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Daze Off

BWCA Newbie Help

21 posts in this topic

My kid will be spending a week in the BWCA (Aug 18-25) with a group of folks and is permitted to bring a fishing rod and some tackle (minimal). I have never been there either and wonder what sort of tackle should be on the proverbial short list for those waters in general and that time of year. I have no idea where in the BWCA they are going so can't be more specific. I think walleyes and smallies are what she would prefer to catch. I was thinking spinnerbaits, tubes, in-line spinners, etc. What is the forage in those bodies of water? Any tackle suggestions? confused.gif

I'll probably give her a spinning outfit of some type - eitehr closed faced or open faced. Line recommendations - mono OK? confused.gif

Thanks!

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Bringing a rod into the BWCA should be Mandatory! grin.gif

Mono is fine. She probably won't care what she catches so get her setup for SM(cough, cough)Bass.

ShadRaps for sure. If your daughter is too young to effectively sling sinking lures and then get the reel crank'in she could be donating a lot of hardware to the fishing gods. You can make that decision.

Spinners baits, maybe a dozen generic cheap spoons and tell her not to feel bad when she looses them.

Lots of bass guys there that can suggest lures.

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Surface - thanks for the feedback - she is college-aged and generally has a pretty good sense of what the bait is doing. She can use a baitcaster but I would not say she is completely comfortable with it and I would hate to have her get a backlash that trashes the reel and ends the fishing. I don't use spoons so have absolutely no clue about them - sizes? baitfish colors? I thought Shad Raps suspended rather than sank - you mean sinking minnows in addition to shad raps?

Is the forage perch up there?

Thanks again!

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You can get shadraps that suspend(RS) or float. Trolling they'll get down to 15' by themselves. Add a beadchain or bottom bouncer to get deeper. IMO they're one of the most versatile lures in the box in that they'll cover many depths and catch everything, perfect for the BWCA when you can't take the whole tackle box and no live bait required. My favorite color is Gold.

I mentioned cheap spoons only because I wasn't sure what age you daughter was. At any rate forget about them.

I think I'd give her a spinning reel spooled with 8 or 10lb test.

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Bring some Rapalas as mentioned, floaters, sinkers, and shad raps will all work. Some are better casted, but you can always troll one wink.gif

Spinnerbaits and topwater baits work for smallmouth too. Topwater can be great in the evenings and early AM...maybe get up early or go to bed late if travelling is more important to the group than fishing during the day.

All of that said, jigs and soft palstics would be my first choice if I was limited on space as they will catch anything that swims. Standard curly tail grubs (black, white, chartruse, brown) and 1/8-3/4 oz jigheads. Tube jigs work well also in crayfish colors.

8 or 10 lb mono would be my choice for an overall line, and bring extra (extra spools for spinning reals are great). Spinning outfit would also be my choice-more versatile.

Also for trolling/casting for pike a couple spoons would be handy and maybe a steel leader or two to go with them.

Remember a set of pliers and a filet knife, maybe a rope stringer (shoelaces work in a pinch).

What lake(s) is she headed to?

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...and on top of that (as I pack for my own trip this week), make sure to not pack the whole tackle box. If she's got long portages, she'll curse the day she lugged 50 sinkers and a load of other stuff.

I usually just take one or two floating raps, one or two suspending raps, a lindy rig or two with plastics, a spinner, and one or two spoons. You'll always catch fish with something, just don't overload. If they're feeding and she's in the right spot, they'll go for most anything.

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Thanks guys - it really helps me narrow it down to a small tackle pack to set her up with. Will go with the open-faced spinning outfit as well. One final question - shad rap size - #5's OK or bigger/smaller?

This is part of a program called "College Bound" and they are bringing all the incoming freshmen women (who want to go) up there for a week before school starts to get to know each other and "bond". This college does the same thing with the men at a different place in the BWCA.

All I know is the date of departure and return - no clue as to where they will actually go once inside. I think they are staging from Grand Marais rather than Ely though. Was kind of (pleasantly) surprised that they suggest bringing fishing stuff.

I think if she catches a snot rocket then the whole outfit will end up in the drink though.... tongue.gif .... she will want absolutely NO part in getting it off the hook.

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Hence the pliers for the snot rockets. grin.gif

I think I have talked to some of the "college bound" trippers at the launch on Clearwater (our family cabin is next to the launch). If that is where they are taking off and you find out where they are going I can be of more assistance.

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LOL - I talked to my daughter last night about the possibility of snot rockets and she is planning to bring like welders gloves (j/k) to handle them - actually a garden glove.

Will see what I can find out in the way of locations.

Thanks!

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just got back a few hours ago from the BWCA and ended up having success for walleyes bottom bouncing some Gulp! curly tail minnow grubs on an orange 1/8 oz. jighead. As far as bass go, topwater baits are the way to go! I'd recomend your daughter to bring along a few jitterbugs on account of how simple they are to use as far as topwaters go, and how they simply put fish in the boat!

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They are leaving from the end of the Gunflint Trail and headed north to eventually make a big loop around and come back from the south. Some lake called "Sag_ _ _?????" is part of the itinerary. Apparently they will break up into groups of 8 and each group goes its own way according to the interests/ambition of the group. There are 49 freshmen going (both male and female groups)

Given the location, does anything in the way of tackle mentioned above change at all? Decided to buy her her own spinning outfit that breaks down into two pieces since I don't have any that do.

Thanks for all your help guys!

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Your daughter will be on a great walleye lake. Might just be passing though or maybe they'll be staying a day and night there. Get her a map of Sag and highlight a few reefs and points along her route that she can try. For that matter get the entire route and download the DNR maps and highlight some areas to hit. In addition to the shad raps, if it were me I'd have my jigs along. 1/4-3/8th oz and something to tip them with, Gulp Alive perhaps.

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Daze, "Sag_ _ _?????" is Saganaga, one of the truly legendary Minnesota walleye lakes.

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stf - that's the one - did not have my handheld GPS with me and could not remember the whole name. Will follow the wise counsel given here and set her up. Hope someone along with them knows how to filet a fish...even if I taught her it is not likely that she would do such a thing in front of new "friends". LOL

Apparently they break up into groups of 8 and each group pretty much does their own thing - some paddle to new spot every night and others every other night, etc.

After what you guys say it makes me want to go along!

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Just got back from a trip with my future father-in-law, one of his daughters, and his nephew. Both of the high schoolers were new to fishing and enjoyed it. The best part was when the old guy grin.gif and I hooked onto simultaneous northerns. I filleted them and made a nice shore lunch. The daughter was "repulsed" by the sight of me cleaning the fish and instead opted for a pouch of tuna for a snack. I couldn't resist pointing out that the only difference was that she didn't see the tuna get filleted.

Ahh, good times good times. I love brining new folks into the BWCA.

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Skunked - my kid has watched me fillet lots of fish without reaction but she does not eat fish at all - just likes catching them. Doesn't matter if the fish comes in a can, a pouch, a restaurant, or in the shape of a stick - she is not going to eat it.

Any good tips in general that I can share with my kid about the experience - camping, fishing, paddling, etc?

What is the single most helpful piece of equipment you had with you - other than GPS/maps, compass, etc?

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I would say a headlamp. It's amazing what you can do when you aren't trying to hold a flashlight.

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Water filtration system and plenty of T.P. A good 1st aid kit is a must. Plenty of rope and a few pulleys for hangin your food away from the bears.

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Water filters, tp, and all that other stuff I assume will be handled by the group leaders. I think he is mostly asking about personal items. I agree that a headlamp is one of the top items. From a safety standpoint, I always keep a small plastic whistle tied to my pack somewhere. If you get lost, wail away until someone finds you. Maybe a cheap bug net to keep away the flying pests.

I'm also becoming a big believer in a good pair of sandals. Boots and socks are not fun when wet. Muddy trails, wet portage landings, and sharp rocks while swimming all compel me to wear a good set of sandals. I wear a trusty pair of Tevas, but any brand or style of sandal/wet shoe would work.

As for tips, a few things that I try to do:

1) Keep the noise down while traveling and you'll see a lot more wildlife. If on her own and/or lost, make lots of noise to scare away the beasts.

2) Be a consistent paddler.

3) Pay attention to landmarks as you travel. It makes reading a map and re-tracing your route much easier.

4) Enjoy the experience.

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good olde fashioned ThermaRest. The B-dub simply wears you out. A good nights sleep is a must, preferably in a nice, dry tent. The new gravity feed water filters are awesome, save so much time and effort. But the most important, by far in my mind, is the company you bring along. 3 of your closest pals who just like the woods and the difficult times (rain, broken paddles, broken canoe yokes, wind, bugs, etc) is much better than 3 people complaining non-stop with everything going good. Enjoy the time spent with whoever your with, no matter the circumstance.

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Quote:

But the most important, by far in my mind, is the company you bring along. 3 of your closest pals who just like the woods and the difficult times


Wow, you couldn't have nailed it better on the head.

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