BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
November 22 2017
Snowbank Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 24 miles. Access is a boat landing or canoe launch at Snowbank Lake. Many trip options for paddlers. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.
Number of Permits per Day: 8
Elevation: 1191 feet
Snowbank Lake - 27
Number of Permits per Day: 8
Elevation: 1191 feet
Snowbank Lake - 27
June 01, 2008
Number of Days:
After many years of going with my family when i was younger, I finally set up a trip for myself. Joining me on this trip would be my good friend and favorite fishing buddy Marc... We left early from the twin cities the day before our trip would start so that we could walk around and enjoy the town of ely. When we got there we checked in with Canoe Country Outfitters and planned out our trip. After some pizza hut we went down to the Root Beer Lady's museum and bought a couple cases of that delicous rootbeer. We then went right on down the road to the Wolf Center where we were lucky enough to see the new baby wolves. After a quick dinner and a good nights sleep it was time to begin the journey!
Day 1 of 6
Sunday, June 01, 2008 We woke up early to a breakfast of chewy and power bars with some gatorade. After a quick stop at the baitshop for our pound of leeches we finally on our way to snowbank. We arrived at the entry point to a very crowded parking lot, but to our suprise were the only people launching at that time. After loading up the canoe and installing our portable rod holders we set off on the glass like water of an early morning Snowbank Lake. We trolled shad raps and taildancers as we paddled towards the boot lake portage. Much to my suprise as we were cruising out in the middle of the lake far away from any structure my rod yanked back furiously and the drag started to scream. After a very good fight i caught and released my very first lake trout. I would catch and release one more one right before we got to the portage(this one was a little bigger). After 2 very manageable portages we were in boot lake. We trolled across this lake without a single bite and set off on the longest portage of our career. This portage was a beast, fallen trees and a huge hill made this one of the toughest portages we have ever done. With a big sigh of relief we set of into beautiful ensign lake, just when we were about to throw our lures out the wind started to blow pretty good so we decided to just paddle hard and fast to the famed vera lake portages. After another very tough portage we started across vera, I say started because some nasty clouds caught up to us and forced us to pull over at a campsite to wait out the rain. after about 30 mn the rain quit and we pressed onward to the in my opinion the worst portage of the trip. We kept thinking of lake trout and the crystal clear waters of knife lake and eventually made it through the slippery rocks and inclines of that portage. It was starting to get late in the day so we cruised over to an island and grabbed a campsite. We set up camp fished a little from shore and ate a much needed dinner. We were very tired from a long and tough day and went to bed early
Day 2 of 6
Monday, June 02, 2008 We woke up the next morning(not quite as early as we wanted) around 10 or 11 and feasted on an oatmeal and gatorade breakfast(powdered form no bottles). After exploring the island for a while and fixing up camp a little we set out fishing. We decided to troll along the shoreline until we found somewhere we wanted to anchor up and fish slip bobbers, on our first pass down the shoreline we got a lot of snags and one small smallmouth. we eventually made our way around a point into a bay and anchored up next to a downed tree. We saw a few smallmouths swimming around but no takers. Next we moved out to a small rock sticking out of the water in the middle of no where, where we were watched closely by some nesting seagulls. Unfortunately no bites yet again. We decided to troll the same shoreline back to camp and slowly start getting ready for dinner. Just ass we were going over a shallow rocky marcs rod jumped, another snag i thought but then i heard him say its a fish! And it was! a nice little lake trout that would become dinner. We kept trolling all the way back but only managed to pick up a couple of small pike. We filleted up the trout and cooked it with lemon paper and a lot of butter all rapped in tinfoil with some mac n cheese for a side. I went to bed dreaming of more lake trout.
Day 3 of 6
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 Today there was only one thing on our mind and that was more fishing. We set out on the same shoreline as the previous day and made one pass with no luck, on our second pass marcs rod doubled over again! after a good fight i looked into the water and saw bright silver, another laker and another fish meal! A short whiile later he hooked another fish, this time it was a real nice walleye! we opted for the lake trout and the walleye was set free to swim another day. just when we were going to make another pass the wind came out of nowhere, finally some relief from the black flies but unfortunately a pause in fishing since we didnt feel like paddling into the stiff wind. We feasted on mrs. grass soup lake trout and mandarin oranges when we got back to camp. We explored the island some more today and were able to find the grouse that had been beating its wings. We relaxed the rest of the day and enjoyed an awsome sunset later that night.
Day 4 of 6
Wednesday, June 04, 2008 We awoke today to another very windy day. The previous night we had decided to take a different way back out, we were going to go through carp birch and sucker lakes so that we had shorter portages and more paddeling. Although we wanted to stay one more day we decided to use the strong wind and head out a day early. It felt like we had just gotten there and already we were saying goodbye, i felt like i could have stayed there forever.. We cruised through knife lake and made it through the first portage where a stream flowed out of knife, We stopped and fished below it for a while, after few bites and one smallmouth later we decided to press on. We continued on portaging alongside small rapids until we got to birch lake. We stopped and had some jerky and took a quick rest, two guys from missouri were fishing where the rapids poured out and said they were having a field day catching smallies with 2 over 20 inches! They didnt catch one while we were there so we had our doubts but as we paddled out and crossed over some sunken trees we couldnt believe the size and how many bass we saw, we tried for a little while with no luck so we pressed on as the weather was starting to turn for the worse and wanted to get to ensign today. Just as it began to drizzle we portaged into ensign and raced for the closest island where we found an empty campsite and quickly set up. We relaxed in the tent and waited out the rain, when it finally stopped it was already dinner time so we threw some stuff together and had a quick meal. We fished from shore with lighted bobbers and caught some small walleyes before we went to bed.
Day 5 of 6
Thursday, June 05, 2008 Day 5 we awoke to some menacing clouds and could almost feel the rain coming, we got up anyways and had some oatmeal before we headed out to try and get some walleyes. We fished mainly around the island foccusing on fallen trees that went deep down into the water, and did very well catching small walleyes and the occasional pike on slip bobbers and leeches, We also got broken off twice by a big fish that we never saw. We took a a couple of walleyes back with us and cooked them up in butter with lemon pepper served on a bed of rice. We went down to the shore for the evening bite and were amazed at how calm the lake was. We werent down there for more than 30 mn when fish started surfacing all over. We figured they were smallmouth so marc tied on a topwater lure and i set up my flyrod with a dahlberg diver and we chased the surfacing fish all over, unfortunatley no bites, a little discouraged we headed back to camp and called it a night.
Day 6 of 6
Friday, June 06, 2008 Today was our exit day so we got up early ate breakfast and set off towards our favorite boot lake portage. We trolled through ensign without a bite and got through that terrible portage, from here it was smooth sailing all the way back to the landing. Snowbank greeted us with some stiff wind and fairly large waves for our paddle home. We trolled back almost surfing on some waves hoping to get a laker to take home but lady luck wasnt with us today and we arrived at the landing empty handed. We packed up all our stuff said our good byes and headed back into town to settle the debt. We cruised home and rested up for the muskie opener which just happened to be the next day. We had some fun that day too...
discuss this trip report (5 comments) - last post on February 20, 2009