BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 13 2020

Entry Point 1 - Trout Lake

Trout Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Cook, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 30 miles. Access from LakeVermilion via 60-rod canoe portage or 180-rod portage that allows the use of portage wheels. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 14
Elevation: 1381 feet
Latitude: 47.9144
Longitude: -92.3220
Trout Lake - 1

2019 Troop 743 BWCA Trip

by brdhntr
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 21, 2019
Entry Point: Lake One
Exit Point: Farm Lake (31)
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 7

Trip Introduction:
In 2018 our troop was looking for ideas for our 2019 High Adventure Trip. One of the adults brought up Boundary Waters and it was chosen by the boys. We signed up 19 boys and adults that were split into 3 groups. Our group of 7 decided we would focus on fishing. The original plan was to enter from point 30, move into the Kawishiwi and work our way back to the outfitter in Ely. That changed after talking to the outfitter and the other two adults wanting to see more of the area.

Day 1 of 7

Sunday, July 21, 2019 After a quick breakfast the outfitter drove us from Ely to entry point 30. Our goal was to paddle through Lake One into Lake Two and portage into Rifle Lake.

We started by missing the channel that takes you past Kawishiwi Lodge and into a bay. It wasn't much of a detour and we quickly got our bearings and made it through Lake one pretty easily. I was a bit turned off by the number of people. Every campsite we past had someone on it. 

Going from Lake One to Lake Two required a short portage, an almost as short paddle, then another short portage. Having full gear and food for a week, the boys decided they were done portaging for the day. We settled on going into Lake Three and finding one of the campsites recommended by our outfitter. Unfortunately, Lake Two and Lake Three were no less crowded and all the sites were taken. We paddled to the south end of Lake Three, then back up between the east shore and a big island. We finally found camp at site 1493. 

We were in the area of the the fire, and the other two adults weren't thrilled with it. Being a grouse hunter, and knowing how fire is a necessary evil didn't mind it at all. In fact that night we had a ruffed grouse drumming so close to our tent that I could hear his feathers rustle on the log he was using. 

We had a quick lunch refilled water, and setup camp. The area looked promising for shore fishing, but that proved to not be the case. Of the 7 of us, only myself and my son had any fishing experience. Keeping the 3 boys set up and teaching them how to do things took up most of the afternoon. 

This night we learned a few things, including have your bear tree setup and ready to go along with camp. We were in the process of setting it up as the sun went down and the mosquitoes descended. I've never seen mosquitoes like that.    


Day 2 of 7

Monday, July 22, 2019 Next morning we were up and moving early as the outfitter had suggested. We decided to head further east and north and try to get to campsite 1483. After the long paddle the day before a shorter paddle was welcome. We were all tired. I was especially tired as my sleep apnea hadn't allowed much rest. The trip was pretty quick and we didn't see any other people after we left Lake Three. The campsite was free and we quickly setup camp and did a little swimming and fishing. 

Again no fish caught from shore, so after lunch I took one of the boys out into the river and showed him how to vertical jig. The wind was strong enough that I had to paddle so I coached him and kept the canoe slowed. He hooked several fish, probably walleye, but wasn't setting the hook and lost them all after a short fight. As the wind picked up, I got tired and we decided to head back to camp and rest and hope the wind would die towards evening. 

After dinner the wind died, and the boys tried fishing some more. All 4 were trying, but not much luck. I decided to go out and try and as I was launching the rain started and soon after the thunder so we called it a night.   


Day 3 of 7

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 Today we planned to portage into Rifle Lake, portage out the other end and try to get back into the Kawishiwi River to camp. We were WAY over ambitious. We missed the portage into Rifle Lake and had to backtrack after I let one of the boys make navigation decisions. Then the portage into Rifle Lake was a bit harder than we had anticipated. Lucky for us the family that was camping on the only Rifle Lake campsite was packing to leave as we reached the end of the portage, and we decided to get some rest before trying the longer portage at the other end of the lake. 

Also, portage 603 is tricky to find. It starts right at the rapids, not at the beginning of the pool preceding the rapids. It doesn't have much room either. While the other two canoes went through, I had the boys in my canoe fish and one managed to hook a nice fish and fought it for several minutes before losing it. He was pretty bummed as it would have been his first. 

After setting camp, I decided to cast from the big rock that the fire grate sat on. My first cast I hooked a fish. The boys were excited as I played it in. It came easily and I figured I had a walleye. The water was dark and stained, so I couldn't see the fish, but when I got it close to shore and lifted my rod to bring it up where I could grab it, an enormous head emerged. It was a huge northern, too big for me to reach across the back of his head. With his head out of the water he thrashed, spit the hook, and was gone. Everyone was silent. That would be the biggest fish seen all week. 

That night we were out on the lake for a couple of hours. My son landed a small largemouth from the portage landing. We trolled, casted, and jigged. I finally managed a small largemouth on a popper. The other boys lost a couple of fish, but none landed. We did see several beaver, including one that surfaced right next to the boys canoe.  


Day 4 of 7

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 This was a hard day. We paddled across Rifle lake took the portage into Lake Two, then the two into Lake one, then the 3 from Lake One to the Kawishiwi River. We ended at campsite 1145 (which is actually on the north shore, not the south as shown on our maps)on the Kawishiwi River. 

This was a nice site and our best fishing spot. My son found a submerged tree that was full of large rock bass, and all the boys happily caught numerous fish. This made the trip a success because every boy caught fish. At dusk I casted a popper and had northerns flying out of the water. Lots of action, but only one hookup on a 22-24" northern.  


Day 5 of 7

Thursday, July 25, 2019 Our goal for the day was the campsite 1142 just before the 210 rod portage. It started fine, but after our first portage, we were paddling into the teeth of a strong headwind. The river was white capping and we required a shifting of weight in our three man canoe to make headway. The shifting was on a suggestion of a kind gentleman that saw us struggling and it made a world of difference. The boys really did an outstanding job on this day. I don't think we could have been happier to see the campsite we wanted vacant. 

We had good hopes for the fishing, but the rain and lightening moved in early and we ended up calling it a day before getting out to find fish.  What little casting we did from shore didn't produce.


Day 6 of 7

Friday, July 26, 2019 Last full day on the water and it started with a 210 rod portage. We were all exhausted and this portage was a killer for us. Our destination was campsite 1769 just inside the boundary. After the long portage, there were 2 shorter ones, and two that we just bypassed as the water was plenty deep to get through. Our destination was open and we settled in. The boys managed to catch a few small northern pike and my son managed a few tiny perch. One was rigged up on a pike rig under a bobber, but no luck all evening with it. Around dinner a rain squall moved in and left a nice rainbow over the lake. We found quite a few ripe blueberries and had a nice snack after dinner.    


Day 7 of 7

Saturday, July 27, 2019 After a slow start to the morning and a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal we packed and headed into Farm Lake and the outfitter. As we launched we saw 3 canoes across the lake heading into Farm Lake. Turns out it was our second crew who had entered entry point 31 and went into Clear Lake, down through Gabbro and back. We hit the Outfitter in time for a quick shower and repacking gear before the bus ride to Minneapolis to fly back. 

In all it was an experience of a lifetime. We had fun, but it was a lot more work than anticipated. I'm glad I had stepped up my hikes with the dogs with 50# weight. I wish I could have managed to bring my CPAP to get some sleep. In the future, I'm going to be more adamant our Scouts train more like they do for Philmont, some weren't ready for the physical exertion required. I'll, also, not want to use a route as long as the one we took to allow for days to rest/fish. 


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