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   Fishing in the BWCA or Quetico is a rewarding experience. The area offers four main species of fish including Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Northern, and Lake Trout. The state record Walleye weighing 17lbs. 9oz. was caught in Saganaga lake one of our entry points into the Boundary Waters. The state record Northern, Lake Trout, and Brook Trout were all caught in the Canoe Area as well. As you can see the trophy fish are out there along with many smaller breeds of these fish. We have tried to compile a helpful list of fishing tips which will hopefully enhance what you already know.


· a soft sided tackle box of a very small size
     (one per canoe)
· one or two fillet knives per group
· needle nose pliers with cutter
· extra spool of line
· red and white spoon (1/2 oz-3/4oz are good
· copper and orange hammered spoon
· steel leaders 6-8 inches in length
· Sutton spoon (silver)
· Smithwick rattlin' Rogue (blue & silver, black &      silver, or firetiger
· Rapala 3-4, sizes 9-18, mix floaters & divers,
     blue, silver, perch
· Rattle Trap
· Lazy Ike
· Possibly one Shad Rap or one Fat Rap
· a handful of lead head jigs, varying from
     1/4oz-1/2oz, assorted colors with yellow
     being being a favorite
· fuzzy grub tails
· Swedish Pimple, yellow or red
· Berkly power grub or other Berkly power baits
· Mepps spinners 4 or 5 varying color size and
     with or without tails #2 or #3 with buck tails
     or with silver blades are our favorite
· a couple of slip bobbers with matching split
· Lindy rigs either plain hook floater or spinner
· plain hooks
· leeches and leech locker

fishing lures

   This is a large list of tackle but it covers fishing for all the species. Not everyone wants to fish for all the species so look over the following and bring what you want to fish for. Keep in mind these lakes have been formed by glaciers and there are many rock outcroppings for your lures to get snagged on, so bring enough gear to cover your losses. You may have noticed we did not include a landing net on our list. This is because we feel it is too bulky to carry along. You may lose a few fish because of this, but overall it will be much easier.

   Rapalas, Smithwick rattling Rouges, slip bobbers, plain hooks, Lindy rigs, jigs, Swedish Pimple, Leeches, leech locker, 6 pound test. Walleyes are a somewhat finicky species so it isn't wise to use bulky items such as leaders and big hooks when fishing for them. Keep in mind they are nocturnal and do much of their feeding in the evenings and early mornings, this is when you can experience some outstanding action. Slip bobbers with leeches is probably the best method, but probably not the most exciting. But with leeches on jigs it is a little more fun and productive. In May and June Walleyes are usually in 10-15 feet of water along the shores or points or where running water enters the lake. In the evenings they will tend to go a little shallower even into 5 feet of water, this is when you use your Smithwick's or floating Rapalas. July, August and September Walleyes move into deeper water off of reefs, down to 30 feet of water. Casting deep diving rapalas in the evening over reefs in about 10 feet of water will be good in these months.

Smallmouth Bass

   Mepps spinners, worm baits, jigs, and Lazy Ikes, 6-18lb. test. This species can be found the majority the summer along the shorelines, at the beginning and end of moving water and around reefs. Underwater rocks provide great cover for them and they can be found the majority of time by these rocks. They also like weeds but will prefer the rocks however, if both rocks and weeds are found together then prepare for some hot action. Smallmouth Bass are excellent eating and great fighters so enjoy catching them.

Northern Pike

  Spoons, Rattle Traps, leaders, Rapalas, and Lazy Ikes, 6-10 lb test. Northerns are caught near running water in May and early June. In mid-June the weed beds start forming and provide great habitat for them. Fish points and islands throughout the summer but especially in the fall. Northerns can be caught on many lures used to catch other species, but if you are pursuing the Northern exclusively, then try using a steel leader and spoon. They are a territorial species and will hit anything in their area. Since the water in our area remains cool throughout the summer, Northern are great eating, Just ask us how to remove the Y bone if you don't already know.

Lake Trout

  Sutton spoons, Swedish Pimples, and other spoons, 12 lb test and up. Trolling a Sutton spoon is an effective way to catch Lake Trout. This species love cool waters around 44 degrees, so early spring you can fish shallower and keep getting deeper throughout the summer. Make sure to bring enough weight, up to 2 oz. to get your spoon down. When Trout are deep you will need to troll very slowly with lots of line out to get it down to 30-50 feet range and deeper. Troll just fast enough to feel the lure turning over. They are great fish to eat but do not provide a lot of action.

General Fishing Tips

   Since you will not have a net along you will need to take care when removing your fish from your line. When removing walleyes and Northerns you will want to grab the by squeezing their gills to close them. Smallmouth you just put your thumb inside to grab their lower lip. Never put your hands inside the fishes gills or grab them by the eyeballs. Since you will only be keeping enough fish to eat, you will be releasing a fair number of fish, always wet your hands before handling them and return them to the water as fast as possible. Using a barbless hook is a good idea for catch and release but you will lose some fish with one.
   An unattended lure is an accident waiting to happen. Many of times campers need to cut their trip short due to a hook stuck in their hand or body. To prevent this from happening we have a rule around our place and when we are out on trips. If anyone finds a rod with a lure on it unattended, then the lure is theirs. Always remove lures from the rod when not fishing and especially when portaging.
   To make transporting your rod and reel easier on a portage take the reel off and pack it into your bags. Then, using Velcro straps attach your rod to the canoe, one strip on the tip and one at the butt end of the rod.
   A medium action rod 5 1/2 to 6ft. is a good choice for wilderness fishing. If you can bring two different spools to attach to your reel, use heavy test line on one and light on the other.

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189 Sag Lake Trail
Grand Marais, MN 55604


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