Fishing Archives

Bassin' along the border, Chris Niskanen

Don Beans and I were taking a catnap on a canoe portage. It's not kosher to sleep on portages in canoe country, but we just had eaten lunch and didn't expect visitors on a rugged trail to a tiny lake that was no more than a pinprick on a map of Canada's Quetico Provincial Park, the sister wilderness to Minnesota's Boundary Waters.

The lake was off any major travel routes and harbored giant smallmouth bass. At least that is how Beans, an Ely, Minn., guide, remembered it. He had stumbled across the big bass years ago, had caught many with a client and vowed to return someday to the secret, magical lake. And that's why we were there -- to rendezvous with big smallmouth bass that are, pound for pound, the toughest fish in the north woods.

No doubt we would have the place to ourselves.

It took a day and a half of travel from Ely to put us at the portage to Hidden Bass Lake. But things had changed. Large and ancient cedars, which had hidden the route from prying eyes, had been cut down by rangers. The brush was neatly snipped away. Compared with the portage we just had left, this path looked like highway. We laid down our gear and hiked over the hill, only to find another canoe had beat us to the punch. The lake's only campsite was occupied, too. The anglers happily waved to us.  (Continued..... July, 26, 1998 Pioneer Press) (Back to Home) (More on Fishing the BWCA)

BWCAW provides perfect opportunity to use inexpensive gear, Chris Niskanen

After recently spending six days fishing and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park, I came away with a few thoughts on the proper wilderness rod and reel. Two words can sum them up: Simple and cheap.

I found two Boundary Waters rods (both spinning) in a discount bin at a local sporting goods store. I went to the cheapo bin because I know if I ever took a fine Loomis rod into the wilderness, destiny demands that I'll break or lose it. A guide friend says he has found some expensive fishing rods left on portages. (Continued.... July 24, 1997, Pioneer Press) (Back to Home) (More on Fishing the BWCA)

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