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Planning 1st trip up to BWCA, advice wanted!!!


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First post, but I've been lurking for quite a while... A couple buddies and I are planning on going up to the BWCA to do some fishing over the 4th of July weekend. Right now we are thinking somwhere around Ely, but are not set on it yet. We are hoping to get some trout and heard of walleye action up there. Again, we are rookies who only do our fishing down around here in Buffalo, MN along with a trip or two up to Lake of The Woods. Anybody have any idea on what area is the best place to do some good fishing? We're not really particulate about scenery, just the FISH!

Thanks in advance...

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Ima and Thomas lake are good for trout. Ima is fairly easy to fish. We usually just troll through the middle with deep running lures. Deep shad rap RS and deep fat raps work as well as spoons. Thomas is also a good lake. It is a little but farther, but is a very nice lake. If you put in on snowbank, the lakes on the way there have good bass fishing.

Ima is about eight miles from the entry piont and you should be able to make it there in a day. Both thomas and Ima have good lake trout, some walleyes, and big pike. Troll snowbank for trout also. For Bass, look for rocky reefs that stick out of the water. Bass should be on the bite. I like to use #9 floating rapalas fished top water. Pack light so that portageing is easy. Bring only what you need. Dont forget rain gear, good maps/compass, first aid kit, and an extra paddle. Once you get your permit you can pick it up in ely, the out fitters open early. We ueually stay in ely the night before , pick up our permit and get on the water by 7-8 in the morning.

I would be happy to answer any further questions

warm/dry=more fun

good luck

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id look to see what permits are even available over that weekend, you may be SOL if you want to get on the trout lakes. ely is a real busy area that time of year, trust me i know!

best advise for a first timer, pack as light as possible. i know my very first trip years back, i packed TOO much. i still pack too much, but its at least under control after years of practice.

also dont over-do it and kill yourself. do something easier so you can enjoy it and not get discuraged. i drove many people to and from entry points when i lived in ely, and a lot of people bit off more than they could chew and hated their experience.

anyway, keep it fun and leave no trace.

Good Fishin!

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Griff - I'm a fellow Buffalo area resident with several BWCA trips under the belt. Can't help much with the Ely area, but we've focused our action on the very east end of Gunflint area and had great fishing success the last two seasons on the Pine, McFarland, John, and Fowl Lakes with the walleyes and smallies. Drifting with lindy rigs and/or jigs with leeches has produced really well for us on these lakes. It's probably another 1+ hour drive compared to Ely, but we keep going back. As the others have stated, if you want to catch fish, base camp and don't over do it.

Good luck!! Four Ball

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Since this is a beginer trip for you keep the travel distance down till you get a feel for it. A base camp and day tripping is a good idea and one that will let you try new water without a loaded canoe.

If your going in around July 4th, the Lake Trout are going to be a little tougher to get because of the depth. Being your new to canoes you may want to hit the smaller Designated Trout lakes for Rainbows, Brookies and Splake. Go to the DNR site and you can get the entire list of these lakes.

If you fish these trout you'll have to pay close attention to water temps. Find the right temp at the right depth and you'll find the trout. If you don't have temp probe to take reading then troll over deep water till you find marks on your sounder that are suspended. Note the depth of those marks and target the shoreline at that depth. No sounder? then your going to rely on trial and error till you find fish.

What to use. You can sit on the shoreline with an inflated crawler and slip sinker rig which has probably caught more trout then any other method out there. Finding a spot with the right depth to cast to is key here, like I said water temps.

Trolling. Panther Martins and smaller crawler harnesses are without a doubt my go lures in these trout lakes.

Drifting. Trout can turn on and off like a flick of a switch. When times are tough and the wind is right, I love a very slow drift with a crawler rigged with 2 hooks snelled and just enough lead to get me to the bottom. I like the wind slow enough to where I can pull that rig along the bottom and wait for the wind to take up the slack. I keep in constant contact with this rig while keeping an open bail. At the hint of a nudge I'll let her run for a bit then set the hooks. This is a very slow presentation and your still covering water.

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If you start at the Nina Moose River entry point and paddle up through Nina Moose Lake and Lake Agnes, you can head off northwest of Agnes into Oyster Lake. Oyster is pretty deep and should be decent for Lakers in the warmer months. Not sure what the portage is like into Oyster, but the paddle up to Lake Agnes is very easy and mild portaging.

Just a warning, after your first BWCA trip, you'll be hooked! grin.gif I know I was. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after talking to one of my teachers who used to guide up in the BWCA, he said if you want to catch walleye they have always had luck on the Kawishiwi River. So, we decided to just go with it and not waste time and took an entry point on the North Kawishiwi/Ojibwae Lake. He hasn't been up there for a while, so I figured I'd ask you folks, where would you plan on going after entering? We figure we could paddle and fish for the first day and end up with a base camp just north of the rapids. Anybody have any luck on any of the surrounding lakes that you could paddle to for a half day or more? I guess we're not going to be concerned with the lakers this year, now we just want to catch enough fish to stay full!

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