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I have always wanted to do a week or 10 day trip to crooked and fish nothing but smallmouth. Two years ago I was on a trip with some friends who do not fish much, and we bolted through Crooked in less than a day. Needless to say I was heartbroken. After years of dreaming about it my only experience was a couple hours of fishing from shore. I was wondering for those of you who are veteran crooked goers, what do you all think is the best time of the year to go. I was thinking of doing a trip in late August, is that a good time? And in general are their bays that produce more than others, Thurs., Friday?? And what is your favorite lure or lures or approaches to fishing smallies in the BWCA? As much as I have enjoyed the smallmouth fishing I have done on the Gunflint side of the BWCA, my true wish is a long trip to Crooked!!!

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Late May through the entire month of June will be your best bet for a really good smallie bite. But remember, release any smallies you catch (catch a few walleye for dinner). Topwater lures work great, as do shallow running fat raps or shad raps--and always bring up a couple of four inch Sinkos. My favorite bait is a four inch plastic tube rigged weightless with an off-shank 3/0 hook (white or smoke on sunny days and watermelon or pumpkin on cloudy days). Let the bait slowly sink around bolders and timber. If you go to Crooked you must try Argo as well. Argo is one of the most beautiful lakes in the BWCA with blue/green crystal clear water. Great smallie population as well, and I believe the smallies on Argo receive less pressure than Crooked. I'll be on Crooked this year from June 8-15. Have fun!!

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Argo is not in the BWCA, it is in the Quetico Park.

Why not eat a smallie? I for one, happen to like them.

John and Lynn O'Kane
Voyageur North Outfitters
Ely, Mn 55731

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Voyageur North,

Sorry about getting the details wrong--you are right, Argo is in the Quetico Provincial Park. But then again, so is part of Crooked so I got that wrong as well. Plus, it's really not the BWCA but the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness), if you're really trying to be official. So before I post my next message I'll run the details past the DNR for any minor detail changes.

Yeah, I like to eat smallies too but I try to release them during the spawning season. The males, because they guard the nest for up to two weeks following spawn. The females, if they have eggs. Have a good day.

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I have always caught smallies on Crooked. Anytime of the year is a good time to fish this outstanding fishery. The only thing that will change is where the fish are lurking. I love catching bronzebacks shallow on topwater during pre-spawn or along reefs during the summer period.
Don't miss the Basswood river if you go to Crooked.

Only three days to wet paddles!!!

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Thanks for the replies! All others are greatly appreciated. I just like hearing about peoples' experiences in the BWCAW! What is intriguing about the Basswood River? Is is scenic or is the fishing great? I have never heard much about it. I have done most of my paddling on the gunflint side and a couple trips along the Echo, where I went to Crooked the one time and didn't really get to fish it. Thanks and good luck to all on their trips!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • LakeofthewoodsMN
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