BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
June 04 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!
Annual Fall Trip to Lake Agnes
September 11, 2013
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
Our day started around 5:00am when we left my brother's home in Virginia. Over the last few years his place has been a nice place to stay in a reasonable distance to Ely. We like to get started early and with everyone getting older, the leave at 2:00am to get to Ely trips are not happening anymore. We rolled into Ely and headed straight to Britton's Café. The place was full of other groups heading into the BWCA, most of them in at our entry point (and some who are members of this great site). We filled our bellies, picked up our permits and were on our way![paragraph break] The group this year consisted of my dad (the grizzled veteran who has been on 20-something trips), my buddy "George" (my fishin' buddy who goes with me everywhere, making his second straight trip to the BWCA), and my brother-in-law (the greenhorn). We got to the EP early in the day and just set out on a rocket pace. We managed to do every portage in one trip which was really a huge victory, after some canoe yolk failures the year before. We made our normal pitstop on the North end of Nina Moose at the beach. We always stop there for a snack and a chance to recharge. We found a campsite on Agnes pretty easily, but it was our first time staying at the site. Our normal site has been the site in the southwest corner, but for a change there were people there already. We had plans to stay further down the lake to be near some areas we wanted to fish and travel to, so it made the change pretty easy. We set camp and squeezed in a little fishing before dinner. "George" caught the nicest smallmouth bass of the trip the first day right in front of camp from shore! [paragraph break] We started a new tradition this year as we prepared for dinner. One that was inspired from many great folks on this site... We all had packed frozen steaks to enjoy over the fire! We found plenty of dead cedar and cooked them over a blazing fire. Now that was a meal fit for kings! After dinner we fished a little more picking up more smallmouth and northerns. Then we relaxed by the fire enjoying some campfire coffee and hot cocoa. As it grew dark I let out my ceremonial sasquatch howl across the lake and we retired to our tents.
Day 2 started out with a quick breakfast and onto the lake we went. Our mission on these trips is to fish, fish, fish. We do take the time to enjoy nature, camping, etc., but we are all crazy about our fishing! The theme of our trip was realized pretty soon as we started picking up walleyes all over the lake! It didn't matter where we went, we would catch walleyes. This was just the start of an amazing trip full of ridiculous amounts of walleyes!!! We rely pretty heavily on fish for our sustenance up there, so we kept enough for a meal and then enjoyed much more catch and release fishing, even switching over to casting for northerns for a while. We found a large rock across the bay to clean fish on, and one of the highlights of the trip was to watch the ravens and eagles do battle over the fresh fish guts. We spent the rest of the day catching more walleyes and northerns, and enjoyed 2 meals of fish for the day. We ended Day 2 much like the first one: Cocoa, Campfire, and Sasquatch howls (OK, I am the only one who does the noise, and I have often wondered how it sounds on the other side of the lake). We slept hard and fast, ready for what the next day would bring!
The third day started with a big breakfast. Pancakes, oatmeal, dried fruit. We had decided to do a day trip over to Stuart Lake. We had never been there before, but knew we had a little bit of a hike to get over there. We left camp early and hit our first portage very early. Little did I know this would be the most enjoyable portage of the day. The portages from Agnes to get over to Stuart are pretty awesome! By awesome, I mean fairly long and uphill both ways, They hadn't been used much, so there were a lot of trees in the path and that made the trek a little tougher. We made our way through the Dahlgren River, which on a drier year could be problematic. It is a very small and shallow river. When we about halfway down the river my dad started hollering and pointing ahead of us... We finally saw what he had spotted! A HUGE BULL MOOSE! I frantically grabbed the camera and stood up to get a picture, just then the moose turned and looked at us and I remembered we were in a river that was only about four feet wide... I snapped a few pics as he stepped in front of a huge evergreen, which successfully made the pictures very tough to make him out in. It was quite a neat experience, as when he finally decided to leave he disappeared in about 3 bounds. We finally made it to Stuart Lake! The 2 canoes went their separate ways (later I was scolded by my father for not communicating where we were headed...) "George" and I were on a mission: We were headed to the falls on the other side of the lake. From what I had read and heard, the fishing was pretty good right out in front of the waterfall. After an hour of fishing our way to the waterfall, we found it. We stepped out of the canoe and started casting jigs, and it wasn't long before I had hooked a beautiful gold and black walleye. We caught a few, snapped some pictures and then decided we should go find the other canoe. We ran into them halfway across the lake and they were eager to tell us the had been catching walleyes like crazy too! We then realized we both had stringers of wallyes... We were gonna eat good tonight! We headed back to where they had been fishing which was much closer to the portage and proceeded to catch walleye after walleye! I had head reports of Stuart being an excellent walleye lake, and it sure did not disappoint! My dad caught the nicest one of the day, shortly before we decided to head back. We cleaned our mess of fish and headed back! We ate and ate and ate that night for dinner and all headed to bed pretty early after the long journey of the day.
Our last full day of the trip we decided early in the day to chase some more of Agnes's walleyes. They cooperated very well on their meal of the week: a jig and twister tail. We lounged around camp a little more than normal that day, but the prior day had wiped us out, plus fishing on Agnes was tough the whole trip as we battled the wind off and on the whole trip. The wind finally cooperated that afternoon and we chased the real beauties of Agnes... The crappies! Never before have I ever seen so many 15 and 16 inch crappies! They were unbelievable! "George" caught one of the biggest crappies I have ever seen! There was no doubt it was 2 pounds! The fun part was that everyone got in on the action. We are always a little worried when we bring a greenhorn up there, but my brother-in-law is a decent fisherman and even a better learner. He held his own with us over the entire trip. We enjoyed a meal of crappies the last evening. A nice change of pace.. Hehehe By the last night we were almost sick of fish! We had such an unbelievable fishing trip, words or pictures could never truly describe it. The last night around the fire and we had already begun talking about next year's trip. On how we were going to have to go to Stuart for a day, etc.
Our trip was pretty awesome, but the last night was not. It rained so hard overnight, upwards of 2-3 inches in a very short time. Needless to say our tent was wet, our sleeping bags were wet, everything was wet. We rolled out of bed very early because who likes to lay in the cold and wet? We made a quick breakfast, packed up a very wet camp, and headed out. We were a little leery of the weather that morning. It was very unstable and just as we thought the wind picked up. It was blowing straight out of the North that morning, so it did a great job of pushing us off the lake. It was a little scary though... I am not a fan of paddling through 4 foot rollers. We knew we would find refuge in the rivers, and by the time we hit Nina Moose the wind had layed down a little. We packed up and exited the BWCA, stopping at the Dairy Queen in Ely for lunch. Then we headed home to Central Minnesota. The trip was so much fun! I look forward to September every year for our time on Lake Agnes. It is not the most private lake (we saw multiple groups passing through every day), but it's my home away from home. I have spent some of the best weeks of my life on this lake over the last 15 years and it will always have a special place in my heart. I am excited to be finally leading my own trip (without the wisdom of my father) in May. Of course "George" will be joining me as we are headed to Wood Lake (EP 26) with 2 others. But of course, come September we will be making the trip to Agnes with my dad and company again!