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Fourth Annual Burntside Bash!


Steve Foss

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Well, the time is finally almost here.

The Fourth Annual Burntside Lake Lake Trout Bash near Ely, of course. This coming Saturday. Sorry this post is a little late getting here. We've been talking about it for some months over on the BWCAW-Duluth-Range board.

Bash HQ, as many who have been watching over in the BWCAW-Duluth-Range board probably already have guessed, will be off the Van Vac access. There really will be no set time to get started next Saturday, because there’s no tournament or weigh-in or any of that. But let’s expect to get things swinging by 8 a.m. We’ll have a giant laminated map of the lake, and can put people on good spots. Sleds and wheelers will be the transportation, with quite a few on foot.

First, directions. The vast majority of out-of-towners will be coming up 53 from Duluth and taking the exit for 169 to Ely. That exit (a right) is about five miles north of Virginia. If you hit Cook, you've gone way too far. Once on 169, you'll got through Tower in about 20 miles and continue toward Ely. About four miles short of Ely, County Road 88 (Grant McMahan Blvd) turns off to the left. Take that left and go a few miles (didn’t clock it so don’t have exact mileage) to County 404 (Van Vac Rd.) Take a left there (only turn you can make). The public landing (big brown sign) is on 404, a ways up after a few dips and turns and valleys and hills. It is on the right side. The upper of the two parking lots is the bigger one, and can handle a fair amount of parking. The lower lot is for staging trailers, sleds and wheelers, and folks should not expect to find room to park there, though there are a few spots. Overflow parking, if it's needed, can go up the access road ABOVE the upper lot, but make sure you all park on the same side of the access road so people can still get by.

While there are some people driving on the ice, and you’ll likely see a few trucks out there, WE ARE NOT ENCOURAGING IT. There is a foot of good ice in spots, with 8 to 10 inches in most places, but there is still a little open water around some reefs and islands, and the ice does NOT inspire confidence. If you drive out on the ice and try to park near HQ or those fishing, expect to be hollered at. Also, it’s a BAD IDEA to sled or wheel too near any island. We got two to three inches of snow today (Sunday), and it’s covering some very thin ice near islands.

HQ will be straight out or nearly straight out from the landing. It’s only a couple hundred yards to the 50-60 foot breakline, and there are permanents and portables set up there, with a half mile of room for more all along that south shore.

This is an informal event, so bring what you’d like to eat and drink.

Now, for the laker rookies or newbies, we’ll offer all the tips and techniques you’ll need to have a good chance at icing lakers. Chunkytrout, Surface Tension and I will be there to help, not to mention a number of other laker takers who have been there and done that over and over again, as they say.

Everyone, let’s have a BLAST.

For more info on this event, which began four years ago and drew nearly 100 people last year, look over on the BWCAW-Duluth-Range board. The first year's informal bash drew about two dozen, then the next two years it was a formal FM tournament, with prizes for winners and those registered. This year, it's back to its informal roots.

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