Not that many years ago, Canada offered traveling fishermen five island customs stations between Lake of the Woods and Lake Superior. Their intent was to clear Americans -- and they were mostly Americans -- for quick entry into Canada, a process that generally was painless.
Now between Lake of the Woods and Lake Superior there remains but one island Canadian customs station, the one here at Sand Point Lake. Long popular with floatplane operators, Sand Point is still the must-stop check-in station for boaters leaving Minnesota's Crane Lake for Sand Point Lake (which has both American and Ontario sides) and, farther along the border, Namakan and Kabetogama lakes, among other waters.
Tuesday just after 7 a.m., mine was the only boat at the dock here at Canadian Customs. Clearance was straightforward. I handed the officer my passport and he asked a few routine questions, among them my home address and whether I was carrying live bait in the boat.
The bait issue is widely misunderstood by U.S. anglers entering Canada. No live minnows or leeches are allowed (nor are live or dead smelt). But worms and nightcrawlers are allowed. The latter can't be packed in soil, however, because Canada doesn't allow entry of soil from other countries. more