BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

April 24 2017

Entry Point 16 - Moose/Portage River (North of Echo Trail)

Moose/Portage River (north) entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 27 miles. Access is a 160-rod portage heading North from the Echo Trail.

Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1348 feet
Latitude: 48.1230
Longitude: -92.0991
A favorite route offering many trip options and memorable things to see including;

World Class fishing for all four BWCA Species
Pictographs
Soaring granite hills and cliffs
Small lakes
Small rivers
Tumbling rapids and waterfalls
Wildlife, including Moose
Vistas from high points across the region if you're willing to climb. Rating Easy to Moderate. Day One. Get to EP16 off of the Echo Trail early. The initial portage is long, but well worn and smooth, sloping gently downgrade to the launch area. Load your canoe and head North. You'll be paddling with the slight current on this narrow winding river. The water is clear and make sure to tell the bowperson to watch for looming rocks!

Oyster Lake Base Camp 2013 (Green,Rocky,Ramshead, Ninamoose)

by Waxworm80
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 05, 2013
Entry Point: Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 5

Trip Introduction:
Was looking for some good fishing and a new experience. The goal was to catch some Lake Trout and Pike, Go off the path a bit more then usual, do some lake jumping. Camera date is wrong all all pictures.

Day 1 of 7


Wednesday, June 05, 2013 Late spring this year, had to reschedule our trip from May 18(still ice on lakes). We woke up in Orr, after a long drive from Green Bay, WI. Go Pack!! Everyone was in good spirit, we had finally had all the backpacks together. Personally, that's the hardest part. We left town at 5:45am, there's always some good vibes blazing down the echo trail. Last year we seen two moose, this year was quiet. It's still a beautiful drive with a fresh cup of coffee and a smoke or two. To give you an idea of our crew, 3 guys(50+,30+,20+) 2 girls(40+,20+). Had 1 first timer! 2 second timers. Our plan: Get to Oyster Lake, set up base camp and fish the day out. I like to keep people moving, cuz I don't believe in soaking myself in bug dope!lol. Some years have been better then others, but the one thing you can always depend on is Skeeters! Pick your camp wisely, some are perfect habitats for them and some are almost free of them. Generally, I like to stay out of the low lands on the map. Those head nets arr not my thing and they kill the visual experience, so my advice to any new people is make sure everyone is scent free before you enter, long sleeves..light clothes. Jeans may be the worst thing you could ever wear, they get heavy and they take forever to dry off. My brother went with cologne on once, from the night before, and he looked like a leper when we got out, I had like 5 bites!hahah.

First portage(160,moderate) always is the worst, but so worth it when you hit that river! Serenity! Although, sometimes it gets a little clogged up with people until you get to Nina Moose. It's a down current ride that is easy for newbies. 2 more small portages will bring you into Nina moose. The previous year we had a moose cross the river right in front of the back of our group. He then proceeded to crash into about 10 feet of wear I was standing on the first small portage and stare at me. I froze, thank god I didn't poop.lol. That would have been a portage problem. lol. Be prepared to jump/maneuver one or two small beaver dams, depending on the water levels. I always speed up and hit um fast, if you can't avoid it, jump out and pull everyone else across, it's never that deep around them. Trust me, your shoes are gonna get wet anyways, so the sooner you get used to that, the better. I don't even try to stay dry anymore, I just bring extra socks. The river runs into Nina Moose and if feels like a whole new world opens up before you. God's Country!!lol. This is what you dream about..well, at least what I dream about!

Nina Moose was mirror like, and was pretty easy to paddle through quickly. It was hard not to throw a line in, but I was pretty intent on fishing Oyster for a couple hours before dark. Then ya follow the lake North into the river again and you'll come to a 70-90 portage, more paddling and then another 70-90 rod portage. Follow the river further north and you'll pass the river to Ramshead lake and you'll wanna start riding the west side of the river when it widens before Agnes and you'll find the short cut to Oyster River. I seen the forums about most people having a hard time with it and although I was a bit intimidated, I told myself it would be an adventure, so I was set on trying it, against the popular vote to take the 160 out of Agnes.

Okay, so heading into the small entrance seems a little impassable at first but truthfully, with a couple of weight shifting moves, it opens up wider and wider. I had 3 in my canoe. You may have to kick off some stuff and I did stand a little to read the river, cuz it's a little maze-like, but you can't get lost, I promise. It's actually kind of fun. I prolly wouldn't do it in the dark though. Keep an eye on the stronger of currents and you'll find your way. Also, upon entering you can see where the river cuts north through the trees. In my opinion way easier and faster then another 160 rod. I would do it again without a doubt. There's a small passable beaver dam within that paddle and right before you get to the portage, you eliminated, there's a decent beaver dam that is impossible to canoe over. It's super shallow(5inches) and "all" will need to walk up. Again, bring an extra pair of shoes and change them at camp.

Oyster river is very cool and very easy at this point. Very deep woods, beautiful canoe ride ends up at the portage. Small waterfalls adorn the last portage into Oyster lake, very pretty. It almost looks like a natural Jacuzzi, loud enough that you can hear it from the lake. Very cool. As I recall, we didn't stay long the skeeters were loving that spot and we were getting hungry. To be fair, it wasn't an extremely exhausting trip, but we were ready to settle. We did cover a fair amount of ground. So, some would say.

Oyster!! A decent sized lake and you can tell it's deep just by looking at it.lol. Thankfully, again, it wasn't extremely windy. There was a day when the waves were getting pretty powerful around the finger tip and it made for some hairy moments. I had chosen the camp that pinches between the lake and the lagoon, but it was already taken. I was actually pretty surprised on the amount of people back there actually. I thought I'd be there by myself?? So we camped up on the finger tip on the inside of the lagoon, Which BTW, was horrible camp fishing at that time. I will say the camp itself was pretty nice though and we had a loon on a nest right next to us.

Camp was set up and we scrambled out to fish. I "heard" there was a couple decent sized Pike, and I was looking for an easy meal. I Tried some shoreline casting but wasn't picking them up like I thought I would. Eventually, I gave in to long lining and eventually caught me a decent 28 inch Trout and another one soon after. First one ever!!Really unexpected. The secret lure..KO style wobbler(firetiger, glow in dark). Your welcome, that was the only spoon out of our group that worked aside an orange syclops, which was a sparse 2nd place! If the rod tip was still bobbing it seemed to be working. Then it was just a matter of leisurely paddling around the lake. BTW, I caught those two in the lagoon area by the portage to rocky??lol. Never did pick up any pike. Deep fried um'! Water was still pretty cold, maybe that's why they were a hell of a lot better then anyone gives them credit for. loved it! No spawn No sperm at this time.

 



Day 2 of 7


Thursday, June 06, 2013 Stayed on Oyster, again all day, don't remember finding any pike, but I stayed on the Trout. Think I caught 3 more that day, nothing very big. Mostly running the finger tip to the two south eastern bays. The whole entire group caught one or two Pike. I think I was the only one that did my research on long lining/lake trout fishing in a canoe.lol. I eventually got one for everyone to pull in. They are a great fight! That one lure was the only one that was working though. It was still cold for June this year. I guess some other campers were having some limited Small mouth success hitting the shore with a(gold and black)3inch Rapala. I gave about a 10 percent effort on that and didn't catch much. I have caught more then a couple smallies on that lure since, thanks guy. They stayed on the "Pinch" site and said the wind really sucks there. Nice guys, they gave us there left overs on their way out. Thanks!! Freeze dried hash-browns are forever on my list now. Apples are still my favorite though.=) Northern lights were amazing this night!!

 



Day 3 of 7


Friday, June 07, 2013 Packed up light(fishing stuff, snacks, and H20), headed up the portage to Rocky Lake this morning. Obviously, left our tent and a book worm back at camp. Rocky Lake was kind of a fly through, but we took a lot of pictures. A Very beautiful, "ROcKy" lake. There's a big Rock running parallel with the western shore that reminds me of that turtle from, "The Never Ending Story". Morla?? It looked like a lake from "Wild America" with several boulders spotting the lake. Very quiet and I could have easily floated around here all day. Would be a nice private camp here. Anyways, I dragged the five of diamonds behind me with no luck.

Hit the the portage to Green Lake which is a little more of an incline, but not much. I was kind of disappointed as I heard this lake was an odd color green, but it just looked like a greener then average lake. Much flatter shoreline then Rocky, but still some head stones poking out here and there. Took the south eastern approach long lining and casting. Picked up some hammer handles here and there, but was very disappointed in the amount. Eventually, ended up on a rock in the North Western bay. Fished there for a couple hours. It was nice to stop paddling for awhile. My GF made her first cast ever on a bait caster, with a Glidin Rap and wham..a nice 36 1/2 inch Gator!! I was happy, amazed and a tiny bit jealous.hahah. She's a good woman! I actually went to take a picture with her and her fish here and accidentally untied the canoe. I didn't notice right away and when I looked back... it was already a pretty good swim away. Cold!! Off go the clothes... you wanna talk about shrinkage!!haha

Canoe 2 met up with us here and we continued to fish, catching some decent fish..even a Warlord.hah. We cut up our fish and head back to camp. Made a detour to North end of Rocky, stopped on a Rock for awhile and picked up a small, smallmouth. Didn't stay too long.

We went back across Oyster a couple more times before dark. Was almost a gimmie crossing the lake with a long liner. We spent the campfire debating whether we should stay or go to Ramshead. We also lightened up the alchohol load a lot.haha. Good Times!!

 



Day 4 of 7


Saturday, June 08, 2013 Ramshead it is!! Packed up all the gear and made our way into Ramshead. The portage in there was longer then I remember, but then again we've already done a fair share of them leading up to this one and we were starting to slow down a little. The end of the portage in is more or less a shallow crap load of rocks in which you'll need to jump out and muscle through, I believe there's an alternative of climbing a steep hill, but either way it's kind of a-bitch, as my Uncle Randy would say, but not even close to the 280 portage into lamb lake. We call it Broke back mountain in my family.LOL. We went ahead of the two guys in the the other canoe and the 2 girls and I made camp at the North Western side, which is an awesome rock drop off. Very few mosquito's and some big pines. Plenty of mid sized pike were caught off this campsite. Nothing real big, but fun! We were all burnt out on fish for meals, so we just released them all. I did a evening troll around the lake and pretty much picked up a Pike just about all over the lake. There used to be some pretty big ones in here apparently, but the lake was over froze out years ago and has been over fished. I'm not fisheries specialist, but the pike numbers maybe to high now.

 



Day 5 of 7


Sunday, June 09, 2013 Pretty much enjoyed the day, floating around with my wife! Fishin and relaxing. One of my favorite lakes as it was my first trip. We took the portage the first two years and it's just not for the feint of heart, large groups with any newbies. I can't imagine doing it in the middle of summer.haha. Again, picking up pike on just about any top water bait that walks a dog. Fun as all hell, but no record crushing gators. Meander creek is worth fishing also, and it leads back to a spectacular rock waterslide-like entance. Big enough to walk around and wade, shower, whatever..bring your GF, you'll figure it out.=)

 



Day 6 of 7


Monday, June 10, 2013 We packed up this morning and headed to Nina moose on very slow moving trip, "which is nice", so Bill Murray would say. Everyone was getting a little tired, but the funny thing was is that we all started settling in the day before and just really starting to appreciate everything aside from the fishing. The sun finally broke through the clouds and warmed things up a little, not that it was super cold, just not the t-shirt and shorts kinda whether some of you are looking for. It was feeling a little bummed, knowing tomorrow we'd be leaving back to reality the following day... Back to the hustle. We really wanted the Big Rock campsite on the western side of Nina moose as we've made some pretty awesome last nights here in the past, but it was taken, along with just about every other site. We ended up on the east side..and with all the lower land..red bush-like trees. Mosquito hell!! Omg..I took the crap of my nightmares here..they were in the toilet and out. I walked away with a sore ass and a bag of sorrow, if you know what I mean. I did catch a nice smallie off of here and we did see some awesome star shows..this lake feels spiritual to me, there's just something about it.

 



Day 7 of 7


Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Slow trip out, left in the morning after eating and burning what we could. I didn't wanna leave and either did my arms..very worn out by now and now your going up river. I never really get the best of sleep ever. We did some serious trekking for "us".lol. I finally folded on the last portage..I just couldn't make it through with the canoe and pack. I ended up going back for canoe. You never realize how exhausted you are until you get back into town, but it's also one of my favorite feelings ever..you actually deserve that greasy cheeseburger!! Great trip!! I'd go back again for sure. Next year we head back to the Lady Boot. Good luck, hope this helps...And men, remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. =)

 


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