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September 26 2022

Entry Point 25 - Moose Lake

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
Latitude: 47.9877
Longitude: -91.4997
Moose Lake - 25

Trip Report - Ensign

by Dbor
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 01, 2015
Entry Point: Moose Lake
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 9

Trip Introduction:
Near disaster at the beginning of the trip. Thanks to all that helped out.

Day 1 of 4

Saturday, August 01, 2015 Spent Friday night at Williams and Hall. Kids loved being right on the lake. Blayne is a great host.  I have been on numerous trips, and my buddy just one with his teenage sons. This was the first trip for my three kids (6, 9 and 11) and for my friends other two kids (9 and 11). I prepared an easy trip as it was the first time in a canoe for 5 kids. We paid for the boat ride to the first portage at Splash Lake. Then there was just the one small portage and we were base-camping on Ensign. As luck would have it people at the portage told us that sites 1276 and 1229 were open. Both are 5 star large campsites. We elected to stay at 1229. It was a great site. Lots of room. Incredible views, and decent fishing from shore. 

The kitchen is elevated and you can see for miles. Steaks with rice never tasted better.

First night it started to drizzle at around 2 AM. By 230 the torrential downpour, big lightning and thunder were hitting us. Kids took it well but were a little scared when the big gusts of wind flexed the tent. It was my biggest storm I have been in while sleeping in a tent. Nice to see my tent took it and did not fail me. 


Day 2 of 4

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Great first day, but then the next morning I woke up to a near disaster. My canoe that had been turned over on the bank was gone. A big gust from the storm must have gotten under the canoe and flipped it somehow. It was a good 5 feet from shore, but the site has a steep grade off the water. Both paddles were also gone.  Looked at my leech bucket and the top was still there attached to the tree with rope, but the bottom was gone. Kids were fishing and must not have screwed it on right. 

So I went to bed all happy, and woke up missing a canoe, two paddles, and over a pound of leeches. 

Looked off and could see a straight line in the water a half mile away, right next to a campsite. The people at that site came out and pulled the canoe out of the water. As we paddled over to get it, we were talking about what we were going to do with 2 canoes and only 2 paddles. When we got to campsite we could not believe it but the people found both paddles floating with the canoe. Not sure how that happened but things were looking up. 

Got back to the site and the kids were hungry so egg and bacon burritos were quickly made and devoured.

Kids were completely bummed that we did not have leeches. I have lots of lures and tube jigs but did not want to use that exclusively. As we had seen a steady stream of people going past on their way out of the BW, I told my daughter to ask people canoeing by us if they had any leeches they were not using. 4 people stopped and unloaded leeches into our new ziplock bag leech container. Most people were laughing and saying they did not know why they were transporting leeches on the way out. We ended up with about 6 dozen.  Turned out to be more than enough for the rest of the trip. 

We paddled across the lake and fished from shore on the eastern island that is directly south of our campsite. We caught quite a few smallmouth and walleyes. I think pike or two were caught as well.

After fish taco late lunch, we went back across to that island and put the fish carcasses on the rocks. Kids loved watching 3 Bald Eagles eating fish.

I had brought a crayfish trap along. My 6 year old caught 5 without there being any bait in it. I threw one fishhead in it and he was catching 5 to six at a time. He pulled it out of the water every 10 minutes. He would have caught many more if the trap was IN the water more that out, but it kept him busy. Just then the camp manager (AKA the snapping turtle the kids named Bucky) made his first appearance. He was very bold and demanded to be fed. When we did not throw him scraps, he chewed a hole in the crawfish trap and stole the walleye head. Jerk. I paid $8 for that trap. Bucky would come back every few hours to talk with the kids. He stuck his head above water and begged for food as much as my dog does at home. 

When they were not fishing or hiking, the kids had a great time swimming in the bay on the east side of the campsite. 

A guy collecting firewood along shore came by and asked us if we were missing the bottom of a leech bucket. He threw it on shore for us. He found it across the lake and had been stopping at campsites trying to return it to its rightful owner.

So my morning started out HORRIBLE, and now I was back to having everything back again. Canoe (now tied up ashore), paddles, and a leech bucket that was filled with leeches. 

I love this site and I love the people that we met out there that helped us out.

About 6 years ago I was on Seagull at a great site. A guy and his 8 year old daughter saw us packing up and waited offshore so they could stay at my site when we left. I told them to stop sitting off shore and to just come up and unpack while I pack up. I then gave him a tour, showed him our honey hole fishing spot, gave him a spool of Sufix Seige as his lines were all messed up.and gave him the rest of my leeches as I was heading out. I guess if you are nice to people, you get treated the same way 


Day 3 of 4

Monday, August 03, 2015

Weather was a little cooler but kids still spent a lot of time in the water.  We fished a lot on the west side of the peninsula. My 6 year old caught a big smallmouth and was really upset with my rule about not eating large smallmouths. He really thought it was unfair we could not eat his fish. He cried a lot as it swam away. The walleyes made it into another round of fish tacos for lunch. 

Steaks were tasty for dinner.


Day 4 of 4

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

We had planned to meet back at the portage to be picked up at 1030, but got an early start. I occasionally got cellular coverage on Ensign with AT&T.  Thankfully I got through to the outfitter and moved my pick up to 9. 

Kids were so excited to have a nice warm shower and a can of Root Beer.

On car ride back to Ely for the traditional Bucky Burger send off, the 7 kids unanimously voted that we make this trip an annual affair. 


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