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I posted this on the BWCA forum but didn't get much of a response. I thought maybe the Vermilion forum may produce more results.

A group of us make our annual June trip to Trout Lake (through Vermilion) and fish the lakes close to that area available through portage or paddle. The fishing is always good. One guy on the trip is a tried and true Virginia "ranger" and threatens us with a portage trip into Buck and Western lakes. He lives on his memories of those lakes in his youth in the 1980's and early 1990's. He swears the walleye bite is unbelievable and worth every bit of the portage effort.

My question is this. Has anybody been into those lakes lately? If so how are the portages after the blow down? More importantly is the fishing as good as my friend remembers? Basically would you make the extra effort when we do well in Trout, Little Trout, Oriniack, and Pine just about every year?

Bob (you know who you are) I don't want your opinion...I've heard it for years and I want an independant, unbiased report!!

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I have not been into Buck in years but we always caught tons of walleyes there! Most of them were around 2 pounds.

spinners with minnows or rapalas trolled behind the canoe worked best for me.

Do not know what the portage is like now. It was rough the last time I was in there.


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  • 3 weeks later...

I wish I could help with info on Buck, but I haven't been in there, and I don't know of anyone who has recently. Pine, Little Trout, and Oriniack have always been good, but my guess is that if you can get into Buck, the fishing would be great. It's simply a case of the amount of effort involved in getting in there! It's keeping any significant number of people from going in.


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I'm the one from Virginia that walleye guy is talking about. I've been back in there before but it's been several years since I've been able to convince my group that the trek is worth it vs fishing on Trout, oriniack,or Pine.

I know the fishing is very good. It's always been a bit of an adventure to get back there. Some folks even tried the creek from pine to buck one year and no one I know has ever tried that again!

Has anyone been back on the portages to Buck and from Buck to Western since the big blow down? That area did get some damage and I'm wondering what shape the portages are in. If the portages are ok the trip is worth making in my opinion.

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Do you normally come in to Buck from Cummings or Crab?

We have talked about visiting those lakes while fishing on Pine but have never made it in there. It's a long way back in there regardless of which way you go.

We are going to hit Pine in late May for the first time in many years.


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When we go to Buck/Western I've come from Pine Creek to Crab, then to Buck. Both portages are about 260 rods or so. I'm wondering if anyone has been through there in the past 5 years and what condition the portages are in. If they have kept the portages cleaned up after trees have fallen then the portage is not so bad. The portage from Cummings to Buck is a long one. I've gone into Cummings from Burntside lake (there is also an old logging trail that get's you closer but I think beavers have dammed that up. Cummings is outstanding for smallmouth and pike but no walleyes.

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There is a BWCA and Quetico site that's worth checking for this info.."Quiet Journey" should get you there..

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I read that thread and it reaffirmed my belief that the trip is too much work!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
      We just returned this afternoon from 6 days on Vermilion. We arrived Saturday and enjoyed 3 fantastic days of walleye fishing. My cousin, our friend Greg, and myself fished several of our spring spots and found fish on all of them. Water temperatures were pretty much 65-67 degrees everywhere we fished. The wind was variable and made boat control a challenge at times. Bait was not an issue and we had success on crawlers(Tim), leeches(Greg), and minnows(me). If I had to pick one of those as catching the most fish, it would be crawlers. Our best day totalled 48 walleyes, 4 smallmouth, and 2 big JUMBOS. We ended up with over a hundred walleyes, 12 jumbos 11"-13", and 10 smallmouth to 18". Our biggest walleye was 24.5" and the balance went from 13"-22". There are lots of 14"-16" walleyes this year which are perfect eaters. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom in some areas but we found very few mayflies in the water column over rock reefs. We caught our fish in depths ranging from 10' to 32'. I didn't fish in any area where I could see mayflies top to bottom in the water column. Slow trolling in the .3mph to .6mph worked and we caught nothing using slip bobbers. Terminal tackle was a 3'-4' 10# flurocarbon leader, 2 lime colored beads, and a plain #6 Gamakatsu walleye hook . Snags are always an issue when fishing in and around the rocks and when the fish are biting they are acceptable. NOW, for the bad news.......Tuesday was a day I won't soon forget. The area suffered devastating torrential rainfall. Lightning was non-stop for several hours and when things settled down, flood damage was everywhere. We checked our rain guage on the side of the cabin and we got 7 3/4 " in a little over 4 hours! Breezy Point road washed out, Mud Creek road washed out as did several others in the area. Cooke business area was completely covered with flood water. I would consider it a disaster area and should be declared as such. We couldn't find a dock anywhere that wasn't covered with water. People were stranded behind flood covered and washed out roads. Dock decking, limbs and such were floating everywhere in the big water. My group sends our prayers to the people of that beautiful country that lost their businesses, homes, and suffered damage to their lake properties. The people of that north country are resilient and we have confidence that they will recover. We stayed our final 3 days but didn't fish at all Tuesday. Our last 2 days showed the effects of the storm. Water temps dropped to 64 degrees and our premo fishing became 10 walleye days. We did manage to catch a dozen really nice jumbos. We plan on returning in September and we pray the area will have returned to normal by then. I haven't figured out how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer yet so no pictures at this time. Good Fishing and God be with you. MarkB
    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
      Heard that too. Also heard 38 was closed for a but north of rapids due to flooding.    I know the water really came up when I was up last week compared to when I was there in April. 
    • Kettle
      Someone said 4 inches in the past week, more expected this weekend. A few roads, including county roads that are asphalt ended up with sink holes. Lakes are the highest I've ever seen in the 30+ years coming to the area and now living here. Several people lost trees Tues night
    • smurfy
      Dang Kettle  that bites. Great to hear fishing was good though.   How much rain you get up that way?
    • Dash 1
      50 in 6 hours is great. Boat issues really put a damper on a great day though. Hope you get it fixed quickly.  
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