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HomeNL-2012-07 Boundary Waters

Boundary Waters
May, 2012
Dana Enos

I returned last week from the Boundary Waters (Minnesota) along with my friend Mike Brown, a devoted fisherman. I think you would have enjoyed being with us as the fishing was good and learning some of Mike's tricks proved beneficial.

We drove to the same old free camping spot in Kansas (Sundance Park) and went to bed expecting strong storms and about 0400 hours Mike woke me and recommended we leave as lightning and thunder were all around us. We were fortunate to get packed before the heavy rains hit so our gear wasn't too wet. We drove on to the Rockwood Lodge and they had a cabin we could use so drying our tents was no problem. Next day we got our fishing license, permit and entered into East Bearskin Lake at the same place we entered last year. We had a stiff wind from the East but managed to paddle 2 1/2 miles to the entry point and instead of three portage trips into Alder Lake we made four, since we were taking everything in including the kitchen sink. We decided if we were going to be base camping for three weeks we should live in comfort so in came our big tents, cots, big tarp, tables and bug protecting structure. We then paddled about two miles into the wind and arrived at the camp site across the lake from the site we had last year and it turned out to be the best site compared to all the rest in the adjoining lakes. We had room for our tents, bug proof tent and a 12 x 40 foot tarp. All the comforts of home.

Lake view
  Texians camp

Daylight arrived at 0400 and we would sleep in until 0500, eat a slow breakfast with about three cups of coffee, then pack a lunch and head out for a day of fishing. It was dark at 0930 so we went to bed between 0800 and 0930. We spent a lot of time on Alder but the fishing was poor until the last day when it appears the lake water heated up to the point the bass moved into the shallow water and became active. Before that we had only one pike and one bass to show for our efforts but the last day, in the morning, Mike and I caught and released fourteen. We would separate each day and I fished Canoe, Pierz and Alder lakes while Mike covered the same lakes except he added Crystal Lake. We caught Lake Trout and Small Mouth in Pierz and Crystal but Canoe only gave us Small Mouth, no Lake Trout. Lake Trout was the main fish we caught and we were allowed two per day and that was more than enough.  We only caught the one Pike in Alder and assume the water was too cold for them to be active. Mike deep-fried the fish so we had fish at least once a day and sometimes twice a day. The Lake Trout are a good eating fish with few bones to contend with.

Lake trout
  Dana with fish

One day we portaged to Canoe Lake then hiked over the portage trail (232 rods and a steep rock staircase on one side) to Pine Lake and then followed a trail of about one mile to Johnson Falls which was not as big as the one we visited near the Canadian Border but more picturesque.

This was one of the best trips I've ever had to the Boundary Waters, with only two days we couldn't fish due to winds, and many days we came back in the middle of the afternoon to sneak in a nap. Naps have become a very popular part my life. It was a very relaxing trip and with a campfire each night it gave us the opportunity to solve all the world's problems.

 The author,
Dana Enos