We just returned from a trip to the BWCA. This was a first for my wife and daughter (8). My son (10) was on his second trip. We joined a good friend and his wife and kids (8 and 6). Our friend is quite experienced in the BWCA–no outfitter necessary.
We chose a location that wasn’t too big of water and that kept our portaging to a minimum so as not to overwhelm anyone. We lucked out and got a fantastic campsite after a short portage and paddle. Of course, it started pouring as we paddled into the site, but it didn’t last long. As we started to set up camp, the kids went exploring. Soon, our friends’ son returned to tell us that our son had gotten hurt–ugh. I went to find. He’d cut his foot on a rock, so I carried him back to camp. Luckily, our friend is a vet surgeon and had a well-stocked 1st aid kit along. Our son was brave, and our friend stitched up the bottom of his foot. Lemme tell you, there was a lot of screaming and crying! It saved us a long trip to the ER, though, and he did fine the rest of the trip.
The weather was windy, and the first 2 days, we would get sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain all day. It wasn’t bad, but it was a little frustrating to go out fishing in the sun and be getting rained on in 30 minutes.
We had good luck fishing and ate walleye every night. Most fish were caught shallow (< 5′) near weed beds trolling shallow diving crank baits. We found several spots that consistently produced fish. The kids did well and really enjoyed themselves. We caught several pike in the low 30″ class–my wife got the first. Not to be outdone by mom, my son got a bigger one the next day. And my daughter got a nice one the following day. It was her first experience with bigger fish (i.e. not panfish), and she did awesome. Unfortunately, we picked a lake without smallmouth, but the walleye and pike kept us pretty busy.
Our slowest day was the last day when the weather got hotter and sunnier. I’m guessing it pushed the fish a bit deeper, but we still caught some.
All in all, it was a successful 5-day trip, and my wife and daughter said they’d love to go again.
More pics to follow as I get them uploaded.