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February 26 2024

Entry Point 16 - Moose/Portage River (North of Echo Trail)

Moose/Portage River (north) entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 27 miles. Access is a 160-rod portage heading North from the Echo Trail.

Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1348 feet
Latitude: 48.1230
Longitude: -92.0991
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
Small lakes
Small rivers
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!

June 2005

by Arkansas Man
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 20, 2005
Entry Point: Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 5

Trip Introduction:
This was my kids first trip, and my wifes second... To say the least it was very interesting, yet it was fun, a challenge, and beautiful.

Day 1 of 4

Monday, June 20, 2005
I awaken early Monday morning at Voyager North to the sound of thunder and the flash of lightening. The storms stop before daylight and we get up at 4:15 to get an early start, since it is the kids first trip. They are excited as I am at the start of this adventure. We arrive at the Moose River North Entry Point by 6:30 and unload to start the 160 rod portage down to the river. The sounds of the birds, and the bugs are loud in the morning stillness after the storms of the night before. Everything is gotten to the river with no problems and we are ready to start. The mosquito's are thick on the portage, a sign of things to come. The water is high and we have little problems making our way to Nina Moose Lake in good time. We pass several parties on their way out. The two 25 rod portages before Nina Moose are done with ease. As we hit the 70 rod portage after Nina Moose we start hitting more and more traffic of people leaving that day and the portage becomes crowded, but all goes smoothly and we get fishing reports from different parties. Some saying good, some saying bad... we know we will catch some fish! We make the short paddle to the 96 rod portage and pass it easily. Now just paddling for a while. Once we reach Agnes we decide to go ahead and push to Iron Lake... A long day but, it can be done. We take the 115 rod Boardwalk Portage out of Agnes into the Boulder River to save a little paddling... it is very muddy and hard on the kids and spouse. We next paddle to the 65 rod portage between Boulder and Lac La Croix, which exits by the ranger cabins... we have already seen several deer, and a couple of them were bucks in velvet... now we see a Bull Moose, trouble is he sees us and leaves rather quickly...  He is visible as a black spot to the right of the canoe on the far shore. When we get to the portage we wait a few moments to give him time to get across the portage. The portage is evidently a popular one with moose as it is filled with tracks. We paddle on to Bottle portage, which will lead us to Iron. Bottle is muddy, but not too bad if you are careful where you step. Our oldest daughter was not careful and stepped into the clay on the Iron Lake side and sunk up to her knee... I had to dig her out with my hands while the others pulled. Now just a short paddle to Iron and find a suitable campsite. We go to the first site on the west bank of Iron, nice site, but rough for 3 tents, and a widow maker on the left side of the campsite... We leave the kids there and the wife and I paddle on in search of a nicer site. We check out the second site and find it to be on a nice flat point, with plenty of wind to keep the bugs away, but the latrine is way back into the woods with plenty of ticks and mosquito's. We paddle on to check other sites. The other sites we check are either taken or not a good as this one so we decide to stay there.  Who ever had the site before us left a nice supply of wood and kindling. We set up camp and prepare a meal of Cheesy Chicken Enchilada, and stovetop stuffing... everyone eats and gets ready to go to bed... I heat water to allow my wife to try out the battery operated shower I had brought her... All I can say is that to her it was the high light of the trip... The kids are tired, bug bitten, but still excited... We retire to the sounds of the loons which we had missed so much and to the distant sound of Bottle River Rapids... Total miles traveled that day by the wife and I... according to the GPS is 19.1. Kids have done about 14.5 miles their first day and trip... I am very proud of them!!!!

Nina Moose Lake, Agnes, Lake, Boulder Lake Nina Moose Lake, Agnes, Lake, Lac La Croix, Bottle Lake, Iron Lake


Day 2 of 4

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 I awaken early get the fishing equipment ready for a day of fishing... It is a beautiful morning cool slightly breezy, but a hint of the heat to come as the day progresses. I manage to catch a few small smallmouth and a walleye on a Mepps Black Fury from the bank at camp, the start of dinner tonight. The wife gets up and we have Vanilla nut creme coffee with bagels and creme cheese for breakfast. We take the canoe and start fishing the little bay behind camp. We catch several smallmouth up to 1.5 pounds and one northern about 23 inches long... we keep none of them. After am hour or so we go back and wake up the kids and prepare a breakfast for them... Plans for the day are to go to Cutain Falls. We leave paddling across Iron Lake with Christopher the youngest son, dragging a red and white spoon... he manages to catch his first walleye after about 1/4 mile of paddling. We continue on to the falls. The water coming from the falls is swift as we paddle up the current. We make it and park the canoes near the portage, where several people are fishing... but not having very much luck... We make the portage over to see the Falls.  We fish for a while catching a few small smallies. We paddle back to camp... as we pass Three Island, I notice a black and yellow tent, and a white tarp at the weatern campsite. There are two canoes there... the signs that SetTheHook told me to look for... so we go over and visit for a while. Jon is a cool guy, he and his friends are relaxing during the hot afternoon passes. We finally get back to camp and prepare the walleye for dinner... nothing quite like fresh caught fish lightly seasoned cooked out side with a little mexican rice on the side... everyone one is filled and ready for a rest... the kids retire to their tents while the wife and I sit out and look at the full moon rising...  After a few pictures we too retire to the tent...


Day 3 of 4

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 The wife and I awaken and make coffee and have a bagel before we head out to go fishing. We head north and west toward Bottle Lake. We want to see the rapids we have been hearing for the past couple of days. We catch several nice smallmouth on the way  the water is high and the fish are right on the bank close to the brush. They hit as soon as the lure hits the water. Kim hooks one close to or over 5 pounds and loses it right at the boat... but the fight was fun. We continue fishing and catching smaller fish. We finally get to Bottle Rapids where the water is running full over the rocks  We get a call on the radio that our oldest son Jonathan has seen a snake at camp, and so we head back to avert the "danger" We get back to camp to find a nice sized garter snake with a hole in the rocks at camp... The wind starts to pick up from the south and the heat intensifies so we hang hammocks and relax for the afternoon... tomorrow is a moving day... So we have our everning meal and prepare for the moved the next day... during the afternoon clouds have moved in and the humidity has increased... I tell the wife that storms are coming... I just don't know when... We go to bed that evening early so we can get an early start the next day... the heat does not let up during the night so we have to sleep on top of the sleeping bags... the wind does not let up either... I have a feeling of pending bad weather coming... I know the kids would not be able to handle the severe storms that could come while sitting in a tent... so I make a decision in my mind to go ahead and start early and just push on out a day early... the kids are about done in... with the heat and the bugs/mosquitos... I finally drift off into a fitfull sleep.


Day 4 of 4

Thursday, June 23, 2005
We arise early and get packed up... we are on the water and paddling by 7:40 am. Bottle portage is drier and easier to manage this time, although the mosquitos are terrible. We get on Lac La Croix and the wind from the south starts to pick up... and we have several miles to go paddling straight into it. We pass the portage at the Ranger cabins  We continue on, deciding to paddle the Boulder River and doing the 24 rod Portage instead of the 115 rod boardwalk into Agnes. Once we reach Agnes the wind is stronger and blowing straight into our face... I tell Bekah our oldest daughter to just paddle steady and we will be okay... she does great, she is also a beast on the portages... sometimes carrying two packs at a time... All of the kids are great especially now that I tell them we are going to go ahead and leave today because of possible bad weather coming. We make the crossing and head into the Nina Moose River where we are out of the wind and the paddling is easier... we come across an oddity here... a rock in the middle of the River with what appears to be "poop" on top  we all wonder if it is beaver, moose, bear, or what??? We all have a much needed laugh. We continue on uneventful other than meeting others coming in, and on the portages... and we marvel at some of the things they bring with them... We finally reach the last portage and do the 160 back to the truck and load everything... Kids are worn out, Wife is worn out, I am tired but wish I could stay longer... but it is better to cut it short than possibly scare the kids to where they might never want to come back... We get to Ely, and Voyager North where we sell sunscreen for Lynn because of the sunburn that all of us suffer from... The hot showers and cold beverages feel and taste great... we head to DQ for 1/2 pound hamburgers, drinks and ice cream before we head home... The kids all get T-shirts at V-North and Piragis before we leave... At 8:50 pm we start the journey south... barely missing the bad weather I had felt was coming.

Gear that worked well: 1. Olympus 500 Digital Camera. 2. Battery operated shower 3. Themacell mosquito repeller 4. New Cook Kit
I will post more pictures to my photo page here on the site... Now to get ready for next years trip...


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