show plenty of depth and laker possibilities. All you do is paddle along, dragging a spoon or maybe even vertical jig if you spot them on your portable fish finder. Another good-looking lake right next door to Oyster is Rocky Lake. Rocky also looks like a great laker lake!
I also like all the nearby rivers with their many rapids. I have been a whitewater canoer much longer than I have been a flat water explorer. One more lake I want to explore is a shallow lake called Ramshead that is supposed to hold jumbo perch!
If I sound excited, you should talk to my son, Josh. He has already made a trip to REI and we have also picked out a few things from Gander Mountain to fill a few gear holes we found last year. It would be nice to have a better canoe too. Low and fast with a quick rocker design to be more maneuverable and still carry all of our gear without weighing more than 50 pounds! Bell Canoe makes some that we have been drooling over.
Once again this year, Josh and his friend, Megan, will be taking kayaks. Last year, my daughter Erin and I were the mules who paddled all the gear in our slow canoe. That is something we have to change.
So if you are looking for a bit of change, you might also want to go online and check out the possibility of entry points for the BWCAW. You might be surprised what you gain from a wilderness trip and the adventure of being on your own in the wilderness with moose, bear and wolves as neighbors! I guarantee you’ll come back a different person and better off from the challenge of the wilderness!