BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
March 21 2023
Entry Point 16 - Moose/Portage River (North of Echo Trail)
Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1348 feet
A favorite route offering many trip options and memorable things to see including;
World Class fishing for all four BWCA Species
Soaring granite hills and cliffs
Tumbling rapids and waterfalls
Wildlife, including Moose
Vistas from high points across the region if you're willing to climb. Rating Easy to Moderate. Day One. Get to EP16 off of the Echo Trail early. The initial portage is long, but well worn and smooth, sloping gently downgrade to the launch area. Load your canoe and head North. You'll be paddling with the slight current on this narrow winding river. The water is clear and make sure to tell the bowperson to watch for looming rocks!
Boulder Bay 2009
June 05, 2009
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
Spent the night in a bunkhouse at Echo Trail Outfitters. Awoke at 3 am to get a head start, the forecast was calling for 20 mph winds with gust up to 30 mph. We arrived at the entry point by 4:15, after double portaging and getting the canoe packed we were heading down the Moose River by 5:30 am. The morning was beautiful, mid 50s with sunny skies. There was a slight fog across the river, which added to the mystery of the unknown. The Moose River was smaller than I had imagined, with beaver dams populated throughout. Two short portages and on to Nina Moose Lake. The wind was beginning to pick up, but with no problems we were into the Nina Moose River and through our next two portages to Lake Agnes. I rather enjoyed taking a minute to take a few pictures of the rapids on the second portage. As we entered Lake Agnes the winds were getting close to their climax, but we ventured on with minimal issues, until we got to the end of the lake. As the lake narrowed, before the portage into the Boulder River, we misjudged some rocks and got caught up. Manny did an excellent job on keeping the back of the canoe straight, and then talked Jake into moving ever so slowly to the rear of the canoe. We were able to unhitch ourselves from the rock and get through. Completed the portage into the Boulder River and the steep portage (the toughest portage of the day) into Boulder Bay. We had every intention to camp in Tiger Bay, but with the winds at peak level, we decided on the campsite directly across the lake from us. Beautiful campsite with tall pines, big boulders, and leftover leeches. 12 miles and 6.5 hours later, we began to set up camp and fish from shore. Manny caught a nice smallie and two walleyes, while Jake caught a smallie and I a northern. Decided to string up the two walleye to clean with tomorrows catch. As we were hanging our food pack for the night I could hear an owl, spotted him about ten feet from our fire pit. Between the owl and the loons, every nightly campfire was accompanied with the sounds of the wilderness.
Awoke and had coffee and coco. On the water for our first attempt at trolling. We trolled on our way up to Tiger Bay, with everyone catching fish. Jake caught his biggest northern (27"), while Manny and myself caught a northern and smallie within seconds of each other. Back to camp we went to fry up some fish for lunch. I grabbed the stringer with the walleyes from the night before, except there now was a northern and a Walleye on the stringer. Seems a northern had come up and swallowed the smaller of the two walleyes and now was stuck on the stringer. We let the northern go and cleaned up the fish we had and had a fish fry, nothing like fresh walleye. In the afternoon we headed for the Dahlgren River. Along the way, caught plenty of northerns in the Boulder River. Manny and Jake caught two at the same time, while I was straightening out my reel. I reached over and retrieved Jake's fish, which was flopping around and got the lure stuck on my pants. At this point I was a little irritated with my pole, the lure and a stupid northern. By the time I fixed my pole, the northern had spit out the lure. I picked it up and put him back in the water, then looked down in the bottom of the canoe and noticed the carcass of a duckling. Apparently the northern regurgitated the duckling waiting for me, I guess that is what I get. Made it back to camp for dinner, chicken breast bagel sandwiches. Traveled a total of 10 miles in the canoe today. Relaxed in front of the evening fire with the ensemble of the owl and loon playing in the background.
Woke up this morning and ate English muffin sandwiches. Another cloudy day. Decided to try and find the crappies. found everything but. shore fished the point in front of our campsite and then the island. Caught fish, but the rate was definitely slower then the prior days. Manny caught a hog of a smallie, easily the biggest of our trip. Came back to camp and cleaned some of the fish we had caught and ate a steak bagel sandwich for lunch.
Jake made the group decision to shore fish for the remainder of the day. Continued to catch more fish. Ate bacon wrapped beef loins with mashed potatoes for supper. The sun crept out from underneath the clouds, giving me the only opportunity for a sunset picture of the trip. Again enjoyed the evening campfire with all our outdoor friends.
Now at this point we were three days into our trip, and I was enjoying every minute of the solitude. I couldn't get over the lack of people we were seeing. We would see no more than three canoes a day. Our campsite was around the bend of the other two sites (which only one was occupied) and never saw or heard anyone in the evening. I couldn't get over how beautiful the campsite was, surrounded by tall pines and blanketed with a pine needle carpet. Bugs were nonexsistant with the wind off of the lake. We couldn't have had a better spot.
Woke up late today. Made breakfast burritos to fill our bellies. Had a squeaky (baitcasting) reel, which Manny stepped up to fix. The reel just needed to get greased, however Manny somehow didn't lock the side panel down. First cast and "plop", the side of the reel fell in the water. Manny, being as clever as he is, was able to retrieve the piece within 15 minutes with the use of a paddle and fishing pole. The overcast day was going to graduate into a steady drizzle day. We decided to go fishing before it hit. Well we didn't make it back before getting soaked, even with our rain gear on. Spent the rest of the afternoon huddled under a tarp, next to the fire. After the rain we went fishing for dinner. Caught dinner and cleaned dinner. Just to tired to cook dinner, ate Ramen noodles,GORP, and granola bars instead. Stayed up around the campfire late, last one before we head out tomorrow.
Broke camp around 11:00 am. Headed out and missed the first portage, due to being in the wrong bay. Paddled upstream and into the wind through Boulder River and Lake Agnes. As we finished the last portage on the Nina Moose River, we saw a bald eagle. Made our way across Nina Moose Lake and paddled up to a couple of deer on the Moose River. As the river began to narrow we came across a mother and her ducklings, the ducklings looked like miny loons. Found out later they were Merganser ducks. Beautiful way to end the trip. Took us until 7:00 pm to be at the truck with everything packed. Long day, but I didn't think the last portage was as bad as I had heard. We made our way up the echo trail to the bar and grill at the end of the trail. Had the most delicious cheeseburgers. Next stop was Lake Ossawinnamakee, were my aunt and uncle have a cabin. Arrived there about 1:30 am and spent the next three days fishing and relaxing.