I can't get over how pretty this place is. There are dramatic granite faces and boreal forests, bald eagles teetering on the transparent air, and loons lying low in the water that dive when the boat is just feet away. It's all so scenic that it looks photoshopped, a postcard vista everywhere you look. The glaciers that moved through here from the northeast millions of years ago gouged out the softer rock, creating what would become about 2,000 lakes. When the earth warmed and the glaciers retreated, they dropped their rock debris, which would become beds for the streams connecting the lakes like beads on a necklace. The streams and the portages along them can be hard to spot. Sometimes all you see is a tiny opening in the shoreline pines, spruce, and cedar. In some spots the beaches can only accommodate one canoe at a time. We've decided to hold off on fishing until we're on the lake where we'll be camping so that we don't have to carry fish. But at one portage, waiting alongside a rock face while Doug and Matt unload, I can't resist dropping a 3-inch white twistertail on a leadhead. I open the bail and watch the jig flutter down for what feels like forever. I'm still following it when it touches bottom. I count 10 cranks to bring it up, meaning the water is 20 feet deep. It's the clearest freshwater I've ever seen, home to smallmouth bass, pike, walleyes, and lake trout. I want to hurry up and make camp so I can get on some.