BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 27 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 7
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!
Fall 2014 Lake Agnes Trip
September 10, 2014
Moose/Portage River (north)
Moose/Portage River (north) (16)
Number of Days:
We got an early start up the Echo Trail to EP 16, because this year we stayed at one of the bunkhouses on Fenske Lake. Special thanks to Echo Trail Outfitters for letting us get our permits on Tuesday night when we got up there to allow us the early start! So at 6:30am we started heading up the rest of the Echo in a cold, windy, and rainy morning. We all had been watching the weather prior to heading up and knew exactly what we were in store for that first day. We wasted no time getting down the first portage. I saw a pine marten on the trail in front of me on the first portage! Of course, he was no where to be found once I got the camera out. That first portage seems so long when you are coming out, but this morning it was a perfect warm-up to the cool morning start. The first portage: [paragraph break] We made our way through the river in the woods. I really observed this on the way out, as it seems the woods just swallows up the Moose River as it gets smaller and narrower. Well, we were heading North for now, portaging through very slimy and muddy portages one by one. We realized just how low the river was when we got to the new sandbar portage. The river stays shallow FOREVER after the sandbar. I took the opportunity for a brief photo op here: [paragraph break][paragraph break] As we made our way to Nina Moose Lake, we knew we were in for a tough day of traveling. We ran into our first travelers heading home, and they all warned how terrible the wind was on Agnes already this day. We crossed Nina Moose slowy and were happy to get to the sandbar on the north shore. We always stop here for a snack break. We gobbled up some beef sticks and granola bars and got back into the canoes. As we approached Lake Agnes, the wind intensified. We neared the mouth of the river and saw 3-4 foot whitecaps crashing through the wildrice. My dad quickly decided we would pull up on the south shore and make a game plane. We just sat and watched as the wind just screamed across the lake.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] After a bit we decided to find a campsite on the south end of the lake, just in case the wind wasn't going to let down. We carefully made our way to the campsite in the southwest corner of the lake. The waves were crashing down on us broadside, so we moved very slowly towards the site. We got to camp and unloaded the canoes. We weren't quite ready to commit to this site yet, as it was early in the day and far from where we wanted to be. As we looked out on the lake, we soon saw another set of travelers, who at first appeared to be taking on the waves and heading across the lake. Their canoes were getting tossed way up and down, and we soon thought we would have to go out on a rescue mission. They soon headed for the point, home of another campsite. It was shortly after this we decided to just setup camp and stay here for the evening. After camp was set up, we decided to go out and do a little fishing in the bay. Our hopes were not high with the cold front moving in with the rain and wind... We were fortunate to catch a couple of northerns and perch. A shot of the first fish of the trip: [paragraph break] We then went back to camp and got dinner ready. We all devoured our steaks and instant potatoes as we hoped tomorrow would bring calmer waters. After the evening chores were done a few of us decided to give the leeches we brought along a shot. I was rewarded by catching 2 "eater-sized" walleyes that I kept for a meal the next day. I had just returned to fishing after hooking the second walleye on the metal stringer that was tied onto the canoe when I heard both the stringer move and even the canoe move on the rocks. Now it was getting dark out, so I flipped on my headlamp and headed over to the canoe. I saw the stringer pulled tight, and I almost already knew what was on the other end... As I gave the stringer a tug a HUGE snapping turtle appeared out of the depths with my most recent walleye in his mouth. i turned around to find the canoe paddle and I gave him a smack on the back of the head. He finally let go and swam off. At that point I knew we would have to filet out the fish on the stringer. We cleaned the fish, put them in a ziplock, then sunk them in one of our mesh tent bags. Soon after we all retired to the tent and enjoyed our first night of sleep.
Morning greeted us with a gorgeous sunrise![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We broke camp fairly early to actually get down the lake today. We made quick tracks to the other end and got camp set up again... We were finally where we wanted to get to yesterday. It was a weird and helpless feeling, knowing there was no way we were getting over here yesterday. We wasted no time to get out on the water and drum up some lunch. Before long, we had a nice stringer of walleyes and crappies for our first real lunch of the trip. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We enjoyed a nice afternoon of continued fishing success and had a much more pleasant evening around camp.[paragraph break]
We have a big breakfast of pancakes this morning. We have travel plans today so we calorie up! The only bummer is someone to remain nameless forgot the syrup. We tried to make our own syrup using some different dried fruits in simmering water, but most of it was gross. Oh well! We headed for the north end of Agnes, doing a little fishing along the way.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] As we got up toward the falls, I nailed a little smallmouth that I had about 10 chances at before I finally got him. Oh the joys of fishing with plastics. The rest of the guys were catching pike and bass along the way as well.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We fished below the rapids for a while with some great success. Just about all of us wrestled with a nice smallie:[paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We ran into some groups this day, many coming off Lac La Croix, or enjoying the Boulder River. After a snack on the rocks, we headed back towards camp. No one was in a hurry to get back to camp, so we fished some different parts of the lake on the way back to camp. We finally made our way back to camp and enjoyed our afternoon coffee. After that, 3 of the 4 of us wanted to fish, so we tried a technique my dad and I had heard about. We lashed the 2 canoes together with some branches, so we could troll and fish all together, without one person having to fish alone. It worked awesome! We were able to troll at a great speed and picked up piles of walleyes and crappies for dinner.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We enjoyed a very large dinner and enjoyed a gorgeous evening. We snapped some sunset pictures and laid on the rocks and watched the stars for quite some time. A perfect ending to a great day![paragraph break]
The start of our last full day! We were up and at 'em pretty early this morning. Got a few nice morning fog pictures. Saw the morning fog every day, but while drinking coffee and admiring it, I would always forget to grab the camera in time. This morning I finally got a picture:[paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We hit the water and by now, we had the walleyes and crappies pretty dialed in. We did stop and fished for some topwater pike for a bit as well... [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We ate another large fish lunch and then spent a little down time around camp. I took the opportunity to take pictures of some of the mushrooms growing around camp:[paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We hit the water after afternoon coffee for the last fishing adventure. We caught our fill again.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] Tonight, we enjoyed fried fish and macaroni and cheese, unusually delicious while in the northwoods. We wrapped up the night by tearing some of our camp fixtures down (clothesline, lean-to, etc,). Tomorrow we will leave this magical place...
Do you ever notice that no matter which direction you are going, you end up paddling into the wind on the way in and the way out? We got a very early start across Agnes. By the time we hit Nina Moose, the wind was increasing and gave us quite a little battle across the lake. We did see a lone canoe heading out in front of us. We caught them about 2 portages from the EP, and had a nice conversation with a daughter and father tandem that did a quite impressive loop. On our way back down the Moose River we did spy at least 3 otters that were having a great time regardless of the wind and weather. We made it back to our vehicle and headed straight to Ely, Dairy Queen in particular! We all gorged on large amounts of burgers and fries (and ice cream!) This year's trip was another great adventure. We have been going to Lake Agnes for years and every year presents its own great adventures and stories. This year the weather wasn't the best, but the fishing was again fantastic and the company was great!