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A Northwoods Fishermen's Dream

Updated: May 24, 2021

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Far-North Minnesota is home to one of the premier Smallmouth Bass fisheries in North America.




The wailing of a loon pierces the early-morning calm as you sip a cup of coffee while watching a circling eagle dive for surfacing bass. The morning chill causes steam to roll off the glassy calm of the glacier-formed lake before you as you put another stick on the fire and flip your morning bacon sizzling over the open fire. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, or BWCA, in Northern, MN is a premier location for primitive camping, sightseeing, canoeing, and fishing. The crystal clear waters are famous for their abundance of hefty Smallmouth Bass, and are regarded as a world class fishery. Aside from the steady stream of Bronze Backs, fisherman can expect to land a multitude of species, including Northern Pike, Walleye, Largemouth Bass, and the Lake Trout.


“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, or BWCA, in Northern, MN is a premier location for primitive camping, sightseeing, canoeing, and fishing. The crystal clear waters are famous for their abundance of hefty Smallmouth Bass, and are regarded as a world class fishery.”

The 1,090,000 acre BWCA is part of the Superior National Forest and is maintained by the US Forestry Service out of Duluth, MN. The designated campsites scattered throughout the area contain a fire pit with grate and a latrine...that is it, nothing more, nothing less. If you want a primitive camping experience and to get away from the hustle and bustle, this fits the bill on all fronts. There is no electricity, no running water and little to no cell phone coverage. What is lacking in luxuries is very quickly replaced with relaxation and nature.

How it all started


The summer after my senior year of high school my friends' dad hauled a group of smelly teenagers the 730 miles from Kansas to the BWCA. I had grown up as a somewhat dedicated fisherman, and had done what I considered serious camping. Oh how I was wrong. That summer in 2002 drastically altered my path in life as an outdoorsmen. The week I spent in the serenity of the Northwoods created an addiction to primitive camping and paddlecraft fishing that has spanned nearly two decades and has spawned similar trips to nearly every corner of the country.


I have returned to the BWCA more than seven times and have brought friends and family multiple times. I once joked with my original tour guide of that fated trip that he spawned three generations of BWCA explorers, as friends I introduced have taken groups of their own. The highlight of my Boundary Waters experience was when I took my wife and kids in 2018. It was an experience like none other, watching the awe and amazement as my kids saw their first bald eagle and as they watched a loon swim in circles under our canoe.


We use LaTourell's Moose Lake Outfitters out of Ely for our canoes and permits. They are located on Moose Lake (imagine that) and have multiple options for trips into the BWCA or the neighboring Quetico, which is the wilderness area just north across the border into Canada. BWCA.com is also a great resource for BWCA and lake information as well as campsite reviews and pictures.

Contact us for any further tips and to book the necessary gear for this adventure.

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