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!
Agnes - LLC
June 08, 2016
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
This trip was with my 12 year old son (5th trip) and myself (13). After a night at the bunk house on Big Lake we get an early start and couldn't have asked for a better entry day. Cool temps, sunny skies, and no bugs. We stop and climb to the top of the world, and am glad we crossed that one off the list. Beautiful views on a perfect day. We continue to trek on to North Agnes and I cuss as a group passes us by single portaging and running the 105 rod rapids. I hope it means we aren't deprived of a good sight on north Agnes because the triple portaging may be too much to push to LLC today. When we get there we find one of the three sights (a 5* according to BWJ) open and it is sweet, score! We set up and get out fishing. We finish with 6 walleyes, 3 smallies, and a 13 inch crappie. Awesome start to trip
We wake up to another perfect day and decide to head to rapids on boulder river. After realizing that smallies are surface feeding, we switch to top waters and hit the whole loop over to the northeast Agnes portage. What a blast as the kid gets his first top water experience. 15+ fish total plus many missed blow ups. Biggest fish at 19 and a half. A slow night of fishing at dusk with only a couple of small walleyes and a few rock bass caught by my son. Soon after he will be declared the rock bass king for his prowess.
We decide to make the trek to Oyster for a shot at lake trout. The day gets interesting when we get to the Oyster River as I go waist deep in muck. Oh well, try to stay on the logs. In Oyster we can't muster up one of those challenging trout and have to go ashore for shelter behind some big pines as lightning and thunder roll in. When we decide to leave the sun starts coming out and it warms up. Seems as though our timing for fishing trout is opposite of what the weather is thinking. We do muster a couple of nice smallies on the Dr. Spoons we're throwing but over all a disappointing fishing day. On the way back to Agnes We hang and collect fire wood along the western beach of Agnes. Water is still a little cool but better than the muck of the Oyster River.....
High winds all morning so a good recovery day. Originally we were planning to make the push to LLC or Iron, but not going to happen this morning, so tomorrow. We enjoy the beautiful campsite and simply relax. About 4:00 it calms down and we head out for some walleye/bass. We have our best day of fishing on Agnes and end up with 10 walleye and a few smallies. A good night for a fry and start buttoning things up for tomorrow's departure.
We head out early with a goal for a good sight on LLC. I am also considering Iron but not sure if I want to do bottle portage with everything. (Heard it was muddy and have never done it) We see the first couple of nice sights are taken and are running out of options before Iron. We come around the corner of the island in front of Warrior Hill and hear some people talking. Drats. As we start to see them, they are jumping in their canoes and tell us it was only a lunch break. We dock to check it out and it is perfect. Phenomenal location for fishing LLC and Iron, lots of sights to see, good wind for bugs, and on an island to boot. We set up and my son takes a nap while I toss out a leech on bobber. As the winds pick up I see we have put the tent up under a leaning pine and its a rocking. I wake him and we agree we should move it to a less comfortable, but safer spot. Upon returning home I find out that a man lost his life in this storm due to a fallen tree. So sad. I catch a 24 inch pike and we throw him in a rice medley for early supper as the skies and wind are telling me no evening fishing. We settle into the tent around 6 as the rain starts and play cards for a couple hours before we crash out. It rains for some 12 hours or so but we couldn't be happier on what we thought was fathers day.
The weather finally starts to clear and we head to Warrior Hill, the Pictos, and west shore to fish. We can't find northern most pictos? so we start to fish. We have a solid day on the west shore around Never Fail Bay and total 4 walleyes 20 + smallies and 5 pike. We had back and have the walleyes for supper and pick up a few pike around camp while relaxing a bit. It is a beautiful night and sunset.
It's a cloudy windy day so we decide to take the "back way" to bottle rapids and check out ranger cabin. We are amazed at the beauty of LLC and I am beginning to think that this is my new favorite lake. Awesome cliffs, rock formations, tall pines, clear water, boundary markers, etc. We start fishing and stick to the American side. It picks up and we get a dozen walleye, 5 smallies, and 4 pike. 19 inch walleye is the nicest. On the way back we visit the ranger cabins and see a otter along with a drake wood duck. Another walleye fry.
We decide to finally hit Iron Lake. We push all the way to Curtain Falls and will fish on the way back. Pretty windy but upon arrival at the falls we decide that everything we have done to this point was worth it. I have seen some cool falls and awesome stuff during my trips, but this one takes the cake. Too bad pictures do not do it justice. We start back after lunch and I pick up a 28 inch pike in the current. Unfortunately it is just too windy to fish the walleye spots Stu had marked on our maps. We decide to troll back and we catch 10 nice pike. The kid is sold on trolling for the first time. On the way back my son asks for the trail mix and I decide to make a few casts with the rapala I still have tied on before making the final push to bottle portage. (was muddy but no problem once you realized the easiest way was to slosh through it) While he eats, I catch a pike, smallie, and walleye on 3 casts and we decide to try jigging. We have our best day and boat more than 30 walleye. Each of us gets a 20 and I lose a trophy when the jig and twister move in his lip during the fight and limp....We keep 3 little ones and bake them over the fire. One more awesome day.
I realize that my coffee supply is becoming limited and the end is in sight. Bummer because there is still much to explore. We decide to go to Kelsey Lake and try for some pike. I hook a beauty in Never Fail on the way and get it up to the canoe. I take the folding frabill and try to land it but it nowhere near fits half of the fish in it. In my attempt I knock the rapala out and it swims away. No regrets as it was going back but a picture with the 35+ pike would have been nice, oh well. We get into Kelsey on the hot summer day and what a blast! 30 plus healthy pike between 22 and 28 inches. At times literally one after another, and each one a great fight. Both our wrists are sore and we keep one for jambalaya night. I would highly recommend this little lake for fun. They inhaled our spoons and spinners and I am betting there are some nice panfish in there too, but we stayed on the northerns. We decide we will probly head out Saturday Morning so we enjoy another beautiful sunset and night on our site. Huge fires on nights like these from all the beaver wood washed ashore we found. Another awesome recommendation I got from BWJ and Stu. I'll never do it any other way.
Our last full day and night we decide to head to Bottle Rapids again. On this cloudy and overcast day I get into the smallies with the zulus I purchased on QueticoMikes recommendation. I can not believe the action on these in current. We have a blast catching 20+ fish and I am sold. All fighters between 16 and 19. As the wind dies down a bit we start jigging for walleye. We pick up a bunch and get a nice spot doing a drift right off a rock on the American side. I pick up a 20 incher and we boat close to 20 fish when some dude and his kid who were watching us pull out a boat anchor and set up 20 feet away in our drift. If they want the spot that bad they can have it, so we head back.
We are ready to start the trek back o EP 16 at 7 but the fog is so thick we have to wait til 9 to depart. We take our time and make it back around 4:30 and start the drive back to Crapsconsin. One note here, I had a redwing black bird land on my hat and start pecking me on the river. I assumed it was a after a dragon fly? but nonetheless funny. For our longest trip ever, things couldn't have been any more perfect. Thanks to everyone on this site who are constantly sharing information and improving our experience every time we enter! Days after being home I was already studying maps of Ensign where we will be putting in August 3. I need to move to Minnesota because two trips a summer is not enough....