BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
April 19 2021
Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1230 feet
My son Remy and I, and my friend Keith and his son Charlie put our canoes into Lake one at 9:30 Monday morning after dropping off a car at the Snowbank Lake landing. Lake One can be tricky to navigate. On our way to Lake Two we turned East too early and ended up paddling about a mile out of our way into a dead-end bay before we realized our mistake. We blamed the fact that Lake One was split between Fisher Maps #10 and #4 for our error. If the entire lake had been visible at once on a single map, we would not have made the wrong turn. Once we got back on course we portaged the 30 rods into a pond and then portaged the 40 rods into Lake Two. The weather was nice, and there was a bit of a tail wind out of the West. We stopped for lunch on the shore of Lake Two. After lunch we canoed through the North end of Lake Three and into Lake Four. We stopped for the night at a campsite on the West shore of Lake Four, just North of the channel heading toward Hudson Lake. We had to battle swarms of mosquitoes as we set up the tents. We then had a nice refreshing swim. Because we had brought steaks along for the first night, we didn't go fishing.
On Tuesday morning we had a bacon and eggs breakfast then packed up camp and headed out in our canoes. As we canoed past our campsite, we realized that Remy & I had left our hammocks pitched between trees. We landed again and quickly packed them up. Once again we had beautiful weather. We paddled East and completed 3 short portages before entering Hudson Lake. The 105 rod portage into Lake Insula was exhausting! Lake Insula is a large gorgeous lake broken up by multiple islands and penninsulas. We had lunch at a campsite on a large island just East of Hudson Lake. It felt like we had a tail wind as we were heading East, and then as we turned North it seemed like the wind shifted and was at our backs once again. We navigated Lake Insula flawlessly and camped for the night on the island just West of Williamson Island. After setting up the tents and a refreshing swim, Remy & I got back into the canoe and tried to catch some fish. We had no luck! At 9PM that night, just as we were going to bed, a thunderstorm rolled through. That night I was awakened several times by the loud croaking of bullfrogs from the shallows around our island. What noisy neighbors!
By Wednesday morning the weather had cleared, but the wind was now coming from the Northwest, pretty much in our faces. We paddled to the North end of Lake Insula and tackled the largest portage of our trip. The 180 rod walk to Kiana Lake actually seemed easier than the 105 rod carry into Lake Insula. We headed onward into Thomas Lake where we really started feeling the headwind. We finally made it to the campsite just Northeast of the portage into Thomas Pond in time for lunch. After lunch we proceeded across Thomas Pond and into Thomas Creek after hiking across the famous Kekekabic Trail. We managed to easily run the rapids in Thomas Creek and avoid the 2 short portages. We camped for the night on Hatchet Lake at the northern campsite. It was cool and windy, so we didn't swim. There was lots of threatening weather going by to the North of us, but we stayed dry. After supper we canoed back to Thomas Creek to fish and look for moose. No luck on either count, but we did see a beaver swimmming.
The weather was nice again Thursday morning, but the wind was out of the West which was the direction we were heading. We portaged into Ima Lake and canoed across it. Before portaging into Jordan Lake, we watched a bald eagle sitting in a tree get harrassed repeatedly by a seagull. The narrow channel leading into Jordan Lake is quite beautiful. It is narrow like a river with big rock outcroppings. We paddled across Jordan, Cattyman, Adventure, and Jitterbug Lakes. We found the Eastern campsite on Ahsub Lake taken, so we camped at the Western campsite which had a great place for swimming in front of it. There was a very brave loon in front of the campsite who didn't seem to mind if we got close to it. We tried our luck at fishing, but only caught 1 smallmouth which was too small to eat. Between 5:00 and 7:30 that evening we saw a number of canoes heading across Ahsub Lake from Disappointment Lake to Jitterbug Lake. We weren't sure where they were planning to camp, but it was getting late.
On Friday we awoke again to good weather. We paddled the length of Disappointment Lake and portaged into to Parent Lake and then on to Snowbank Lake. It was July 4th, and as we entered Snowbank Lake the sounfd of firecrackers reminded us we weren't in the wilderness anaymore. After a brief splash war on our way across Snowbank, we made it to the landing and our car was still there. What a great trip!
Lake One to Insula
June 17, 2005
Number of Days:
Our group included my brother Scott and his son Derek, my brother Steve and his son Alex, my neighbor Paul and his son Danny, myself and my son Sam.
Left Milwaukee @ 6:10 AM. Arrived in Ely about 2:30, which included a gas stop in Eau Claire. Went right to Kawishiwi Lodge to check in and unload. Went back into Ely to shop & eat. Kids all bought T-Shirts. I treated myself to an early Father's Day present at Piragis - a new filet knife (Henry's?). Had a Mexican feast at Cranberry's. Bought leeches and licences and got back to the lodge around 8:00. Loaded up the canoes and got ready for bed. Finally got to sleep around 11:00.
Saturday, June 18th
Awoke @ 5:00, cleaned up the bunkhouse, and left the dock @ 6:00. A beautiful day for paddling. Never got above 80 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, wind not too bad. We finished the 105 Rod portage into Insula about 1:30. Pretty good time I thought considering we had a 9 year old paddling for the first time. The campsite we originally wanted was taken, so we took the next campsite North. We arrived here about 2:45. Had Brats & Hot Dogs for supper.
We all caught about 12 walleyes total - only 2 keepers: Alex a 20", and myself a 16". Both on a leech/floating jig behind a big splitshot.
Nice breeze, so bugs weren't too bad. 45-50 degrees overnight.
Sunday, June 19th - Father's Day
Slept in til about 9:00. Sunny, breezy, 75 degrees. Had fish, oatmeal and some leftover brats for breakfast. Gathered and cut firewood, set up out tarp. Kids went out fishing, about 12:45. I retired to the hammock and started "Paddling with the Cree" - a must read!
Had pork chops for supper & mashed spuds for supper.
Sam & I went out fishing about 6:30. Tried to find a hump with the sonar. Once we did find it, the wind made it tough to fish. We only managed one keeper, on a leech/spinner hookup. I released him when I found out it was the only keeper caught that night.
Had a couple snorts of Blackberry to celebrate Father's Day, and went to bed around 11:00. Again, the bugs were kept at bay due to the wind.
About 2:20, awoke to the "Father's Day Storm". High winds, lots of lightning, lots of rain. It finally let up about 3:30. Our tents held up fine, our tarp ripped a couple of grommets, but other than that all was well.
Monday, June 20th
Cloudy morning, sunny by Noon. Sam and I went to the Kawishiw River, right below the rapids out ol Lake Alice. Arrived there about 11:00. Caught only two Smallmouth, about 10 inches or so. No other remarkable daytime fishing to report. Had Filet Mignon & mashed spuds for supper.
Sam and I fished a different shoreline, only caught one 16 inch walleye. Steve and Alex each caught a 20 inch walleye. Paul & Danny caught about 30 walleyes, with 6 of them being legal size. Scott & Derek stayed cold.
Had a couple more snorts and went to bed around 11:15. Once again, no bugs due to the wind.
Tuesday, June 21st - Full Moon tonight
Woke to another beautiful day - sunny 70-ish, breezy. Had Walleye for breakfast. Went fishing (all did poorly), ate lunch, went swimming, took naps. A pretty lazy day.
Had eggs & slab bacon for supper (bacon was thawed, lot of fish for breakfasts).
Very poor night for fishing - NO keepers by anyone. I dropped Sam off at camp at 9:30 and went back out solo. Should have stayed in camp - not a bite. Bugs got pretty bad; no wind tonight.
Wednesday, June 22nd
Everyone but Scott & Derek awoke @ 5:00 AM to go fishing. A beautiful morning - 60-ish, no wind. Steve & Alex caught 6 walleyes, no keepers. Paul & Danny caught 4 SM Bass & 1 Walleye - no keepers. Danny lost an 18 to 20 SM Bass at the boat. I caught a 22.5 inch, 3.5 pound walleye about 7:00. We all had eggs & fish for breakfast.
Radio says it'll be 80 to 85 today w/ chance of showers. 75 and clear after breakfast.
Paul and I went fishing for Northerns - Paul with a stick bait, me with my fly rod & a big frog popper. Paul got 4 or 5, nothing over 18". I had one hit, bite-off. Was too windy for my average-at-best fly casting. Adults took naps, kids played Texas Hold'em.
Had chili & cheesy flatbread for supper.
Left for fishing around 7:00. Sam and I had lots of action, but no keepers. Action stopped abruptly about 9:15. Derek caught a 16 inch walleye (his 1st keeper this week), Steve & Alex caught three 16 inch walleyes, Paul & Danny caught 5 walleyes, all in the 16 inch range. We all hit the rack by 9:30. Planning on waking up at 5:00 again tomorrow.
Beautiful weather. Last three nights slept with the flaps & vestibules open. I'm falling asleep with a full moon shing in our tent.
Thursday, June 23rd
Woke up to high winds @ 5:00 AM. Crawled back to bed. Finished cleaning up about 9:30. Used up the last propane can as soon as the last filets were cooked. Played Hold'em all morning. Sam won two games, Scott won the 3rd.
About 85 degrees, very windy. Small, biting flies are starting to show up and irritate our ankles. Made campfire pizza for supper (Boboli crust & sauce, pepperoni, Velveeta cheese & spices). Really good, no dishes (wrapped in foil, olive oil on foil to prevent crust from sticking).
Started to cloud up around 7:00. With this and the high winds, we started packing up early. Had everything ready to load into the canoes by 8:30. Listening to WELY, Alvin Packsacker (?), we found out there were tornado warnings. That guy is really a trip to listen to. We finished our adult beverages (just so we didn't have to carry all that extra weight), and went to bed around 11:00. Wind never died down, and it rained for about 5 minutes all night.
Friday, June 24th
Awoke to clouds and high winds, out of the West. Guess with direction we have to travel out today? Broke camp, left at 6:30 sharp. Had a hell of a day paddling; whitecaps on Hudson, Lakes Four, Three and Two. Made it back to Kawishiwi Lodge about 2:30. Not too bad considering the wind.
Got into town (after loading the van & truck & showering) about 4:30. Went to Ely Steakhouse, then for an ice cream. Got back to the lodge about 7:00. Had a couple of beers, and fell asleep about 9:00.
Great weather, despite the storms on both ends.
Average fishing. Got fewer than our last trip up, but bigger fish this time.
Bought way too many leeches. We bought a pound per person. 1/2 pound would be plenty.
Most fish were caught on floating jig/splitshot setup.
Got caught short on propane. Next time, 4 cans per 4 people.