BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
November 15 2018
Clearwater Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (10 HP max). This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 33 miles. Motors allowed on Clearwater Lake only. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1673 feet
Clearwater Lake - 62
Number of Permits per Day: 3
Elevation: 1673 feet
Clearwater Lake - 62
Week of a Lifetime
August 01, 2008
Number of Days:
This week was one week I will never forget. My trip got delayed because I was playing in the Wisconsin State Baseball Tournament (Kettle Moraine). We ended up in second place, and directly after the game my dad and I headed up the Gunflint Trail.
Part 1 of 4
Three days before my entry date, my baseball team qualified for the state tournament. I stayed back while my dad went up to the Boundary Waters with his four brothers and sister-in-law. None of them have been there before so my dad went up the first day to set up camp, and came back to the state tournament and watched my games in Stevens Point, Wi. Our team ended up in the championship game and took second place. Not too shabby. After the game, my dad and I drove up to Grand Marais and slept in the car overnight. Here are some pictures taken during the 5 days they were there and I was gone.[paragraph break] my brother and I with the trophy (I'm on left and sadly, he is not a fisherman). 38" Pike, 20 min fight [paragraph break] (we didn't eat it)
Part 2 of 4
August 1, 2008. We woke up in the car at 5am and had a quick drive up the gunflint trail. We arrive at EP 62 Clearwater Lake around 6am with a beautiful day ahead of us. After 15 minutes or so we launched the canoe while there was still a fog on the lake. There was no wind so paddling was a breeze with the glass-like water. The paddle to the portage to Caribou was only 20 minutes. A swarm of mosquitoes greeted us as we arrived. We single portaged because we had all the gear but one pack at the campsite. A fairly flat portage but there was a lot of standing water that was almost impossible to avoid. My shoes were soaking wet and muddy by the time it was over. My dad told me that he and the others camped in the site 689(the one in the middle). It was a nice site with slanted tent pads, great bear tree, kitchen area with log seating, and good camp fishing. The others greeted us around 7 o'clock. I told them that we got second place in the tournament. [paragraph break] A fast breakfast of poptarts and oatmeal and I was off fishing with my uncle Tom. We started fishing a quarter mile east of camp where it drops off. Not long I hook up with a decent 28" northern. Good way to start off the trip for me. We fished around that area for an hour or so and caught 6 fish, 5 smallmouth and 1 northern. We were all going to head to Johnson Falls so we fished our way down. My uncle George caught a nice 18" smallie right after the simple portage into Little Caribou. Tom and I caught a few smallies and pike before we headed to the Pine lake portage. The site on Little Caribou is a dandy 5 star site that is highly elevated above the water. [paragraph break] All six of us met up at the beginning of the Pine Lake portage, and we leave our gear at the beginning of the portage and make our trek to Johnson Falls. After the portage we see I little trail that we believe heads to Johnson Falls. We have to wade across the river to get to the actual trail. We could hear the roaring getting loader and louder and finally it appeared. What a gorgeous site both the upper and lower falls. My dad and I climbed up the trail beyond the upper falls to see what led into it and being the adventurous people we are, we saw a cow and a calf moose in the weedy brook. I stayed there and stood still for 15 minutes so my dad could get the rest of our group to see them. Only George and my uncle Gene wanted to see the moose and it was the first moose they've ever seen. After that great experience, we headed straight back to our camp to eat dinner. [paragraph break] Spuds and rice on the menu with the dessert of strawberry cheesecake(easy to make with powdered milk and well worth it during a long trip). After dinner my uncle George and I went out fishing. It was dead calm so we fished with topwater lures hoping for some action near camp. A few little smallmouth and we headed directly south by where the creek from Deer Lake comes in. Caught some smallies and hammerhandles, and trolled back to camp in the pitch dark. We made a fire at camp and went to bed shortly there after.
Part 3 of 4
August 2, 2008. An early rise at 6am for my dad and I planning a trip to Rove and Watap Lakes. Another quick breakfast of poptarts and oatmeal and we were off around 6:30. An easy paddle to our first portage on the far east side of Caribou. Even though its not too long at 143 rods, there are many ups and downs with some mud, which makes it tough. The stagnant water makes the mosquitoes have Thanksgiving on behalf of my dad and I. Now the sun is bright on Clearwater Lake, and we can see atleast 25 feet down. A note we take in about how the fish could easily see us while fishing. The next portage into Mountain Lake is pretty easy but starts off with a steep hill with "stairs". On the map it shows the Boarder Route Trail goes through the portage but the BRT is not real distinct and you shouldn't mistakenly go on it. After the quick paddle through Mountain, we reach the Watap Portage. A Canadian/ American monument greets us. Another short portage but many trees are knocked down from the blowdown, which makes you feel that you are closer to the other lake than you really are. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries were eaten during the portage. [paragraph break] Once as we set our canoe in Watap, two 16 inch smallmouths swim away giving a good sign for fishing. Using a pumpkinseed colored tube jig, I catch a 16 and 18 inch smallie in my first five casts... good start. After those two fish, my dad caught one decent smallie on a chug bug. That was the last fish for three hours. We fished all the way down the south shore of Watap and reached where Rove and Watap met. In the narrows of Rove, we started catching smallmouth after smallmouth. At one point in time we had fish in seven straight casts! It's like a lightswitch was flipped on so they could start to bite, but it is probably because clouds moved in and brought a new system. Our biggest in size was a chubby 19 incher. We needed to get back to camp at Caribou so we fished on and off on the rest of Watap. Fishing continued to be great on Watap. On those two lakes we probably caught 40-50 nice sized smallmouths in a short amount of time. [paragraph break] We arrive at the Mountain/Clearwater portage and there is a group of girl scouts taking up half the landing. Knowing that we need to get back quick, we take the other half and fly through the portage. As we were leaving we heard their leader say, "Those guys are on a mission." We just did what we normally did, unload fast, and not lollygag like they did. We arrive back at camp right before dark, and we were exhausted after about a 15 mile trek in a day. Others caught fish during the day so we had some before we went to bed.
Part 4 of 4
August 3, 2008. We slept in till 7:30 or so and took our time getting up. We didn't have much of a hurry packing up. Once everything was picked up, we said one last good-bye to site and we were off. Another beautiful day and paddling was a breeze. The Clearwater/Caribou portage was still muddy and wet even without being a rain in the last few days. We rinsed our shoes out in the water, and got a quick picture of our group by the Boundary Water sign in the portage. We reached the entry point around noon and had a long drive back to the Milwaukee Area. [paragraph break] Positives of the Trip: [paragraph break]great fishing[paragraph break] saw moose[paragraph break] bonding with family[paragraph break] solitude on Rove and Watap [paragraph break]nice campsite[paragraph break] Negatives: [paragraph break]too short :)