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Boundary Waters in July

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I am going to be going to the Boundary Waters in the end of July and was wondering what to expect in the way of fishing. It is meant to be a canoe trip but to me its gonna be more a fishing trip. laugh I was wondering what you guys recommend I should bring up there in the way of tackle. Its a canoe trip so I cant bring my whole baitshop and will have to pack a small tackle box and a rod or two. Any recommendations on what to bring and what to expect up there that time of year?

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I went in July a few years back and I will recommend spinnerbaits. You will catch nice pike and smallies on them. And then maybe some jigs with plastic twisters if you want to go after some walleyes also. You really dont need much, we had pretty good fishing in July.

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You will get 100+ different responses. Everyone will have their own take on this.

Personally, just pack your medium action spinning rod. Nothing too fancy. I've hauled out many broken fancy rods that people left laying out there. I use crank baits for bass, pike and 'eyes. Look to husky jerk-baits, shap raps and rs shads. Jigs and gulp are always a great option. Just get the regular gulp in the plastic bags, the alive is too much to carry. Always take a Johnsons silver minnows. Those will produce tons of bass and pike.

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The Boundary Waters is a big place with many different lakes and types of fishing. Give us a rough idea of what lakes you'll be going through, and I'm sure we can cobble together a few lame ideas for you.

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First of all I will cover my rod/reel preferences for Canada fishing, which is what I consider the kind of fishing in the boundary waters as:

A medium action rod spinning rod, and a larger reel spooled with 20lb braid is what I'd bring. Medium action rods are perfect for casting everything from senkos to the smaller musky lures, and have plenty of backbone for fighting a large fish if you are lucky enough to hook one.

Braided line on a large spool is good to have, because you can pull off of many snags(limited # of lures means you hate to lose one) and you want to make sure that if SOMETHING goes wrong and you have to cut off some line, you still have plenty to fish with.

On to lures:

As mentioned before, spinners are great in Canada. I recently decided I love the mepps "musky killer" for pike fishing. I even had bass hit on it, though most were too small to take it.

Rapalas of all varieties are also great all-species lures. I wish I had brought more deep diving shad raps when I was in Canada a few weeks ago, but that was mostly for trolling purposes. However if we couldn't have trolled those areas, I would have been casting a deep diver around. Jointed and regular shad raps and original floaters are my favorites, with husky jerk-baits also getting a nod. I don't currently bother with any non-rapala crankbaits, but there are other great brands out there.

On my recent trip to Canada, there were some real surprises such as a 37 inch pike, multiple musky including a 44 incher, and even a lake trout(up in the shallows!!) on 5'' wacky-rigged senkos. I caught more fish on senkos than any other lure that entire trip, mostly pike and SM bass. It may or may not perform well in the boundary waters, but this was my first time using senkos and it was very recently so I just had to let you know that I had great luck and they might work for you.

I always consider it important to bring jig heads and twisty tail grubs. They are such a great lure, don't take up much space, and they are many people's go-to bait for all-species fishing.

If you brought those 4 kinds of lures, you'd be more than well-equipped, and able to fish just about any kind of water in the boundary waters. There are other things that might be worth bringing(spoons, spinnerbaits, and topwaters/buzzbaits being my next picks) depending on how much room you have in a small tackle box. If it were me, I'd bring at least one spring bulldawg, just for kicks.

Terminal tackle:

swivels, leaders, and hooks don't take up much room. Bring some. I recommend tying fluoro leaders from something like 25lb Triple Fish Fluorocarbon. They don't screw up floating rapala's action the way that wire leaders do, and I haven't had a single bite-off even after hooking into probably close to 80 pike and a couple musky.

Other tackle:

Tools. I can't think off the top of my head the tools you may want, but the list definitely includes: line cutters, needle-nose pliers, a knife, jaw spreaders..

My mind is blanking right now but I think I covered just about all that I would want to personally bring.

You can do with ALOT less than what I mentioned. A rod, reel, knife, pliers, and only a couple of lures can easily be sufficient. I tend to bring way more tackle than I need. However, I think that perhaps everything I mentioned might not be overkill for a boundary waters trip.

One thing you might want to invest in if you don't already have one is headlamp(I much prefer LEDs since they're so bright). I have been fishing at dusk/dark and caught fish just as the sun was going down, and sometimes it's just plain hard to see the lure to unhook your catch without a light of some kind. Headlamps are just also good to have when overnighting in the outdoors anyways.

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mainbutter covered it well. If I had to fit ALL my tackle in a 9 x 14 inch plastic box, I'd bring a few spinnerbaits, a coupla swim jigs, 4 or 5 shad raps of various sizes, a couple buzzbaits, terminal tackle for livebait, some husky jerk-baits, and a couple bucktails.

If you said 3 lures it'd be #9 shad rap in silver, a 1/2 oz spinnerbait, and a # 10 husky jerk in gold. Rapalas catch everything up there, and bass/pike with the spinnerbait.

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Good tips but for me a little heavy for the BWCAW.

If it was me, this is the ideal set up. You will need to adjust for what you have or available to spend.

6'6" ML spinning rod

6# clear line, I like gamma

Extra spool of 6#.

Back up rod if you have the room.

- Split shot various sizes

- octopus hooks/various sizes and colors

- 1/8 and 1/4 oz jigs

- 3" twisters

- 2 Topwaters baits

- 2 Deep Cranks

- 2 Shallow cranks

- 2 Spoons

- 1 leader

- 2 packages of spinners

- swivels

- weights for lindy/spinner set up

- If you can swing live bait, some how, you would be golden. My advice, a pound of leeches in an air filled bag and once you get there, a leech locker.

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Seabass is right on. You didn't say if you are bringing live bait or not. Leeches and crawlers in a crawler box[bulk box will hold about 8 doz and 14 doz big box] under a shade tree will hold up pretty good then just use smaller worm boxes for fishing out of. Minnows probally won't make it. I've done it but is a lot of work.

I use rapalas with 3 ways to get them down to deeper fish. Heddon mini torpedos

2-lighted bobbers for fishing at night of campsite[ always have a line out at camp]

plastics -power bait, gulp, twisters, 5" shads blk/slvr, slugos

terminal tackle

I bring 2 rods and reels - 2nd set up for back up rod and reel then you don't have to bring extra line

I use mono my self up there

20lb steel leaders

jigs with marabou hair have worked well for me

rattlin raps

just a little of each

i'm sure there is more that I can't think of right now

Good luck up there it is my favorite place to go.

PS one other lure that I've had fun with is the pink storm lure. I know you guys are laughing and it started as a joke to bring this secret lure out at camp. I Took a lot of ripping until it caught one northern after another, then they shut up. Who would have thought this was going to actually catch fish.

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I probably wont bring live bait as I dont think I could keep it alive in a back pack. Thanks for the suggestions keep them comming. The outfitter we are going out of is in Grand Marais if that helps on location at all.

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Guys I know stop and buy frozen smelt in Grand Marias along with some special long shank hooks to use with them. Down deep for lake trout was the plan. Didn't work on the trip I was on and I think the Rangers I was with really wanted the smelt to eat.

I've also put leeches in a thermos and it worked out well. Well, it was OK until I found 3 dead ones in there rotting away on about day 3. Coffee never tasted the same out of that thermos.

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Seabass is right on - I have brought in a half pound of leeches (in a leech locker) and just let them ride under my seat and carry them on the portages when I carry my pole. It wasn't too much extra effort and it is nice for slip bobbering when you are cutting wood or messing around camp. Other wise jig head and twister tails with catch smallies and try an original rapala in rapids for small walleyes to eat during the heat of the summer.

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I recomend doing as seabass does except rig up with 8lb test. In the waters of the bwca I haven't noticed a diference between 8 and 6lb line. plus when you hook that 45 inch pike you will want the 8lb.

gamma is the way to go.

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I like the 8lb mono.

That second reel to protect it I put it in a small tupperware with the handle off.

A kevlar glove or gloves for handling the toothy gators isn't a bad idea.

The leeches also need to stay cool out of the sunlight. They're the most durable but will also die just like anything else.

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I used 10# fireline, on my trips into the BWCA. I didn't have as many problems with line twist. A back-up rod is a must, if a rod breaks on day 2, you at least have another. I put our leeches in plastic peanutbutter jar for portages, packed in duluth pack. The net leech tamer, helped during water changes and kept leeches fatter.

1/16, 1/8, 1/4 Jigs-n-twistertails were our best, worked for every thing, mepps spinners, a couple floating cranks, split shot and floats. My tackle pack weight only 1 1/2lb. very lite compared to what some guys bring.

We didn't fish must when we were paddling site to site. Fished during lunch stops, and after setting up camp. We traveled 60 miles in 10 days. Super trip, the scouts were a great bunch. THANKS GUYS

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Mepps are a great lure for chasing northerns and bass with, and don't forget to toss in a couple of deep diving cranks and heavier spoons like a Little Cleo for lake trout.

Leeches, jigs, and a few lures, and you're pretty much set to go. Ciscos or smelt for lakers if you're going to be on laker waters the first couple of days.

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