Basswood Lake is among the crown jewels of Minnesota’s fishing waters. Located in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely, the lake supports strong populations of walleyes, smallmouth bass and northern pike, as well as other species. Landing a trophy is certainly a possibility. The allure of Basswood is its uncrowded wilderness setting. Boats with motors up to 25 horsepower are allowed on portions of the lake and the remainder is paddle-only. You can reach Basswood from two portage routes: Prairie Portage, where a concessionaire hauls boats a half-mile over land for a fee, and the Fall and Newton lakes route, where anglers pull their boats over portages with wheeled carriages. Although boaters can make day trips to the lake, many anglers choose to camp on pine-shaded islands. To visit Basswood, you must have a motorized or nonmotorized wilderness permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service. Due to demand, it’s advisable to reserve your permit in advance. Contact: United States Forest Service (218-626-4300; 218-365-7600).