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    Free Info on Fishing From a Canoe, Canoe Camping, & Wilderness Camping

Wilderness Fishing & Camping

Below are some general tips for fishing while canoe camping in wilderness settings.  For more specifics, check out the fishing section of this site:

Know Your Water Before You Go

Know the makeup of the lake or river before you so you can pack the proper fishing tackle. Find out if the water is deep, shallow, turbid or clear.  Find out what types of species are in the body of water. A very good guide for Boundary Waters Canoe Area is the Boundary Waters Fishing Guide.  For free lake maps and river maps on the web, click here.

Clear Deep Water

Clear water is more difficult to fish than turbid water.  You will have to often fish deeper or fish early in the day or late at night or even after dark.  Use smaller baits or perhaps jigs topped off with a leach, nightcrawler, or twister tail.  Sometimes trolling a Rapala at or after dark in such lakes can be effective. Large spoons or crankbaits will usually not be effective in sunny mid day conditions.

Shallow Turbid or Stained Water

These types of lakes or rivers are easiest to fish. You can catch fish in midday by trolling a floating Rapala weighted down with one or two splitshot.  Also spoons, spinners, and other crankbaits can be effective as well as jigs tipped with worms, crawlers or twister tails.  Go around the lake once or twice near the drop off dragging a Rapala behind you and you will quickly find the productive fishing spots


It is usually impractical to bring minnows on a wilderness trip and may even be prohibited by law.  Leaches, (if allowed), are a nice bait to pack in - just make sure to keep them in a cool shady spot and change their water often.  Nightcrawlers are an easy bait to pack in as well.  Often, you can also find worms by turning dead logs or large rocks over and digging around under them.

Fish Thieves!

If you leave your fish on a stringer overnight, you risk your fish being stolen by raccoons or snatched by hungry turtles. The problem seems to be worst in well-used campsites where the animals have gotten used to an easy food supply.  Your only alternative is to just catch what you can eat or stand guard!