BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
December 09 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1595 feet
Isabella Lake - 35
Daughters First Trip - EP36
June 23, 2020
Number of Days:
I was excited to start this journey with my daughter Mackenzie. I knew that I wanted to get Kenz up to the BWCA while she was young so she could begin to build an appreciation and love of the area but I just wanted to make sure the time was right. I finally felt like at the age of 6 she was ready to go. My Dad, Captn Tony, and I spend the winter looking for a good route that would be easy for a 6 year old to complete. After some research and some great help from fellow members here, we settled on EP36 Hog Creek.
This route seemed unique since it starts as a narrow winding creek out into Perent Lake and it only had a 15 rod portage which is perfect for a first time little person.
On June 23rd, we left central Iowa around noon and made our way north. Our plan was to find a campground around Tofte and then head into the BWCA in the morning since we didn't need to get a permit at the Ranger Station due to Covid19. We ended up staying at a nice, quaint campground called Finland Campground. We got their fairly late so we just got the tent up and went to bed.
We got up early grabbed some Pop-Tarts and also some bait at the local bait shop and head towards Hog Creek.
After an excessively long journey on gravel we finally arrived at EP36. We were encourage by the lack of vehicles in the parking lot with made us hopeful of our choice of camp spots on Perent Lake.
We unloaded the gear and brought it down to the entry point to begin our journey.
Canoeing Hog Creek was a unique experience. It was exactly as other members had described. A very winding, meandering, narrow creek with many beaver dams trying to slow our progress. Although beautiful, I agreed with other members about how I was ready to be exiting the creek sooner than it took to get out. I would say that it took us between one and two hours to exit the creek going with the current. Mackenzie enjoyed trying to paddle with her mini paddle and taking in the scenery. Weather was beautiful
We arrived at Perent Lake mid-morning with a pretty good idea of the campsites we already wanted. We started heading towards the island sites towards the northeast side of the lake. To our surprise none of the camp spots on the east side of the lake were taken! This was going to be a great trip with relatively little presence of other humans! We continued up towards the island as the wind picked up a little but nothing that we felt put us in danger. We went past our first spot we wanted and discovered there was a t-shirt and shoes on the rock on the point. Must be taken......later we discovered that it didn't appear as though anyone was at the spot. They must have left some of their belongings at the camp spot? We meant to pick them up on the way out but forgot upon our exit.
We made it to the second most north east island and chose the camp spot on the corner facing the larger part of the lake. It had a great breeze and great view of the lake not to mention it had really good tent pads. Mackenzie was ready to get out of the canoe at this point and explore. So we got the gear out and started to make camp.
We soon discovered as we set up that there we had entered during the fishermans worst nightmare! a Mayfly hatch! We began to see many mayflys beginning their hatching stage as well as dragonflys transitioning to their adult form. A beautiful sight to see but not the greatest omen for fishing.
While setting up the camp we threw out some slip bobbers and worms/leeches and began to catch some perch with a couple eaters, good sign!
Kenz decided we could take a break from her exploration and do some fishing after lunch. We set out to see how long she could last in a canoe fishing. Right off the bat on the backside of the island, Kenz hits our first walleye on a perch colored Rapala. Nothing like having the newest guest catch the first fish. Boom, right after that I catch a pike! Maybe the Mayfly's will be a non-issue? We continue around our camp using Lindy Rigs and leeches and pick up 4 more walleye in the middle of the day on a drop off from 10 to 16 ft. Wow, things are great now! Kenz is having fun and the boat is catching fish!
We lounge around a bit while Kenz swims and decide it's time to start our first night tradition of making Ribeyes with our corn fed Iowa beef!
I have to admit we were stuffed after supper! We ate way to much, I began to think I was going to get the meat sweats!
It was a slow evening bite so after the mosquito's began to emerge with their blood lust we jumped into the tents and hit the sack. ~Perent Lake
Whoa, it was chilly last night! I clearly didn't bring a thick enough bag but I survived.
Dad and I warm some water and sip on a cup of joe while we watch the slip bobber's go down waiting for Kenz to wake up.
I soon discover that we no longer have any fish on the stringer. A nasty snapper decided it would have itself a large meal but was nice enough to leave the heads for us......
We now needed to go catch some fish after breakfast because that was on the dinner menu for tonight. Hopefully luck was on our side because the Mayfly hatch hit maximum overdrive and the surface of the lake was covered in them.
We decided to fish and explore this afternoon. I had read that there was a creek that fed the lake that had some good fishing so we set out to try and find the spot. We believe it would be the creek on the north/northwest side of the lake.
I decided to drag a 1 ounce weight in front of a perch Rapala as we went across the lake and was rewarded with a nice 18 inch and 15 inch walleye. Supper is back on! As we approached the creek it didn't appear as though it was right one. We weren't sure whether this was the one talked about on this site or not but regardless we decided to fish the area a little big and picked up some nice pike.
The weather started to get warm so Kenz made an executive decision to head back to camp and swim. We picked up a couple more eyes on the way back.
This camp site was prime for swimming. Off the front of the site was a shallow reef that went way out in the lake. Perfect for a little kid to swim. I think this was probably her favorite part of the trip. She is beginning to love the freedom of what the BWCA can provide.
After a great swim and some lounging in the hammocks we made a great supper of fish and mac and cheese.
Fishing was slow in the evening. We started to see the fishing begin to slow. We weren't catching the fish we were when we first arrived. I think the Mayflys were beginning to effect the fishes feedbags.
Our trip concluded on Friday morning. We packed up ate a quick breakfast and headed out. We trolled some cranks along the route back to hog creek and picked up another pike and walleye.
The trip back up Hog Creek was not as entirely enjoyable as it was on the way in. The current wasn't that strong but it definitely would slow you down making the sharp turns around the twisty creek and the beaver dams provided enough friction against the canoe to make you mutter under your breath.
After a couple hours we made it back to the EP. We packed up and headed out grabbing some lunch at Two Harbors and eating at Gichie Gumee.
What a great trip. It was short overall but I think the goal of giving Mackenzie her first trip to the BWCA and have fun was achieved! She wants to bring her mom back next time and wants to swim ALOT MORE she said!
I would highly recommend EP36 for anyone who wants to introduce small children to the BWCA and thanks to anyone that provided me feedback in helping me to decide this was the right EP to take my kid!