Fishing Tackle for the Boundary Waters

The Boundary Waters provides world-class freshwater fishing opportunities. Come prepared for the excitement of a fish on your line!

Many items are available for purchase in our outfitting shop.
Remember that whatever you bring must be portaged – so don’t bring too much tackle. Ideally, all your gear should fit into a small (i.e., 8″ x 11″ x 2″) tackle box. Tailor the below list to the type of fishing you plan to do. We recommend using live bait in the BWCAW. Nightcrawlers and leeches are the easiest to use and keep alive. Live bait, organic bait, and the use of barbed hooks is prohibited in Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park. All are allowed in the BWCAW.

Spinning Rod and Reel: Medium action rod with 6-10 lb. test line.
Hooks: Bait type with short shank in sizes 4 to 6.
Sinkers: Bring an assortment of split shot from “bb” size on up. Slip sinkers should range from 1/8 to 1/2 ounce. For deep trolling bring 1 to 2 ounce weights.
Plugs: Both surface and diving. Sizes from 2 to 5 inches (e.g.; Rapalas, Lazy Ikes, Heddon Torpedoes).
Inline Spinners, Spinner Baits and Buzz Baits: Mepps in sizes 1, 2 & 3. Silver, gold, chartreuse, white, and black.
Rigged Spinners: “Pre-rigged” hooks with spinner blades, beads and approximately 12 inches of line. Hook sizes from 4 to 6 with spinner blade colors in chartreuse, silver, hammered brass, yellow, red/white and black/white.
Jigs: 1/8 to 3/8 ounce sizes, and foam floating jig heads.
Hair and Feather Type Jigs: 1/8 to 1/4 ounce sizes in yellow, orange, chartreuse, red and white. For Lake Trout, a few 1/2 to 1 ounce jigs in black, white, yellow, red/white, and black/white.
Rubber Bodied Jigs and Soft Baits: A variety of plastics work well, including twister tails, Senko-style plastic worms with a wide gap hook, swimbaits, and Gulp products. Chartreuse, white, yellow, black, and pumpkin seed.
Swivels: Two-way type.
Steel Leaders: If you are targeting northern pike or lake trout, bring several from 4 to 8 inches.
Bobbers: Slip bobbers are easiest to cast.
Stringer: One or two cord stringers work well and are compact.
Needle Nose Pliers: For releasing fish, and a must for sharp-toothed pike and walleye.