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cyclones30
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01/10/2018 09:36PM
I've never taken a trip to the "center" area. We're young and not afraid to paddle to get away from the crowd but also like good fishing.

I'm eyeing a trip from Kawishiwi lake up through Polly, to Malberg. Then maybe see the Pictos on Fishdance. Then back out the way we came? Other things to do or see in that area? Other lakes to fish? Early June will be timing. Come back to Sawbill via lady chain?

Thanks, I've read a lot of trip reports and plan on doing more.
 
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01/11/2018 11:06AM
I've taken several trips trough Kawishiwi Lake and enjoyed them - read the trip reports if you haven't already for more info.

I can't help you with the fishing and I don't know how much time you have for the trip or how much you want to travel vs. fishing, but there are many options.

I saw the Fishdance pictos on my 2016 loop up through Cap. In 2014 we looped up through Little Sag and back to Sawbill. I have not done the Lady Chain, but it is on my list.

There are some pictures from my trips here if you want some visuals.
Twins87
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01/11/2018 11:07AM
I would highly recommend exiting via the Lady Chain. We did the Lady Chain last summer and I loved it. Phoebe was a gorgeous lake. So was Grace. We don't fish much but I've heard it's a good walleye lake. The center lakes of the lady chain also offered us solitude - in mid July. We didn't see anyone else for most of our time on Phoebe - just when we first arrived but that couple was gone early the next morning. The only other person on Grace was someone we were meeting for the end of the trip. So mostly no one between Polly and Beth.

This was the view from our campsite on Phoebe. The site on that island was taken the night before when we arrived but there's supposed to be good walleye fishing off that shore.



Michwall2
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01/11/2018 02:05PM
There are 3 ways to get back to Sawbill from Mahlberg. Have been through all three.

1. The Lady Chain. Nice route. Beautiful river paddling. Some nice small falls. Being river work, be prepared to be in and out of the canoe a lot. You are headed upstream. While the portages are not hilly, you will be gaining elevation all the way to Beth. Others have spoken about the fishing through here. This route should give you the most time for fishing.

2. Louse River. Lots of solitude here. Suggest you break it up into 2 chunks. Stop overnight at Trail Lake. Saw a pic of a huge northern taken on Trail Lake on the Sawbill Outfitter Website a couple years ago. This route is a lot of work. Many beaver damn pull overs. Many ins and outs of the canoe. Route finding from east to west can be difficult. Read the trip reports and read the portage descriptions from the maps on this site to help.

3. Up north to Little Saganaga Lake and back through Mora, Whipped, Fente, Hub, Mesaba, Hug, Duck, Zenith, Lujenida, Kelso, Sawbill. It takes two days to get to L. Sag and two days to get back to Sawbill. Little Sag has some great fishing opportunities, but, depending on your time available, may be the longest travelling with the least fishing. North of Mahlberg and until you get Kelso Lake you will find very few people. Not many people venture into the Hub through Zenith area at all.

All are super trips and would give you a great trip.

cyclones30
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01/11/2018 03:18PM
Thanks everyone, we're planning on 7 days for this trip which is our usual length. If it's easier to go E-W on the lady chain, should we start at Sawbill and go through there up to Malberg and out at Kawishiwi?

Thanks for the pictures as well, looks great.
Twins87
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01/11/2018 03:25PM
cyclones30: "Thanks everyone, we're planning on 7 days for this trip which is our usual length. If it's easier to go E-W on the lady chain, should we start at Sawbill and go through there up to Malberg and out at Kawishiwi?


Thanks for the pictures as well, looks great. "


we went upstream and lots of others do too. Just good for you to know that. Early in the year, the water levels will be higher and you may have to shoot up some fast moving water but that will just make it more exhilarating ;-) We had to do that in July last year after A LOT of rain leading up to our trip. At least we didn't have to get out and drag the canoe through low river beds, which others have had to do in July and Aug on that route.

01/11/2018 05:16PM
Michwall's option #3 is one we did in 2014 and I can echo what he said about the solitude. We didn't see anyone except one couple on Fente from before Malberg until Kelso River. We even stayed over a day on Little Sag.

I believe Little Sag may be a lake trout lake . . . ?
Michwall2
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01/12/2018 05:14AM
cyclones30: "Thanks everyone, we're planning on 7 days for this trip which is our usual length. If it's easier to go E-W on the lady chain, should we start at Sawbill and go through there up to Malberg and out at Kawishiwi?


Thanks for the pictures as well, looks great. "


We have always done the Lady Chain west to east. Only one portage has difficulty; the 280 from Grace to Beth. There some hills in that one. It would be difficult going either way. The rest are mostly flat but do have that little bit of elevation gain that goes with heading upstream.

There is one pinch point where you will encounter some flowing water that, depending on the conditions, you may have to paddle hard to get through. There are a couple of spots with rock gardens where a channel has been created. You most likely will not be able to spot the channel from sitting in the canoe. Stand up for a second and it will become apparent to you. Or check your route on Google Earth, and you will see it very plainly. (Just before Knight Lake is one.)

River routes are always changing. Beaver dams (or lack thereof), high/low water, portage distances, etc. That's what makes them an adventure. If you really want to know the latest scoop, stop by the local outfitter (Sawbill) for the most up to date info on your route.

Early June is a beautiful time to be in this area. If you are early enough, everything is in bloom. Look for the rhododendron along this route.

cyclones30
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01/12/2018 06:45AM
Thanks! I'm not too concerned, just figured I'd ask as long as people were talking about it. We've done many other streams both ways like Basswood River, LIS, and Moose River north.
Twins87
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01/12/2018 09:25AM
One last note on the Phoebe River through the Lady Chain... check out this thread from last summer if you want more info on both the channel through the boulder field and the upstream rapids shoot.

Lady Chain mini trip report


I haven't seen a full trip report yet from cowdoc but I keep hoping he will get one written up. (I always have big plans to do them but never manage so greatly appreciated the effort from others!)
cyclones30
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01/12/2018 12:19PM
Twins87: "One last note on the Phoebe River through the Lady Chain... check out this thread from last summer if you want more info on both the channel through the boulder field and the upstream rapids shoot.


Lady Chain mini trip report



I haven't seen a full trip report yet from cowdoc but I keep hoping he will get one written up. (I always have big plans to do them but never manage so greatly appreciated the effort from others!)"


Thanks! Some good info there
01/15/2018 12:47PM
boonie: "Michwall's option #3 is one we did in 2014 and I can echo what he said about the solitude. We didn't see anyone except one couple on Fente from before Malberg until Kelso River. We even stayed over a day on Little Sag.


I believe Little Sag may be a lake trout lake . . . ?"


Trout and Pike is what I've been told.
 
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