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Maximum12

Fall Lake Entry Point Report

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Took my wife, Molly, into the BWCA last week, the first time she'd been in the wilderness since before our first kid, 1998. I thought I'd go easy on her & take portage wheels up the four-mile portage into Ella Hall Lake for a three-night stay. Ha!

I decided to rent portage wheels, which were nothing like the lightweight, fold-up aluminum ones I saw in Twin Cities stores. This one had what looked to be a full-sized truck axle with rock-hard, sixty-year old lumber on top & weighed, well, a lot. Getting to the landing, I found it wouldn't fit in the the canoe without sticking waaaaaay up over the gunwales. Considering my wife isn't an experienced canoeist, I decided to leave it in the Jeep & hump the canoe for the nearly two miles to Ella Hall. I've only had one map problem in all my years going into the BWCA, & lo & behold, I have two errors on the map in the span of a couple of hours while trying to guide my wife (really, honey, I can read maps!) - the four-mile portage being about a half-mile off where the map stated, & a portage on four-mile that wasn't on the map leading us into the wrong lake. Good thing I had a compass!

Suffice to say my 37-year old shoulders were tired by the time we reached the lake. If I hadn't gotten off my *ss a few years ago & started working out, I don't think I would have made it intact.

Anyhow, enough gobble about the travel. The fishing on Ella Hall was good. Not a numbers lake for us, but the pike were respectable & the smallies good-sized. Our first smallie came in a shallow, weedy bay. My wife hates weeds, so I tossed her a Jitterbug so she could fish topwater. A few casts later, explosion! And the fight was on. My wife's a competent fisherman, but the smallie was more than she knew how to deal with - rod bent double, shaking it's head violently, peeling off line, juking under the boat. After a couple of minutes she eased it up next to the canoe & I grabbed it - an 18" fish! Her biggest bass ever. She sat & shook for a couple of minutes afterwards. Fun to watch!

I managed to top her the next day out in front of our campsite with a 19" smallie, but we couldn't find the elusive 20" fish.

All in all a fantastic trip, even with the unexpectedly long carry & the beaver dam built across the portage. The weather cooperated (thunderboomers at night, party sunny during the day), there was never more than one other party on the lake, & the fish cooperated. In two days we caught plenty of fish, with the largest the 19" smallie & a 30" pike. More than anything, it was nice to get out of the Cities, relax in the canoe, throw some baits, & spend a couple of days with my favorite wife!

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