Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places

First Trip To Sylvania

By Joe Fellmeth Print Icon Print Report View/Leave Comments (0)
Dates:August 21-23, 2023
Entry Point:1 - Clark Lake (Sylvania)
Lakes:Clark, Deer Island, Loon

This was my first trip to the Sylvania Wilderness. I took my 70 year old Navy vet neighbor with me who seemed to really enjoy the trip. We started at the launch on Clark Lake and paddled to the Clark/Loon Lake portage as we would be camping at Osprey 1 on Loon Lake. As we neared the portage, someone yelled to us from shore that there was a swarm of bees at the Clark/Loon portage and advised we go to the next portage to the north and take the hiking trail down. Since my neighbor is alergic to bees, we opted to take the longer route which more than doubled the portage distance. We eventually made it to our campsite and got all set up just in time for a thunderstorm to roll in which lasted all night long. We still managed to build a fire in the rain and enjoy the evening under the tarp.

The following day was very windy. We had planned on fishing all day so we set out about late morning to fish despite the wind. I had heard that Deer Island Lake had great smallmouth bass fishing so we determined to go there. When we got to the Loon/Deer Island Lake portage, we were greeted by a lone paddler setting out on Loon Lake. He informed us the fish should be close to shore. We made the portage to Deer Island Lake and began fishing. The wind was blowing strong and it was a constant battle to keep the boat from running ashore. We eventually paddled to the leeward side of an island to get out of the wind. We had a few small bass strike near shore but eventually found some big smallmouth bass between the island and mainland in the deep water while letting the wind blow us across the lake while our soft baits dragged across the bottom. I was using a white curly tail jig and my neighbor was using a purple minow jig which the bass seemed to really like. The bite was good for about thirty minutes or so and then slowed down considerably. We decided to head back to camp rather than fight the wind any more.

While back at camp, we made up our lunch of dehydrated meals which do not weigh much, take up little space, and are pretty tastey. We tried to go fishing on Loon Lake later that evening but gave up due to the wind which was still going strong. That night we heard wolves howling around the lake.

The final day we packed up right away and headed out. The weather was amazing on the last day and made for a pleasant paddle back. It was an amazing trip, and although my neighbor said he probably would not do a trip like that again due to the physical demands, I will certainly be back for more of that paradise that is the Sylvania Wilderness.

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