It only took a couple portages for me to realize that the aluminum boats we use on South Dakota rivers are not necessarily the best boats to be carrying around on your back. Although the portages were short, after finding out the weight of other boats (Kevlar), I realized that we would be renting our canoes next time. The first trip that we took into the BWCA we went from Moose up to Ensign and only had to portage once. This trip there were five portages and the one going into Insula was kinda tough with an 85 lb. canoe on your back.
So we made to Insula around four in the afternoon and found a campsite that suited the size of our group. Spent the rest of the afternoon getting our campsite set up. We all grilled steaks and baked some spuds and enjoyed the scenery and weather (which was great all during our stay).
Some of us were up early to get out on the lake for some fishing. There were plenty of Northern Pike caught and released. We were mainly after Walleye or Perch, caught some little Perch and Smallmouth Bass. My canoe partner caught a Northern the second day that measured 38". He fought him for around 20 minutes total, didn't even see the beast for 15 minutes. We had heard the report of the new MN state record Walleye being caught at Insula, and really wanted to get into some of them. We tried many different lures and rigs before finally picking some up on our last full day. On Wednesday morning we started catching Walleyes on 1/4 oz leadheads tipped with a crawler. Didn't seem to matter what color, when we ran out of crawlers we tried power bait crawlers....didn't seem to work (note to self...bring more crawlers).
We would get up early to fish in the mornings, back to camp around 11 or 12. Nap or play cards after lunch, fish some more til 5 or so, then come in to make supper. After supper we would head back out for an hour or two of night fishing. We had depth finders that complimented the maps we had brought.
We ate fresh fish every night for supper, enjoyed some beautiful weather and scenery. What I enjoy most is the pristine wilderness, and appreciate everyone's effort to keep it that way by picking up trash and packing everything out. We even picked up our peanut shells.
Thursday morning we woke up at 5:30 and got some coffee and cold breakfast. We were packed and on the water by 7:15. Funny that the trip back to Lake one entry point took 2 hr. less getting out than getting in. Might have had something to do with some iced down beverages that were left in one of our vehicles. Sure tasted good after not having anything cold for a week.
Loaded up and headed back to Ely where we rented the same house from Canoe Country for that night. Boy those showers feel good when you get out! Everyone got cleaned up and we headed down to Cranberry's for our favorite burgers and malted beverages. We were a pretty tired group and were sawing logs that night by eleven. Up early the next day for the long drive home.
This is or second trip to Ely and the BWCA, we were planning our next trip in 2003 on the drive home.
I would like to thank the people that visit this site for the helpful advise we received prior to our trip. And the friendly people at Canoe Country Outfitters, and the people of Ely Minnesota.