BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
March 25 2017
Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1348 feet
A favorite route offering many trip options and memorable things to see including;
World Class fishing for all four BWCA Species
Soaring granite hills and cliffs
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!
Fall 2016 Lake Agnes Trip
September 07, 2016
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
We woke up early and headed out from the Spirit of the Wilderness bunkhouse around 5:00am. It was the second straight year we had stayed at the bunkhouse and again we had it to ourselves, which was nice as we did some last minute pack organizing and shuffling on Tuesday night. We had gear and packs spread all over the first floor of the house! We headed over to Britton's Cafe, but were disappointed to find out it wasn't open this morning. We called an audible and went over to the Holiday gas station to grab some breakfast before heading up the Echo Trail. The benefit to not eating at Britton's was that we were getting a really early start this morning. We had the canoes loaded and were paddling just as the sun was rising over the trees.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] This trip I was joined by my Dad, Jarod, and Chris. All of us had been to Agnes before, just never all of us together. These 3 guys have been on more trips with me than anybody else, so it was great that we could all finally go out on the same trip. We made it to campsite #1806 by 10:30am! This campsite is not our top choice, because the whole camp is on a slope. But, we spend much of our time fishing the western side of the lake, and it makes it nicer for the day we venture over to Stuart. We had camp set and we were out fishing by Noon. This was going to fell like a bonus day, with how much time we were going to be able to spend on the water. We quickly found the walleyes, which never seem to be a problem on Agnes.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] The fun part about the first day is that we were just fishing for fun! We had steaks thawing out for a big first night dinner. We spent the rest of the day fishing different spots, and even trying for different species. We finally succumbed to hunger and headed to camp to eat steaks cooked over a nice cedar fire. Along with the steaks, we had some instant mashed potatoes, which made for a nice hearty meal.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] After dinner was ate, we did the dishes and made our way back on to the lake. We wanted to make an emphasis of having earlier dinners, so that we could be fishing at sunset. We went out and decided to try and catch some crappies. Over the last 5 years, the crappie population has just seemed to take off in Agnes Lake. We have ran into others that have also experienced this. We have started catching them in different parts of the lake as well, so they must be doing very well. Well, Dad got the first one of the trip, and like usual it was a beauty![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We fished a while longer, and Chris got his first crappie too. Then, we went back to camp, to enjoy the sunset and a fire. This had been a great first day! The weather had cooperated and we enjoyed hours of great fishing.
Morning came and we awoke to cloudy, cool, and windy conditions. It looked threatening, but fortunately didn't turn into much. We had hope as we were getting breaks in the clouds from time to time.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We went out fishing, and the weather improved a little every hour we were out. Today we were tasked with catching a few walleyes for a special lunch I had planned. It didn't take long, before we picked up where we left off yesterday. Walleyes were willing and ready to eat our jigs everywhere we drifted around.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We went in for lunch with enough fish for our meal. The plan was to have fish tacos. Everyone had eaten versions of these on previous trips, so there was a little excitement. We filleted up the walleyes and then chunked them into nugget-sized pieces. Then we coated them with Shorelunch mixed with dry Taco Seasoning mix. We fried up the fish pieces really crispy and then served them on tortillas with chipolte mayo, coleslaw mix, and lime juice. These are the highlight of every trip![paragraph break] [paragraph break] After lunch, we changed paddle partners. Dad wanted to go pike fishing, so him and Chris went out to throw spinner baits up in the shallows. Jarod and I were content fishing for crappies and walleyes, so we jigged. Jarod was the only one who hadn't caught a walleye yet, but that changed pretty quick![paragraph break] [paragraph break] The other guys met up with us before too long. They had moderate success catching some northerns, but nothing too big. We all worked hard to put a few more eater walleyes on the stringer before dinner. With enough to eat for the night, we soon made our way to camp and prepared a delicious meal of pan fried walleyes with some teriyaki noodles. It was another great feast![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We headed out to fish until sunset, with no pressure to catch anything for keeping. Before dark seems to be the best time to chase those big crappies, as the main lake calms down. I finally boated my first Agnes crappie for the year![paragraph break] [paragraph break] The day ended picturesque, given how it looked like weather was going to affect the whole day. We fished late, finally making our way back to camp with the sun disappearing on the horizon. Dad and I got back to camp first, and I took the opportunity to photograph the other guys as they made their way to camp. An amazing ending to our second day of the trip![paragraph break]
Today would be a travel day. 2 out of the last 3 years, we have made a day trip over to Stuart Lake. We first decided to explore this gem, when from many sources, we heard the walleye fishing was incredible. Now it takes some time to get over to Stuart, as you must navigate a part of the Boulder River, and then on to the never ending Dahlgren River. We got a nice early start by eating a small, light breakfast. In years past, we ate our huge pancake and bacon breakfast this day to fuel up for the trip. We opted to eat fast so that we could get on the water and spend a little more time at Stuart. The morning again was picturesque. We enjoyed the cool as we navigated through the 3 rather long portages.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] One of our highlights of the morning were the birds we saw as we traveled to Stuart. I have spent a large part of the year bird watching all over the state, but there was something special about seeing ducks, hawks, and herons in this wild and rugged place. As we paddled, Dad and I would shout out "Broad-winged Hawk" or "Blue Heron" to try and interest the non-birders in the other canoe. We got to Stuart and found a little breeze, but we headed out for a spot we usually shore fish from first. It gives our behinds a break after being in the canoe for 3-4 hours. I was reminiscing about all the walleyes I caught from shore, when BAM!, I got my first strike. I caught a good pile in a short amount of time. These Stuart walleyes are real beauties and run quite a bit bigger than those we were catching in Agnes.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] After a lunch of beef jerky and trail mix, we hit the water to chase some more of these walleyes. We kept enough to bring back for dinner, so now we were just fishing for fun. The guys trolled around the lake, exploring some new waters, while my Dad and I stayed pretty close to our familiar spots. We did this for a couple of hours, with everyone catching their fair share of walleyes, As we started heading in to the shoreline where we had our walleyes stringered, Dad got a huge strike. We thought for sure he had a monster walleye on, but it just kept going on these big and powerful runs. We soon saw the massive pike he had hooked into. He was playing it with very light line, so we took our time, before finally flipping it into the canoe. We got some pics of this beauty and then let her go.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We pulled up on shore and filleted out the walleyes we had kept. Then we decided to start the journey back. It had been a great day on Stuart, with loads of walleyes and a trophy pike to boot. As we neared the last portage into Agnes on the Boulder River, "crack", we heard a sickening sound behind us. Chris was left holding just the handle of his canoe paddle. Well, at least we were mostly back to camp... We made due and got back to camp and enjoyed a big dinner of walleyes and hash browns.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] After dinner we attempted to repair the paddle, for the whole day we had ahead of us tomorrow, fishing on Agnes, and more importantly for the journey back on to the car on Sunday. We didn't even get back out fishing that night, as the day had us all pretty tuckered. Instead we made a big campfire, drank some hot chocolate, and enjoyed the sunset and stars.[paragraph break]
This morning we awoke and took the time to have a big breakfast. We made pancakes and heated up some pre-cooked bacon. After that we went out and fished. It was a slower morning that we were used to, but we still caught a few fish. We had planned to head up to the waterfall on the north end, but we decided not to push it with a repaired canoe paddle that had to get us home the next day. After lunch we stayed around camp and did some exploring. We hike a good ways into the woods around camp. We found lots of cool looking mushrooms and some very large deer tracks. We went back out, hoping to scrounge up enough walleyes for our last dinner. Fortunately, they cooperated again and we again had a superb fish fry.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] After dinner, we knew our trip was coming to a close. Instead of going out fishing that last night, we worked at readying for an earlier departure in the morning. We broke down rods and reels and cleaned and packed up what we could around camp. Then we just relaxed and took it all in one last night.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We sat around watching the different animals and birds around us. A beaver kept us entertained for a while, slapping it's tail loudly from time to time. It cruised back and forth in front of our campsite several different times. The last night of the year always brings a little sadness, knowing it may be six or more months before I get the chance to return to God's Country.[paragraph break]
We rose early the final morning! I was actually packing up the tent before the sun came up. We were a little leery of what the wind was going to do today, plus we had a duck tape canoe paddle. We wolfed down our oatmeal and coffee, and made it to the south side of Lake Agnes as the fog was till burning off the lake. We enjoyed a nice quiet paddle through the rivers, seeing plenty of wildlife including Trumpeter Swans and an American Black Duck.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We made great time even with the bum paddle. The wind did start to pick up as we hit the southern end of Nina Moose. By then, we really didn't care because all we head now was some river paddling between us and the vehicles. As we portaged our stuff to the parking lot, we ran into a group going in on a loop trip. They were going to loop around to EP14. One guy was driving the vehicle up to that parking lot and then taking a bike back to meet his group. Neat idea! We got one of their group members to take a group photo, before we headed back to Ely.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We had another unbelievable trip! Lake Agnes and the surrounding area has been the place of so many great memories with many people. This year's trip was no exception. One of the things we decided for next year was to give Agnes a break. We are going to break our annual tradition and go in on Stuart next fall. It will give us the possibility to day trip up to Iron Lake, and really give us a chance to explore all Stuart has to offer. I will sure miss Agnes, but new adventures are always fun too. We will be back soon, old friend, I promise!