Boundary Waters Fishing Trip – Getting Ready!

Canoe on Seagull Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota.
Canoe on Seagull Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota.

My 2017 Christmas weekend just ended and 2018 is less than several days away.  I am eagerly looking forward to 2018 and the many outdoor excursions I am planning.  It’s been mentioned more than a few times since this website, but one of the trips I have planned is a spring solo fishing trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

I am looking at the third or fourth week in May, just a couple weeks after the Minnesota fishing opener.  The plan is go after lake trout and splake.  I’ve caught lake trout charter fishing on Lake Michigan, but never have I caught them on my own by jigging, trolling, or bait casting.  Never before have I caught a splake.

As you can probably imagine I reading up on lake trout fishing and talking to people who have done it before with success in the Boundary Waters.  I’ve started putting together my tackle for the trip, but there is a lot more I need acquire yet.  And then there is my camping gear…  I have also been going through all my gear and deciding what to bring, what not to bring.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Base Camp

The plan is to base camp.  Some people like to camp at a new site every day and travel from lake to lake.  That’s fun too, but since I am planning to learn how to catch shallow lake trout, I plan on spending my time on a lake or a couple of lakes that have trout.  Most lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area don’t have trout, so I have to stick to those that do.

Normally, if planning on traveling to a new campsite every day I would pack light to travel light.  Since I’m base camping I plan on bringing a few luxury items with me.  I bought a SealLine 115 liter water proof canoe pack, and all my gear will fit into it.  It will be bogged down though.  A 115 liter pack can carry a lot of stuff!  More stuff than I need or should bring.  It will be important to keep reviewing my gear list and eliminating things I don’t need.

Some extra gear that I plan to bring along:

  • A portable camp chair.  The new portable chairs are super lightweight and durable.  Might be nice to have a chair along to relax in while I watch the sunrises and sunsets.
  • I am planning on bringing my hammock sleep system, as well as a tent sleep system.  Some campsite are not well suited for hammock sleeping, some are.  The extra weight of the hammock sleep system I have is minor, perhaps less than seven pounds for hammock, straps, bug netting, under-quilt, and rain fly.

And that’s really it.  All the other gear I plan to bring is my usual stuff; first aid kit, clothes, cooking kit, fire prep kit…etc…

In a future post I will put together a detailed list of what I am bringing with, perhaps even a YouTube video.  Speaking of which, I may bring a GoPro or other camera device along on the trip and record a video of the entire trip for YouTube.

May Is Going To Come Fast!

Anyone going into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area during the peak months needs to have an entry permit.  I can register for my permit to access the entry point I have chosen on January 31st, 2018.  The plan is to register then, on the first day, as well as make a reservation with the outfitter I am renting a canoe from to use on my trip.

Typically January is a cold month here in northwest Wisconsin.  Outside temp right now as I write this post is -7 Fahrenheit (-21.6 Celsius).  I think the high temperature today is supposed to reach about 1 or 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  So my plan for the month is January is to get a lot of gear preparation done for the my spring BWCA trip.

There are a few things I want to buy.  I need to upgrade my sleeping bag.  While I own four sleeping bags, I have not bought a new in several years.  Technology out now can make a super warm sleeping bag that weight just a few pounds and that is rated for cold temperatures down to 20 degrees.

Average temps in the BWCA in May are highs in the 60s and lows down into the 40s, even 30s.  My current sleeping bag rated for 32 degrees Fahrenheit is massive; bulky and heavy.  I don’t want to haul that along, So I am looking at a new lightweight sleeping bag that will compact nicely and be easy to carry in my pack.

There are some other gear items I want to check out too, such as a new Sawyer water purification system, and a new fry pan.

I love pouring through my camping gear, it can be relaxing and a great way to spend an afternoon on a cold January day when going outside to freeze doesn’t sound like fun.

Future BWCA “Getting Ready” Posts

I will be sure to share the fishing kit I am putting together once I have it nearly complete.  Then there will be some gear reviews I will do as well on old and new kit for the trip.

It’s no secret I’m looking forward to my May trip.  My wife is probably sick and tired of me talking about it and pouring over my maps of the BWCA area.

Of course there is also my challenge to lose 40 pounds of weight before this trip.  I have been writing about that too, and will continue to do so as I progress in my weight loss.  You can read more about that here.



TD is the owner and publisher of TD All Outdoors. He has been enjoying the outdoors since since he was a child. Over the years he has spent as much time as he can solo wilderness canoe tripping, overlanding, hiking, fishing, bushcrafting, hunting, hammock camping, and more. Aside from this blog, he also own his own coffee brand,

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