Rafting and Camping for Wisconsin Wilderness Smallmouths

Fishing the St. Croix River and testing the OL Guide Life Bunkhouse tent

Where: Upper St. Croix River

When:First week of August

GL Gear Used: Bunkhouse 6-person tent

Trip Synopsis: Two guys, one wild river and five days to float it–take-out unknown. We caught smallmouth every day, camped on the riverbank every night, and ate our fill of walleye. Rain or shine, hot or cold, bony rock gardens or churning rapids, we fished hard.

Gear Impression: The Bunkhouse kept us dry in the rain, bug-free in the dark, and happy to stretch our bones after all day in a cramped raft. The huge vestibule meant we didn’t have to bother with a tarp for our gear. Set-up was easy and intuitive, and there were plenty of pockets to store all our small stuff inside the tent–no lost headlamps or crushed glasses. A great tent that’ll always have a place in the raft.

Read Next: OL Guide Life: Gear for Base Camp and Beyond

The Guide Life Bunkhouse 6-person tent served as a roomy roving base camp for a week-long wilderness smallmouth trip on the Upper St. Croix River in Wisconsin. David Karczynski

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rafting st croix river
Although our original goal was to raft and fish 50 miles of wild river, the smallmouth fishing proved so good that we only managed 25. Great fishing is difficult to pass up. David Karczynski

We camped on the riverbank each night of our trip. When we weren’t fishing hard for smallies, we relaxed in camp. We also took along a couple of Guide Life Catskill Camp chairs and threw walleye lures from the bank to catch dinner. David Karczynski

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campfire at night ol guide life
A campfire, shore dinner of walleyes, and a cocktail proved to be the best way to wind down after a hardcore day of fishing. David Karczynski
smallmouth bass fishing ol guide life
The smallmouths on each leg of our wilderness camping trip proved to be both plentiful and outsized. David Karczynski