BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

August 20 2017

Entry Point 37 - Kawishiwi Lake

Kawishiwi Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Isabella; Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 33 miles. Access is a boat landing at Kawishiwi Lake.

Number of Permits per Day: 9
Elevation: 1653 feet
Latitude: 47.8390
Longitude: -91.1036
Kawishiwi Lake - 37

Sasquatch on the Kawishwi

by BWfishingfanatic12
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 12, 2011
Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
My brother Brad (17) and me, Bryan (19) took a week long trip to the boundary waters to hang out as brothers and have a lot of fun fishing and camping. We are young but are very experienced with camping and such. I had tripped in this area before and had a decent trip so we decided to do this area but we wanted to explore the kawishwi river a bit because everyone is always talking about how good it is. So here is our TR. Hope you enjoy!

Day 1 of 7

Sunday, June 12, 2011 Day 1 ____Kawishwi Lake. Sunday morning came bright and early but not soon enough as my brother and I had been excited for months for our BW trip. Our entry date wasn’t until the 13th but we wanted to get an early start into the great outdoors on Monday morning. So, Sunday morning we got up and went to church. After church we ate a quick lunch and headed out as we were eager to get on the road. Brad drove the whole way up to the Tofte Ranger Station because he is a great brother while I played Gameboy and read my Bible to pass the time. We stopped at a Holiday for our last civilized bathrooms and fishing licenses and then continued on. We arrived in Tofte at around 3:30. We watched the movie for what seems the 1000th time (I’m going to have it memorized soon) and headed up the Sawbill Trail with me driving this time. That drive up the Sawbill Trail seemed longer than our 3 hour drive up to Tofte. Even Brad agreed and he wasn’t even driving. After what seemed like forever we got to the Kawishwi Lake campground and snagged a spot. We arrived there at a little past 5 I believe. We got a day permit, unloaded some gear , and were itching to sink our paddle and fishing line into some Boundary waters' water so we headed out fishing right away. In two hours of fishing we caught ten fish, each of us catching 5. Brad caught 2 Perch, 2 Northern pike, and 1 walleye. I caught 3 Northerns, 1 walleye, and a Smallmouth. We headed back to camp at 7:30. We got back to camp and ate our supper of Cheddarwursts and made sure all our gear and stuff was ready to go then went to bed at like 9ish because we wanted the morning to come faster.


Day 2 of 7

Monday, June 13, 2011 Day 2____ Kawishwi to Poly. We woke up at 5:30 not being able to sleep anymore so we made a big breakfast of Scrambled eggs and pork sausage. Boy was it tasty and very filling. We polished off 10 eggs and a half pound of pork sausage. We were paddling out at 6:45. The morning was cool and clear with a slight breeze from the South. The portages went pretty smoothly and quickly despite our 80- 90 pound alumacraft canoe. It’s really old and we nicknamed it Sasquatch. We wet our paddles in Poly before 11 and were pulling up to a campsite on the North end by 11:30. We unloaded our gear and set up camp and relaxed a bit as we ate our lunch of ritz crackers, cheese, summer sausage, and gorp. The wind had really picked up by now and was gusting at around 15 mph so we decided to fish some back bays and sheltered islands. I caught a walleye right away and we caught a bunch of pike and a smallie in the next hour and a half of fishing. We went back to camp and made sure everything was tidy and ready to go to bed and then we headed out to troll some islands for the evening. I had had great success with these places in my other trip to that lake. However, it only produced 3 walleyes and a Northern in an hour of fishing. But Brad made us go in just when it was getting to be prime time because he wasn’t prepared so he was getting cold. We got back to camp at around 9 and made our supper of 4 cheese potatoes and ham. We had a cup of hot chocolate, hung the bear bag, and then went to bed at 10:30.


Day 3 of 7

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Day 3____ Poly to Kawishwi River. I was up at 5:30 again so I started the fire and watched the sunrise over the lake. It was a clear and crisp morning. Brad got up shortly after and we had our breakfast of oatmeal and packed up camp. We were headed out at shortly after 7. We wanted the site at the narrows in malberg so we wanted to hustle a bit. We got to the site at 9:15 which I think is some kind of record for earliest to a campsite ever in BW history. Lol It was still early so we decided to go out fishing before we set up camp. We fished for 3 hours and caught nothing but one smallie. We tried everything: slip bobbers, rapalas, spinners, jigs, spoons, but nothing. So, just before noon we returned to camp dejected to eat lunch. Shortly after lunch two guys stopped by looking for their friends. They said they stayed on the Northwest side Of Malberg the whole day before and caught nothing. They also said a bear ripped though some guys tent and drug off their sleeping bags and some of their equipment. So, after that Brad and me decided to keep moving Northeast to the kawishwi River. We got to the only campsite on that side at about 2. We set up camp and threw in some slip bobbers off the steep ledge. Immediately the first one went down as I was throwing out the second one. So I threw down the second pole and set the hook. I hooked into something nice. When I got him to the surface 3 other smallies and even a walleye were swimming around like crazy with it. So I start freaking out and yell for brad to get over here. So I landed the nice smallie and we measured it, snapped a pic, and let it go. It was 19” and I was super excited because all the other ones that were with it were the same size. I thought we were in for the best afternoon/ night of fishing ever. But that shows how much I know because we only caught 2 more smallies during 2 hours of slip bobber fishing. So I was flabbergasted and mad so we decided to troll some lindy rigs with what we call walleye delights through that area because I knew they were down there. It was very deep at about 15-20 feet right off shore so I was sure we’d catch something, but we trolled for 2 hours around the whole Northeast section of the River and nothing. So, we switched to blue rapalas and trolled blue rapalas for an hour catchind two walleys and several Northerns. We got back to camp at like 9:30 super confused because we knew they were down there but we could not understand why they wouldn’t bite. We made a delicious diner of cheesy broccoli au gratin rice. It was amazing! Then we drank some hot cocoa and went to bed.


Day 4 of 7

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 Day 4____ Kawishwi River to Pan Lake. We woke up at 6:45 it was another clear day. Brad made triple berry muffin/pancakes while I fruitlessly slip bobber fished hoping to catch the fish I knew were down there. We packed up camp and were headed out at 9:30. We got to Pan at 11:00. We heard a bunch of rustling at the portage landing into Pan so we hurried up and got in. A minute later a Bull moose walks out of the trees into the water about 100 feet from us. It was really awesome so we snapped a few pictures and went on our way. We got to our campsite and set up camp and then ate a lunch of salami, pepperjack cheese, crackers, gorp, and hard candy. I did some slip bobber fishing in a back bay because it was really windy. I threw one out kind of just because and I journaled and read my Bible in the shade. I relaxed for an hourish catching 3 smallies but not a whole lot of action. At 3 we were kind of getting bored so we decided to fish the calmer side of the lake which was the East. (I had never heard of an East wind really but the wind blew from the East/ Southeast for about 4 straight days so maybe that was why the fishing was poor.) Anyways we went out for about an hour and caught 2 smallies and 4 pike. One pike even T-boned the fish I was catching and he let go right as I got them to the boat. Then Brad dropped his lure over the side of the boat and caught it. At about 4:30 we went back to camp. We putzed around a bit and collected some firewood. It was really windy still but we didn’t know what else to do so we decided to jig the 50 foot hole on the East side just to try something. We didn’t really know how to fish deep like that so I decided to throw a jig and jig it along the bottom and Brad vertical jigged a minnow. On my first cast I let it sink to the bottom for about thirty seconds and then started jigging along slowly feeling the bottom. I had only reeled for about a couple seconds when I felt resistance. I wasn’t expecting to catch a fish so I figured I was snagged. I set the hook though and I felt it tug back. Immediately I realized it was a huge fish, bigger than anything I'd ever caught before. I loosened the drag a bit and fought with the fish like I never had before. My heart was pounding super hard and it was by far the most excited I’ve ever been fishing. When I had fought him for about 2 or 3 minutes I got him to about 10 feet below the boat but I was still unable to see him. I survived his first mighty run but not the second. I have an ugly stik which are very stiff rods and he bent it in half against the canoe because it was straight under us. I felt the line go tight and I knew I was finished.( I’ve never went fishing for really big fish so I’m not accustom to using the drag much so I didn’t really know how to use it much or I never really had before but if I ever hook a fish like that again I’m letting all my drag out. Lol.) I sat there for the next half hour with my heart pounding just utterly heartbroken. I’m not so mad that I didn’t catch it but I just want to know what it was and how big, approximately, it was. I wish I would have at least got to see it but o well what do you do. I guess now I just have a one that got away story. Anyways, enough of my sob story. After a while we went back to camp. I was still feeling sorry for myself but catching 3 nice smallies from camp helped a little bit but there was still that ache. We ate a supper of Wild Rice and fish and went out to troll for the night. We caught 5 smallmouth, 2 pike, and 1 perch. Then we went to bed at about 11.


Day 5 of 7

Thursday, June 16, 2011 Day 5______ Pan Lake- Kawishwi River. It was very hard to get up this morning because I was very tired. Brad was up at 8 and I was up at like 8:30. We were packed up and heading out at 9:45. We’ve heard that the Kawishwi River is always one of the best spots in the Boundary waters to fish so we wanted to try it again. We were going to go to the West more though, towards Alice lake. We wanted the campsite just North of Malberg but the campsite was terrible and it didn’t look like that great of a fishing spot but what do we know. So, we decided to move on and settled with the North campsite on the island on the Kawish. It was an awesome campsite and had some decent slip bobber fishing. We ended up catching 5 walleye, 9 smallies, and 6 Norherns in an afternoon into evening fishing kind of nonchalantly. We jigged and cast rapalas around the whole island but only caught 2 Smallmouth and we had no luck trolling blue rapalas at night either. (The whole trip was weird in that way. All the usual ways and areas we catch fish were not producing and I don’t know why. I don’t know if it was all just the screwey weather or what but the fishing was mediocre at best all week. We found some here and there but it was so hit and miss.) I caught 2 more walleyes on slip bobbers as we watched a beautiful sunset and cooked up our fish fry and stuffing. We had a ton and I was stuffed to the brim. We had some orange tea and relaxed by the fire a bit and then went to bed around 11:00.


Day 6 of 7

Friday, June 17, 2011 Day 6________ Kawishwi River to Poly. We were up around 7:30 and we made our breakfast of oatmeal and packed up camp. We headed out towards malberg and our journey retracing our way back out. The portages went pretty smoothly but there was about 100 yards of water on the portage from record river into malberg. We got to Poly around noon and the first 5 campsites we saw were all filled so we got a little worried but the island one ended up being open so we took it. We set up camp and ate our lunch of peanut butter and jelly tortillas. Then we collected firewood and Brad put up the bear bag. We were both pretty tired so Brad took a nap while I journaled and read my Bible. Then I took an hour long nap too. Then we decided to go out fishing for a bit. We caught 5 Northerns, 2 walleyes, and 3 smallies in a couple hours. We went back to camp and ate a snack and then headed out for an evening of fishing at around 6. Right away Brad caught a walleye as soon as we got to our spot on the first cast. So, for the next hour we fished there catching 5 more walleyes. All good eater size with the biggest being like 18”. Then they kinda shut down for awhile so we decided to throw on some rapalas and troll a bit around some islands that we had a lot of success with but not much luck. A couple walleyes and a couple pike but that was it. We went back to camp and had some wild rice soup for supper and then went to bed.


Day 7 of 7

Saturday, June 18, 2011 Day 7_____________ Poly to Kawishwi Lake. We woke up later than normal around 8:30. It was a cloudy gloomy morning with off and on drizzle. We ate our breakfast and started off across Poly. The portages were a dousey but we made it. When we got to Kawishwi Lake we found that the two campsites we wanted were both already taken so we had to settle for a crappy one. We set up camp and were thinking about taking a nap but we were in the boundary waters so we didn’t want to waste any valuable fishing time. So we went out for a couple hours and actually had a lot of success catching 11 walleyes, 7 Pike, and two smallmouths. At like 4 we went out to collect some firewood and tidied up camp for a while. At 6 we went back out fishing again doing some trolling and casting. When we were back in a weedy sheltered bay we were joking with each other about catching northerns. (we both despise Northern. We have always wondered how something that lives in the water can smell so bad!?!?) Anyways Brad hooks a fish and we both start laughing because we figured it was a Northern. He tells me that it’s a good sized one so that gets me a little interested at least so I start to watch when he had gotten it in closer we saw it flash and it gave us both a good view and we both gasped as we saw it wasn’t a Northern but a really nice walleye. Brad starts to freak out, okay well I admit I was too) So he lets out a bunch of drag and so for the next 5 minutes he carefully fought it. I don’t know how he could be that patient. I have a tendancy to horse them in and thats probably why I lost that huge one, but o well I know for next time. Anyways, Brad finally lands the walleye and we measure it at 26” take a picture and release it. We fished for a while longer catching a few more walleyes and a bunch of little pike, but it was a lot of fun. Once it got dark we headed back to camp and made some chocolate chip muffins for a bed time snack and they were amazing!!! We had some hot cocoa as well and then went to bed.

Day 8_______________Kawishwi to home. We woke up to of course a cloudy and rainy day. (This was my 7th trip up there and it has rained the last day everytime but one so I tend to expect it, lol). We packed up all our soaking wet equipment and paddled the rest of the way across Kawishwi to the landing. We got all our gear into our vehicle then took a chicken bath in the lake quick and got on some dry clean clothes. Boy did it feel good! Well the trip home was quiet for the most part as we reflected over our trip and we were both tired as well. Then about halfway home we realized that we get to go to the Boundary waters again this year so we started to get excited again and we started to plan out that trip the rest of the way back. Even though the fishing wasn’t as great as normal it was still a blast! We love the boundary waters and will both be going up lots more as much as we can.


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