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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness  

Boundary Waters named by USA Today as one of the Top Ten Places to Extend the Summer

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Boundary Waters Magazine.com



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Fishing the "Inland Empire" of the Northcountry

There are few places on the planet that offer the abundance and variety of fishing that the Canoe Country region does. The ways to fish are almost too numerous to mention; wading small streams, float tubing small lakes, canoeing, renting a small rowboat, hiring a guide to take you fly fishing, or hiring a guide and his/her boat to try to land a state record walleye.

The list of species is also a long one ... walleyes, of course, the aggressive smallmouth bass, our voracious northern pike, deep cold lakes filled with lake trout, and the many streams and lakes filled with both stocked and native rainbow and brook trout.

You can make this a solo excursion where the only other living things on the body of water you're fishing are the ones that live there ... chattering red squirrels, bald eagles soaring overhead, moose wading in the shallows near you, and the loons calling across the lake. Or you can make it a family trip with several people in boats anchored off a rocky reef ... waiting for the movement of your slip bobber to signal the start of a walleye feeding frenzy!

No matter where you go the best thing you can do is to ask the locals where the fish are biting and what they are biting on. Unless you're a recent Dale Carnegie graduate you won't get their best-kept secrets ... but you'll certainly save yourself a lot of fruitless searching. The quickest way I know to get some good information is to spend a little money in whatever shop you're in. These folks earn their living by selling things to visitors so ask them what to use and then buy a couple ... pick up a map, or some live bait, and a couple of cold drinks. Rent your watercraft from them if possible ... or ask them who they'd recommend. You'll be amazed how helpful these locals will be ... it only stands to reason. And make sure you stop back and tell them how you did ... because this is how they keep abreast of the current fishing conditions. And a hearty Thank You on your way out the door will go a long way.

As always, no matter where you fish, you need to respect the rights of property owners on the waterways. Stay off lawns, docks, and private roads. Always ask for permission to cross what might be private property. And whatever you do DON'T LITTER!! This is the cardinal sin! Pick up any trash you see ... even if it isn't yours. This will endear you to other fisherfolks and nearby property owners.

If you are thinking of hiring a guide during your visit you should try to do this from home before you come to our area. The best guides are booked weeks and months in advance. Many visitors get hooked on our area and have annual reservations. If you haven't done this please inquire about a guide when you hit town ... you might get lucky and find an unexpected opening. Be sure to talk to your guide before the day of fishing so you'll know what to expect, what to bring, and be able to talk about how you want to fish. You're paying the freight so be sure to get the type of excursion you want. If you want your son to cast for the active smallmouth but your guide wants to sit and watch slip bobbers for big walleyes it will be disappointing for everyone ... most notably your son!

Your next stop, when you hit town, is to make a sweep of local tourist information centers, Chambers of Commerce, and bait and tackle shops ... talk to folks and pick up any of the handouts these places offer to visitors. This will give you enough information to start your search for active lakes, places to rent a guide or a watercraft, and access points.

Good Luck!

Roger Hahn, Editor

       --article courtesy of BoundaryWatersMagazine


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