We arrived in Ely, MN. It was a group of 5 of us rolling into town at about 6 am after driving all night. I had moved to Chicago about 4 days earlier and was glad to be there. So I pulled into a park, everyone else got out of the car to walk around and I stretched out across the middle bench seat in the Suburban to try to get a little sleep before breakfast.
That Saturday was spent getting hooked up with the outfitter Canadian Waters, walking around town getting any last minute supplies, and trying to find someone, anyone who had a decent fly selection. (By the way, there's no fly fishing shop in Ely so if you go, take EVERYTHING you need.)
Canadian Waters was a great outfitter. I highly recommend them. They're a family business with a lot of experience. We stayed in their bunkhouses instead of springing for a hotel with is an awesome cheap alternative. Plus we got a free breakfast next door on Sunday morning right before heading out for staying there! Pancakes, eggs, and bacon and all I had to pay for was coffee.
Sunday morning we headed out. We used Mudro Lake as our entry point. The trip started with a 30 rod portage to the put in thanks to low water levels. Gave us a little taste of what was to come.
From Mudro we paddled up to Horse Lake. 3 portages and a couple of small rapids and we made it to our first camp. After pitching tents and gathering firewood, it was finally time to fish!We were situated on the face of a hooked point with a small protected cove off the back of the point. Myself, my cousin Mike, and my new friend CJ headed towards the cove to try our luck. I ended up getting a hold of a decent little Pike but that was it for the night. We got a couple of strikes, but the curse of the week had begun-- short strikes.
The next day we headed up Horse River towards what would be our base camp for 2 days. Upper Basswood Falls. Right at the Canada line. Horse River was unlike any river I'd ever seen. It was a grassy, reedy river. Just one single path about 3 canoes wide through marshland. Beautiful. It flows right into a lake that looks like it would be amazing pike habitat in the spring. Reed and weed beds all over the place. Then portage through Canada around the falls. They're not huge but there's a lot of water moving through them. Back in below the falls and to our camp.