Boundary Waters Fishing Information

We hope you will find this information useful and we wish you the best of luck on your next fishing adventure.

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

Ensure a Successful Boundary Waters Canoe Area Fishing Trip


There are ways to improve your odds for catching fish on a Boundary Waters canoe camping trip. I’ll share with you five sure fire ways to experience success on your BWCA canoe trip.

  • Make sure the Boundary Waters lake you are fishing in has the type of fish in it you are trying to catch. There’s no bigger waste of time than jigging for walleye when you’re on a lake that doesn’t contain walleye. The MN DNR has a listing of most of the lakes in the BWCA and what type of fish are in them. Make sure you’re using the right technique to catch fish on the right lake.
  • When you’re on a Boundary Waters fishing trip make sure you bring along a good variety of lures and plenty of them. There’s nothing more depressing than losing the hot lure and not having a replacement one in your tackle box.   You’ll no doubt lose a lure or two by getting them snagged on logs or rocks so bring along plenty of them so you don’t find yourself without the one lure that was working thebest.
  • Before you head into the wilderness waters of the BWCA make sure you have good line on your reel.
  • Replace old fishing line with new 8-10 pound test and plenty of it. Remember you’ll get snags and tangles and you want to have enough line even if you have to cut it a couple of times.
  • Go through the hassle of bringing along live bait. Chances are you’ll be able to catch plenty of fish in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness without live bait but why take the chance? You can increase your chance of catching fish by having a good variety of bait for the fish to choose from.

Lastly, spend plenty of time fishing while you’re on your Boundary Waters canoe trip. If you’re constantly paddling from campsite to campsite then you won’t have as much time to fish. You’ll lower your odds for catching fish if you don’t spend enough time fishing. Plan to set up a base camp and spend the majority of your time with your line in the water.

Consider these five BWCA fishing tips when you’re planning your next Boundary Waters Canoe camping trip. You’ll improve your odds of catching fish and of enjoying a fresh meal of fish while on your Boundary Waters fishing trip.

BWCA Fishing Trips

Voyageur Canoe Outfitter’s direct access into the Boundary Waters provides an angler with an opportunity to catch trophy fish as well as lots of BWCA fishing action. The Boundary Waters has some of the best smallmouth bass fishing around. Bass provide hours of action and entertainment in both the BWCA and Quetico Park.

The Boundary Waters is just a stone’s throw away from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters and where the state record walleye was caught. There’s nothing like a shore lunch of fresh walleye at a campsite on Saganaga Lake or on an island in the BWCA.

Both lake trout and northern pike are plentiful in these pristine wilderness waters around the Gunflint Trail. Fish from a canoe or use a boat and motor on Saganaga Lake where you’ll find the waters teeming with tasty Walleye, Feisty Smallmouth, nasty tempered Northern pike and the elusive Lake Trout.

General Fishing Tips

Fishing from a canoe in the Boundary Waters or Quetico Park is different than fishing from the comfort of a boat. When you portage into the canoe country you will not want to carry every lure, sinker or spoon you have. What you decide to bring should depend upon the species you plan to fish for so you do not have unnecessary tackle to haul around.

Fishing is best done once you have established your campsite unless you are only doing minimal portages. While it is tempting to fish while you are traveling between campsites experience has taught me people aren’t interested in back tracking to retrieve a lure snagged on a log a half of a mile behind the canoe when they have a destination in mind. I have also learned walking amongst trees on a portage with a rod and reel can sometimes result in broken rods or fishing line strung out the entire length of the portage. To make transporting your rod and reel across a portage easier remove the reel and pack it into one of your bags. Your fishing rods can be safely portaged inside of the canoe by using Velcro straps.  Just take one strip of Velcro for the tip of the rod and one for the butt end of the rod and secure it to the inside of thecanoe.

When you’re heading into the BWCA or Quetico Park it isn’t feasible to bring multiple rods per person. One rod per person should be enough for a canoe country fishing trip. A 5 ½ to 6-foot medium action rod is a good choice. You can bring two reels along with heavier line on one and lighter line on the other.

Since you are a long distance from the nearest hospital you should be extra careful when fishing in the Boundary Waters or Quetico Park. We’ve had guests paddle back with a lure in their hand because a northern pike shook while they were trying to remove the hook and we’ve even seen a hook stuck in a person’s eye due to a fishing partner’s careless casting. Unattended lures can be just as dangerous as casted lures so always remove lures from the line when you are finished fishing. To prevent injury from an unattended lure we have a rule around our place and when we are out on trips. If anyone finds an unattended rod with a lure on it then the lure becomes his or hers.


We have put together some information for your BWCA or Quetico Park fishing trip to help you catch fish. You will find our suggestions of what specific tackle you should use for each of the four main species in our area. Also find our suggested Tackle Box Checklist for a suggested tackle box packing list and learn about catch and release fishing and fish cleaning techniques here.


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