BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
June 06 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!
Fall 2015 Lake Agnes Trip
September 08, 2015
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
Our group of 4 met at my Dad's place in Long Prairie just after noon. This year our group was myself, my Dad, George (fourth straight year to Agnes), and Mike (rookie). We packed up the canoes and gear, most of which I was bringing with, since I had just exited the BWCA 2 days earlier. We headed out just after 1:00pm and snapped a picture of our ragtag assembly before we left. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We got up to Ely around 6:30pm and headed to Spirit of the Wilderness. We grabbed our permits and got the key to the bunkhouse, which was right downtown. They told us we were the only ones staying there tonight, so we had run of the place. We spread out across three different rooms to sleep, just to have one less night of hearing each other snoring. We all went to bed really early, for the plan the next morning was to eat at Britton's at 5:00am and head up the Echo Trail early.
We all got up shortly before 5:00am and made our way over to Britton's. We devoured some hearty breakfasts and then dropped our bunkhouse key off on the way out of Ely. We were making good time this morning, as it was just a little before 6:00am when we headed up the Echo Trail. We got to the entry point and unloaded all of our gear. I was the first one down the portage this morning and when I got to the end there was a moose walking through the woods. By the time I got everything set down and pulled out my phone, he was far into the woods. So, I settled for some pictures of the river and portage.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We made great time down the river, across Nina Moose, and onto Agnes. The water was really high, which calmed my nerves about bringing my newly acquired kevlar. Having done this trip many times, I know how the rocks are in the Moose River. They were barely an issue on this trip. When we arrived on Agnes we figured the lake would be nearly empty. From the time we had departed this morning we had run into a steady stream of canoes on their way out. The wind was picking up a bit, so we ventured out in search of a campsite. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We cruised into site #1808, known for its large boulder right at the fire area. My dad had stayed here years ago, but it was the first time I had ever been to this site. From previous years, I always remember this site being occupied, so we knew it had to be decent. We started setting up camp, putting both our tents up on the large behind the fire area. We didn't really have a lunch, since we decided it would be steaks on the early side tonight. We went out and fished a bit before dinner, found a few walleyes, and then headed in for dinner. The steaks and mashed potatoes were as delicious as ever![paragraph break]
[paragraph break] After dinner and dishes we headed out to fish until evening. It wasn't long before we got into some walleyes and some of those big ol' Agnes crappies. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We really got a lot out of this first day, with our early departure. We had camp setup before noon and got a ton of time to fish. The trip was off to a great start! I snapped a few pictures of the sunset before darkness set in. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We enjoyed some hot chocolate around the fire before calling it a night. [paragraph break]
Woke up to a cool morning. I snapped a couple pictures of the quickly retreating morning fog.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We enjoyed our coffee and instant oatmeal and then it was out for a day of fishing. We got off to a quick start as George nailed a smallmouth right out from camp on his second or third cast. Right after that I had a battle with a nice sized pike. The day was off to a nice start![paragraph break] [paragraph break] We kept going and it wasn't long before we starting catching walleyes. They weren't biting fast and furious, but when you found them, they were grouped up pretty tight. We had a few doubles during the day:[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We had fun catching piles of eater-sized walleyes for the next few hours. During this time, I caught one of the nicest ones of the trip:[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We were also enjoying the wildlife this morning, as first we saw a family of otters. They were pretty skittish and when we were close, they scampered off into the woods. We would almost see them every day of this trip! Then we were watching a few juvenile bald eagles. George and I went in for a few nice pictures of them before lunch.[paragraph break]
[paragraph break] We gathered up to clean fish and enjoy our first fish fry of the trip. We had a nice stringer to clean, and we were hungry![paragraph break] [paragraph break] After lunch, we headed out to do some more fishing. We enjoyed another nice afternoon of cooperative walleyes. Saved enough to have a nice dinner. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] It had been a wonderful day on Agnes. The walleyes cooperated, we saw plenty of wildlife, and just enjoyed a great day. Right before dark, rain chased up into our tents for just over a half hour. If it would have lasted any longer, I think we would have lost most of the guys to sleeping for the night. But, the rain stopped and we got some water on for some hot chocolate. Mike didn't come out of his tent, he had a hard first night of sleep, since his air mattress failed to hold air the first night. My dad had brought a backup, so tonight he was catching up on some much needed rest. Snapped a couple pictures at sunset to wrap up the day. [paragraph break]
This morning we woke up and realized we may have to change our plans for the day. Overnight, a cold front had moved in, bringing with it the wind and cooler temps. We had planned to day trip over to Stuart Lake today, but decided against it, given the wind, and the fact that the walleyes may have lock-jaw today. We decided we would hang out on Agnes again today, possibly exploring the northern end, including the falls in the Boulder River. The morning started good. The walleyes were biting really light this morning. We pretty much caught all of them subtly jigging twister tails or gulp on light jigs. We scratched up enough for lunch and then headed north. I had heard the walleyes were biting pretty good under the falls from a friend who had stayed on Agnes a week earlier. We were going to check that out. We parked the canoes in the rapids and walked the portage down to the falls, only to find several canoes fishing tight to the edge of the falls. I knew things would get too crowded, so George and I retreated to our canoe. We decided to head back to the little rapids we just went through to get to the falls area. It didn't take long before the fish started biting. George caught several quick walleyes on a Flicker Shad. Then I caught my first smallmouth of the trip:[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We met back up with my dad and Mike, who fished for a little bit at the falls. My dad caught a nice smallmouth down there. We shared our spot at the rapids with them for a while, before we moved to check out a few more spots. On the way back to camp, we caught enough walleyes to fill out our dinner along with a nice crappie out in the middle of the lake.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We got back to camp. and while we were making dinner, we conversed how no one had yet taken any casts off of shore at or around our campsite. George decided to give it a go, and wouldn't you know it, we caught a monster smallmouth bass! [paragraph break] [paragraph break] After that excitement and dinner, we went out to fish until sunset. We were rewarded with some of those special Agnes crappies, getting a double right before we called it a night.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] It had been a truly amazing day. We fished all over the lake, and caught fish in nearly all spots we stopped. Sunset was beautiful, hopefully a sign of what tomorrow would bring.[paragraph break]
We woke up to a gorgeous morning! We made the call immediately that we would get a quick start this morning and head over to Stuart Lake today. Snapped a couple pictures of the morning fog: [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We hit the first couple of portages and then had the long paddle up the Dahlgren River. This was our second trip on the Dahlgren, the first had been a couple years earlier. The river was quite a bit higher this trip and made for an enjoyable photo. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] The waterfall coming out of Stuart was running pretty good and provided a nice photo op: [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We got to Stuart Lake and the wind was blowing a little bit. We made our way to a rocky shoreline for some lunch and then to see how the walleyes were going to cooperate. Shortly after eating some trail mix and jerky we started casting. It did't take long before I hooked up. I caught gorgeous walleyes on three straight casts. Then, everyone else got in on the action, catching some walleyes and northerns. We filled the stringer for dinner and then decided to go see the falls. George and I had seen the falls our first time here, but my Dad had not. We pulled up took some pictures and did a little fishing. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We then headed back to clean our walleyes for dinner and start the long journey back.[paragraph break] [paragraph break] We headed back and took some pictures on the Boulder River on the way back. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] We got back to camp and devoured a huge "last supper". My dad always packs a little extra food, just in case the weather or the fish aren't cooperating. Well, everything had cooperated, so we decided to make a large feast for our last night on Agnes. We started packing up camp, so we could make an early exit the next morning. As the sun started going down, we enjoyed some coffee on the rocks and enjoyed the last sunset. [paragraph break] [paragraph break]
We woke up very early this morning (in fact Dad set his alarm). We had some instant oatmeal and coffee while we tore down tents and packed up the last of our camp. On our way back, we realized the day trip the previous day had taken its toll. We were all suffering from a little fatigue from all the paddling and portaging we had done the day before. We met our first group coming in about halfway across Nina Moose. And just like every year, we paddled into the wind across Nina Moose. No matter what direction we head across Nina, we always seem to be paddling into the wind! We met four more groups before we made it to the entry point. Every group was heading to Agnes it seemed. Some of them were a little bummed out when we told them all the groups in front of them were also planning on staying on Agnes. We snapped a picture when we made it to the parking lot. [paragraph break] [paragraph break] [paragraph break] In summary, Agnes just seems to never disappoint! We enjoyed great fishing every day for a wide variety of species: walleyes, northerns, smallmouth bass, and crappies. This lake holds so many special memories with many great people. I can't wait to return next September and have some new adventures. Thanks for reading!