BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 19 2019
Moose Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 21 miles. Access is an boat landing or canoe launch at Moose Lake. Many trip options for paddlers with additional portages. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.
Number of Permits per Day: 27
Elevation: 1356 feet
Moose Lake - 25
Number of Permits per Day: 27
Elevation: 1356 feet
Moose Lake - 25
Birch Lake to Knife and back through Vera Lake to Ensign
May 22, 2008
Number of Days:
This is my second trip to the BWCA in the past two years. Last year my son (Jake) and myself came up during the hottest three days of the year. This year we decided to take my outdoor buddy (Manny) with and start our trip in late spring (it was definitely cooler).
Day 1 of 8
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - Left Mendota at 4:30 PM. Stopped at Pedro’s in Madison and ate dinner. Made it to a boat ramp for East Chub Lake, south (15 miles) of Ely around 3AM. Slept in the Explorer.[paragraph break]Thursday, May 22, 2008 - Woke up at 6AM Drove into Ely and ate breakfast. (Manny said no more mexican restaurants). Picked up permits and went to LaTourrels. Did some hiking around the outfitters. Too early to check in, so went back to town, got lunch and visited the wolf museum. Went back to the outfitter and checked in. Had a 2 story bungalow with 6 beds. Went fishing in lakes, east of LaTourrels, we hiked earlier in the day. No luck. Came back to outfitters and took shower. Headed to town for Pizza dinner, crashed around 10 PM.
Day 2 of 8
Friday, May 23, 2008 - Woke up at 5:30 AM. Finished packing gear and got down to the boat ramp at 6:30AM. Loaded on the boat by 7 AM getting shuttle to Indian Portage. Thanks again to LaTourrels. By 7:40 Had everything on other side of Indian Portage and started paddling Birch Lake. An hour or so and on to our second portage. Carp lake, portage, Melon lake, portage, Seed lake, portage and finally . . . . . . . . Knife Lake. Went pass Isle of Pines and Robbins Island. Navigator (me) lost positioning on map. Manny figured it out and we found our camp site on the south arm around 4 PM. Beautiful elevated campsite located on a point. Finally ate breakfast made camp and fished from shore, ate brats for dinner and marshmallows for desert. Crashed NO FISH.
Day 3 of 8
Saturday, May 24, 2008 - Wake around 6:30 made coffee and oatmeal. Set out trolling for walleye. No Fish. Came back for late breakfast. Manny and me went jigging for northerns. No fish. Came back to camp and fished the point. No Fish. (Seems to be a reoccurring theme.) Had steaks and AuGrautin potatoes and fished back bay behind campsite, BINGO!!! Manny caught the first fish, a nice Laker. Shortly after that I caught a laker. Couple more strikes but that was it. We finally got on the board.
Day 4 of 8
Sunday, May 25, 2008 - Woke up late due to the staying up til midnight and stormy weather. I slept on shoulder wrong, would hurt the entire day. Went fishing after breakfast in back bay and then out to the island north of us. Jake caught a whitefish or cisco, not really sure what it was but it was good size. As we proceded to the island we went around and around and I caught another nice Laker. Had to stay close to camp due to the Tornado warning in affect til 9 PM. Had hotdogs and cheddar broccoli rice for lunch. Shore fished. Then decided to jump in the lake for a rinse and go on top for a shower. Shower felt good, lake was very cold. Continued shore fishing and just laying on the rocks. Kept going to lookout to see incoming weather. Had our fist dry food dinner - lasagna, corn and Chocolate Moose Pie. I liked it all, Manny and Jake didn’t care for the lasagna. Sat around campfire and went to bed by 10:30. Exhausted.
Day 5 of 8
Monday, May 26, 2008 - Thunderstorms all night, woke up to rain and very cold conditions. Stove is not working, tore it all apart. Made fire for breakfast, rain lasted until noon. Cold, Cold, Day. Burnt socks on fire trying to dry out. Manny fished the south side of the point almost catching three nice smallies. Once wind died down, went trolling around central part of lake. No Fish. Ate dinner and started packing for Ensign. Had a rouring fire to help burn all the wood and keep us warm. Frost advisory for tonight.
Day 6 of 8
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 - Froze our butt off last night. Cold, Cold, Cold. Wrapped head in sleeping bag. Woke up sun had already melted frost and everything was warm. Packed camp up and headed out for Ensign Lake. Traveled south arm of Knife and went by Thunderpoint and Isle of Pines then came to the first portage to Vera Lake (200 rods, rod = 16.5 feet) roughly 3300 ft. or just over .6 of a mile up a big hill. Jake got on his hands and knees to get up one stretch . Not sure how we got the canoe and 100+ lb. pack through. Luckily got it done on 2 trips. Black flies were out of control. Couldn’t take a break after portage because flies were so bad. Got into middle of lake and wind picked up getting rid of the flies for a while. Portage took a lot out of all of us. 30 minutes later we had another portage to Ensign. Although not as difficult as the prior portage, a little shorter, but just as back breaking. Finally at Ensign. Paddled to a campsite on east end of lake. Whole trip took 6.5 hours w/no breaks. Could barely move but some how managed to set up camp, make dinner and fish from shore. I missed one. Actually stayed up til midnight trying to keep warm and discussing fishing locations for tomorrow. Reminisced on the tough portages.
Day 7 of 8
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - Woke up from another cold night (below 30 degrees, 28 I believe). We are getting good at surviving, just enclose ourselves in our sleeping bag and dress in warm cloths. Went fishing around 9. Trolling, I caught nice 2 foot northern, which we kept for lunch. Jake had a nice 4lb. walleye up to the canoe and lost him. Manny had numerous bites with no luck (tough job guiding canoe and fishing at same time). Came back to camp and cooked our first shore lunch. Yummy!!! Laid down after that, Manny took the canoe to do some fly fishing. No Luck for Manny or us. Got up, took shower. Too windy to fish, decided to take a 3 hour trip to Cattyman Falls. Through two lakes and two portages and we were there, beautiful. Came back to camp and decided to fish from shore. BINGO!!!! Everyone caught walleyes. The biggest was 22” and 3 lbs 2 oz. Ended up cleaning and keeping 6. Had a huge supper. Went to bed around 1AM, warming up, I think it is only going down to 38 tonight.
Day 8 of 8
Thursday, May 29, 2008 - Got up about 8:30 AM . Tried the fishing from shore again. No luck. Very tired, can’t wake up. Sat around all morning drinking coffee and decided to pack up and move out. Had camp broke by 12 PM. Paddled our butts off and were out of the water by 4PM. Dead tired and hungry. Went to Steak house in Ely and ate like Kings. Drove to the north shore and spent night at Temperance River State park (site 5A). Set up camp in drizzling rain. Got our first shower out of the BWCA. Felt wonderful. Made a huge fire and went to bed around 1 AM.[paragraph break]Friday, May 30, 2008 - Woke up around 8 AM to rain. Went to Schroeder Bakery for coffee and breakfast. Headed up to Cascade River and hiked trail, taking lots of pictures. Headed back to Temperance River broke camp and hiked trails taking plenty of pictures. Left and went to split Rock Lighthouse. Couldn’t see lighthouse due to fog and mist. Proceeded to Gooseberry Falls and got my foot wet, as usual. More pictures of beautiful falls. Left and went to Baha Billy’s in Duluth for supper. Walked the Boardwalk and left for Jay Cook State Park. More hiking and more pictures. Decided to leave for home arriving at 5 AM.