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  1. #1
    Marksman

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    6 Day Boundary Waters Trip or bee man gets taken to the wood shed by Mother Nature



    As we stepped off the plane in Duluth the long day of flights and airports started to catch up with me and my wife. We left BR at noon and didn’t reach our final destination until 9:30 pm. As we walked down to baggage claim I was glad to find out that my good friend, who had arrived earlier, was there to pick us up and take us to our hotel for the night. The next morning we met the crew for breakfast and talked over our plans on where we would camp and fish for the next 6 days. On most of our trips we take 6 people in, all guys, but on this trip we had 8, and two of the 8 were ladies. One was my wife and the other was my friends sister. Two of the crew, my friends sister and his future son and law, had never been to the Boundary waters, but each was paddling with people who had been many times so getting them up to speed would not be hard. Paddling a canoe in theory is easy, but paddling a canoe in a semi straight line, and across large bodies of open water is a totally different animal. The vast expanses of these bodies of water can scare people, especially if the wind and weather are acting up, and the wind and weather always misbehave in the Boundary Waters. The people in our group were from Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Tennessee, so the south was well represented on this wilderness excursion.
    After breakfast we made our usual run to Wally World to pick up things we had forgotten at our respective houses, and also get the latest and greatest baits that would catch our next personal best boundary waters fish. The bait buying process is something that should be taken seriously and be well thought out, as no one can ever have too much fishing tackle or we like to think, until we have to hump all of this crap into the bush for 6 days. By the time we get back to civilization we all swear that we will never bring this much stuff ever again. After Wally World we headed north on Hwy 53 and then took a few more smaller highways to the great town of Ely Minnesota. Ely Minnesota is the canoe capital of the world. It’s one of the great small towns in America. We always stay at a locally owned hotel called Adventure Inn. The owners are nice and the price is right, so it’s a win win for everyone. The next morning we woke up and headed to the outfitter which is another 30 minutes north of Ely. They know us and we know them, so every time we see them pleasantries are exchanged , but both parties know why we are there, so paperwork is done quickly and then the boats are loaded and we are on our way. The day we left was a day that should be photographed and placed in a proper dictionary under the word perfect. In Louisiana we would call this a bluebird day as the sky was royal blue and the sun was a bright fireball in the sky.
    As soon as the tow boats were loaded with canoes and bags, we headed out to Basswood Lake and to our drop off location on Lincoln Island. The trip takes about 1 hour to get to the island and from there we paddle to our camp site as no motorized boats are allowed where we were going. On this trip we were going to camp at a new spot which was on the back side of US Point and right on the Canadian border. The weather on the paddle out to our camp site was so good that it didn’t take us very long to make the 4 mile trip. As we pulled the canoes up to the campsite we assessed the layout and started pitching tents in the areas that we thought made the best pads. As usual there were some inclines and roots we had to navigate but within the next hour or so we had everything set up and were ready to hit the water for some evening fishing. As we would find out during the week, this campsite was nice, but it left a lot to be desired as far as how far you had to paddle to get to fishy waters. Yes, there was water 10 yards from our campsite, but it was shallow and sandy and with no structure for fish. In the boundary waters you have to find rock piles next to deep water, under water reefs and humps, logs that have fallen in to the water and points that stretch way out in the water. Fish relate to structure and up north they aren’t any different. You also have to have consistent weather which on this trip was non existent. Mother Nature would not play nice this week. Wind was a constant the whole week. Paddling distances to catch fish is tough, but paddling and fighting the wind the whole time is worse. Besides the wind, we had big rain storms come through two of the evenings we were there. The second storm lasted over 4 hours. The strong winds and rain would blow through and then it would start all over again. It did this 5 times during this storm. The tents looked like they were breathing and we were holding them down the best we could. On another day we got back to camp and out mesh kitchen tent had blown over and knocked down everything in it, and it ended up sitting perfectly upright just 15 feet away. The only thing that kept it from blowing off our campsite was that we had tied one end of it to a pine tree root. Needless to say the fishing was tough. We did not catch as many fish as we normally do, but man did we catch some beautiful fish. The two ladies both caught their personal best smallmouths and some of the other crew caught some nice pike and smallies to round the trip out. The old bee man did not have his best trip, but I did manage to put a few decent ones in the boat. The old wacky worm and Rapala minnow baits were the most productive baits for me and my wife, followed by a Mepps in-line spinner. If I could find a tree that had fallen into the water, and had a few feet of water under it I could just about call the fish. Pitch the wacky worm, let it slowly sink, and just wait for the fish to pick the bait up and start swimming with it. I love this type of fishing, as this usually catches larger fish on average which is why I go. I am in search of the elusive 5 pound smallmouth which I will catch one day, but it would not be on this trip. On the second to last day we moved to a campsite closer to the pick up location and caught some nice fish from this spot. This is the area my wife caught her PB smallmouth on a Rapala tail dancer minnow bait. We had fished early that morning with some top water baits, but did not have any luck. We then came in and ate breakfast while the other people fished and then headed out when they came in to eat. We hopped into the canoe and paddled maybe 100 yards down the shore and she cast parallel to a shoreline as it entered a bay and the fish took the bait hard. The fight was on and she did a great job of getting the fish to the net. This fish made the trip for her and for me also. When ever you can help put someone on a fish like that, it really makes the effort worth it. I had my GPS and we paddled between 5 to 8 miles everyday and fought wind the whole time except for early early in the morning. We ended up catching about 3 fish that morning and 3 more on the way to the pick up location. My wife caught the last smallie of the trip and after this fish we both knew that it was time to put the rods up. We then paddled to the pick up location and within a few minutes the other three canoes joined us.
    As the trip ended we all agreed that the trip was tough as far as fishing and paddling goes, but the memories of catching fish and breaking each other’s chops around the camp were priceless. The north woods is something everyone should discover and fall in love with. You don’t have to do these big trips to to experience them. There are plenty of small towns up and down the coast of Lake Superior that you can get lost in and have a great time. Don’t wait folks, as time waits for no one. Take care and the bee man will see you down the road with another trip report in the near future.








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    Last edited by Labeeman; September 20th, 2021 at 06:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Marksman

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    I am so jealous of you guys. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Marksman

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    Great story as always. I imagine most of us are envious of your trips.


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  4. #4
    Marksman

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    I post my travels for two reasons. One is I like to write and two I want to inspire people to get out and explore this great country of ours. When I was young I should have really made a better effort to do more to travel the lower 48. As I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to afford better trips, but in reality you don’t need tons of money to take some trips especially if you are young and can camp the whole time. Two years ago my wife and I went up to Arkansas and camped in the ozarks and I think we only spent a little over 100 bucks. We ate food from the house the whole time and camped the rest of the time. We had a great time.

  5. #5
    Marksman

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    "On the road", eh? Bayoushooter's own Jack Kerouac! Seriously though, it looks beautiful out there.

  6. #6
    Marksman

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    Thanks for sharing your adventure

  7. #7
    Oldie

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    Labeeman, I always enjoy your trips. As I think I have mentioned before, I have spent three week-long trips into the Boundary Waters. Even though these trips were over fifty years ago, your narratives bring the memories back vividly for me. I thank you for that.

    You are so correct that one should get out while you are younger and enjoy the outdoors. Life flies by so quickly.
    "Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." T. Roosevelt

    God Bless & Help America

  8. #8
    Sooooo Cheesy!

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    Thoroughly enjoyed the post as per always. Please keep ‘em coming.
    PSA: run up on me while I'm getting my Beef and Cheddar on and point a gun or gun like object in my face, be prepared to catch some hot ones. -Vanilla Gorilla

    Okay, why the hell is there a cock picture in my thread? -JWG223

  9. #9
    Marksman

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    Glad you made it out there. What I wouldn’t give to have been there 50 years ago. America was a much different place back then. I wonder if you had to get permits from state to head out there . Reply back if you can recall.
    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone1970 View Post
    Labeeman, I always enjoy your trips. As I think I have mentioned before, I have spent three week-long trips into the Boundary Waters. Even though these trips were over fifty years ago, your narratives bring the memories back vividly for me. I thank you for that.

    You are so correct that one should get out while you are younger and enjoy the outdoors. Life flies by so quickly.

  10. #10
    Oldie

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    Didn't need permits. Drank the water out of the middle of the lakes with out any treatment. Went through Canadian customs at a cabin. Loons are really nice, calling in the evening. Went out of both Ely and Grand Marie (sp?). Might have seen maybe one or two other parties during the week. Very quiet.
    Last edited by cyclone1970; September 20th, 2021 at 12:51 AM.
    "Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." T. Roosevelt

    God Bless & Help America

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