BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

September 19 2019

Entry Point 37 - Kawishiwi Lake

Kawishiwi Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Isabella; Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 33 miles. Access is a boat landing at Kawishiwi Lake.

Number of Permits per Day: 9
Elevation: 1653 feet
Latitude: 47.8390
Longitude: -91.1036
Kawishiwi Lake - 37

Husband and wife trip on Malberg.

by schuetpa
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 02, 2015
Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
This was my 5th straight year of going into the BWCA and my wife's 3rd trip. We have done large group trips in the past. We wanted to do a duo trip before our oldest daughter Autumn, almost 3 years old,can come with. We got our permit late due to a crazy summer schedule and had limited entry points to pick from. Even though I was not familiar with the sawbill area we booked the permit and looked forward to a new experience. The trip was unbelievably great. We had good weather, decent fishing, minimal bugs, few people, and made it the entire trip without fighting(Nikki even manned the back of the canoe for the first time and we went in a few circles and random left turns and yet no fighting)

Day 1 of 5

Sunday, August 02, 2015

We had church service at the farm for family reunion. We then dropped the girls of at the lake with my mom and headed off to tofte. We were at Sawtooth outfitter by 6:30pm to grab our permit so we didn't have to waste time in the morning. We then set up camp at Temperance River state park right on lake superior. We had t-bone steak and potatoes for supper over the fire. We had a shower and sat out by the water for the sunset. We went to bed early and were excited to start our adventure.


Day 2 of 5

Monday, August 03, 2015

We left Temperance River campground at 6:30. We stopped at holiday for breakfast and coffee since we did not want to waste time cooking and because we forgot the eggs to make french toast with. We also broke our eggs for in the BWCA so we bought dozen and took 3 eggs and gave the other 9 to the cashier. We had an hour drive to the Kawishiwi Lake and we were on the water at 9ish. The first lake was windy and our canoe was not weighted great with a light front end and we did get spun in the wind onetime. The river was much calmer and we could shift some weight closer to the front. When we got to Square Lake we could see the burn and blow down area. We met a group of 6 guys coming out at the portage going to Polly and a mom, dad, and 9ish year old boy going in, from Michigan. Their goal was Malberg as well. On the portage after square we found raspberries and blueberries which were ripe. We were excited to pick a few for a snack and hoped for some by our site for our pancakes. We had a 0.6 mile and 0.4 mile portages to Polly. There was also a group of 4 happy young girls, maybe 8 years old with 4 dads in there 30s coming out. When portaging we saw a group of 3 canoes behind us which seemed to be pushing for Malberg. We kicked it down a bit across Polly and continued to single portage everything to keep in front of the other groups. We ate a quick egg salad sandwich on koma and trails mix. I chipped my tooth on a carmel in our mix. We got to Malberg and sites didn't seem like they would be a problem sites 1054, 1055, and 1056 were all open. The narrows (1053) was taken by a couple of guys. They were leaving tomorrow but they did say the group on the sand site (1051) left this morning and they thought it was still open. We headed there and made camp at one hell of a nice site (5stars). Not great fishing but great sand beach cooking area and spot for 4 tents. We set up camp in a hurry with feeling a few sprinkles. We ate a snack and collected firewood. At 5ish we decided to lay down for an hour nap. We had pizzas over the fire for supper. Nikki dropped one pizza in the fire. We decided to go and get water and troll for a bit. We saw a 1 year old black bear by the water in the narrows right when I hooked the first walleye. We went to the deeper narrows to see depth and talked to a group who pulled in at 3ish. On the way back Nikki had a nice bite but missed it and I had a little northern. We went back to camp had a fire and read a bit and fished from shore with no luck. Temp was low 60s with wind 10 to 15 mph from the north, gusts at times 20mph. It was cloudy with a few times some blue sky peaking out. Sunset was cloudy but still nice. We had a great day with no fighting.


Day 3 of 5

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

During the night it started to rain and we woke up to close the vestibule. I had a bad Charlie horse and scared Nikki she thought I was bear. We had eggs bacon and sausage for breakfast and I had coffee and Nikki had a terrible cappuccino drink (should have tried the new thing before we carried it and packed the rest out. We prepped the canoe to leave with a day pack. but did not make it much more then a few hundred yards from camp and it started to downpour. We went back to camp cause Nikki thought we forgot to close the tent up. We hid in the tent and played a game of hit the trail until the rain stopped. We decided not to do the pictographs on Fishdance because of the late start and fished the river loop instead. We saw a few bald eagles on Malberg they were right on shore. On the short portages I dropped the canoe on my head, because the back end got caught on a cut of tree stump. Not far into the river I had a 14in walleye which was extremely dark and gold. A bit later I had a nice small mouth. I switched Nikki to gold and orange since I was doing well with those colors. We both stated tho catch fish. At the portage by the rapids we could catch little smallies and walleyes. I did have a decent northern as well. We caught a few on the top of the rapids as well but took off to a camp for lunch. We had summer sausage ham and carrot wrap. We trolled the whole loop and caught little slimmers and eyes. We did see one canoe in the morning one at lunch and two at the east postage of the river. We did the portage back to Malberg and Nikki collected some nice dry firewood from a down pine. We fished out of the bay and I caught a very big sunny, 10+ inches. We planned on eating a walleye for supper if we caught one. We did catch a few but nothing of size. We also had a few slimmers. We saw a beaver, loons, and ducks in the narrows.  On the way back to camp we noticed the fishing site taken by a different group the narrows taken by new group and the north site by us taken by two canoes and a kayak. We at roasted hotdogs on the fire and Mac and cheese for supper. For dessert we had cooked apples, Yum. We split fire wood and had nice fire and played 500 rummy during the cloudy sunset.  The skies did start to clear when it got darker. Temp was low 60s with 5-10 mph wind out of the north. Night was mid 40's.


Day 4 of 5

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What a great day! I woke up first like usual and was super excited for the clear cold night. The warm water heated the air just above it and it rose into the cold air causing the entire area to be a dense fog. I could not see more the 10 yard into the lake. I took pictures and even hopped in and canoed a bit. The lake was 100% glass not a breeze as all. I fished for a bit waiting for Nikki to wake. Nikki foraged for a few blueberries and we had very good blueberry pancakes for breakfast with packed in syrup (I would do this again).  We saw two large woodpeckers and they had a blue color to them. We cleaned up a bit and hit the water looking for lunch. Our plan was to head back to the rapids to try and catch walleyes for lunch. We also wanted to go back to the site we had lunch at since we left a roll of toilet paper there. Nikki manned the back of the canoe and we did some crazy circles and put on a bit extra distance. It was a struggle but I think she gained appreciation for the person in the back. We did switch after the narrows. We trolled to the portage and I got snagged so we went back to get my hook and had a 5 lb northern grab my lure as it sat next to the boat. I figured 8 a few time and watched it miss 2 more times. I had another follow in the bay which I missed as well. We trolled to the rapids with only one bite. On my 2nd cast into the rapids I had another very nice smallie. Not thinking I released it out of habit and said bye to lunch. We felt jinxed then and did not get another fish for some time. I gave up and single canoed to the campsite while Nikki fished. The tp was under the bench hard to see easy to forget. I met up with nik to find she missed 2 but nothing to eat yet. We walked to the top and fished and caught a few nice fish and Nikki caught her first really nice smallie. They sure are fun to catch cause they fight like crazy. We took off for camp so we could make a late lunch of fish and soup. I did catch another really nice small mouth as well on the way back. We met a nice older couple from Virginia at the west part of malberg at a site but they wanted to know if the next one was open. We talked for a bit and they were here 30 years ago and back for 8 days. As soon as we left them we meet a group of a single canoe a kayak and a canoe. At the same time we meet two gals and a boy. Both groups were looking for a campsite. According to the first group both north sites by us were filled, The narrows, The fishing site and the river site, as well as the three on the east part. I was shocked since we have seen very few people. We tried to help and explain where a few open sites might be to the two gals and boy. It was not a great soup day but regardless it was very good and the 2 fish hit the spot. We did fried fish with Crisco since that is how Nikki prefers them. We decided to go for a swim and bathe since it was so hot out. Nikki even said she kinda liked yesterday's weather better. After a bath we laid on the sand beach and napped and read. It was very relaxing and peaceful. Around 6:30 we decided to get moving and see if we could catch two fish for supper. I did catch a 13in walleye in a bay at 7ft of water while I was trying to fix my rod holder. Nik did catch a few small northerns We found a few 8-10 inch walleye we had to release. We started to head home while watching the sun set thinking we would only have one fish. Nikki caught a small smb and while I was helping get the hook out I got another nice smb on my line just sitting in the water. We ended keeping the nice one and let the little guy go. I cleaned fish right away and picked up around camp a bit. We made noodles and fish for supper. After supper we spent the night organizing and cleaning stuff up to get ready for the early busy day tomorrow. The weather was mostly blue skies with white puffy clouds. The was no wind in the morning and about 5 mph in evening. Temp was in the mid to upper 70's. With last night being colder than the first maybe 45. Nikki asked what my favorite meal was far and I said fresh picked blueberry pancakes with syrup. She thought the same. Really all the meals have been great. We planned out meals nicely with not being over stuffed and not being hungry. It is also nice having the weather radio to hear the report each night night. I need to get one (actually purchased one at REI this week). Gear wise we did well. Need to buy a rod sleeve or two so don't have borrow. Fix rod holders so they work better. Rig Vexilar up as depth finder so I don't have borrow. Fish were surprisingly shallow. Caught mostly in 7- 13 ft of water or the rapids which had depth in places bit also only a few ft in places. We did best orange, black, gold, and some white. Leaches where better than crawlers. Jigging a leach workers as well did Lindy rigs. Best rap had a rattle in gold Mepps did work as well. 10:40 now and have an early morning so I better hit the hay.


Day 5 of 5

Thursday, August 06, 2015

We tried to wake up at 5:45 but did not get moving till 6:15ish. We made oatmeal and coffee for breakfast and broke down camp. We missed the 7am goal for hitting the water but were on the move by 7:30. In hindsight we think we left our two wooden spoons at the campsite even after doing a good LNT sweep of camp. The morning was beautiful. There was no wind at all when we left. We stopped at the end of malberg and took a pic at the big rock and foraged for blueberries. Or goal was to fill a small container to bring back for the girls to eat. On the south end of the 127 rod portages we saw fresh moose tracks. We saw a group of two guys and 2 boys heading to Alice on the same portage. The spent The night on The island on Polly. The wind picked up a bit by the time We got on Polly it was 5- 10mph from the south. Nikki was not happy since I told her on the way in we would have the wind on our backs on the way home. We saw a canoe or two on Polly and some sites taken but not really busy. On the portage we meet a group of an older guy wife and two gals in high teans to 20s and son in low 20s. They were going to Polly for a few days and had way too much gear. The boy had to carry both canoes and all people but the mom had to double portage. There packs were very large and maxed out. We picked blueberries and raspberries on the 95 rod portage for about 30 min since they were so bountiful. we met a group of 6 on Townline. The 189 rod portages almost killed us this time. It seemed much harder than the day we went in. We both pushed through and made it. We ate a quick peanut butter tortilla and trails mix and continued on. We caught a group of 3 on kawaschong and the let us pass them at the beaver dam on the river. In the river we meet a group of three canoes the had two young boys and a young girl the kids ran up the big rock. We met another two groups in the channel after a bit as well. By the time We got on kawishiwi the wind was 10mph and gusts at15mph from the south. We we excited to see the landing after fighting the wind. We talked to a group who planned on just staying in the lake. They had a cooler full off beer, large camera equipment, a dog, lawn chairs, etc. We loaded up stopped at sawbill to check it out and stopped at sawtooth to support them since we did not rent gear just picked up the permit. We showered at gooseberry and at a very good burger and mn beer at the Taphouse in Duluth. We stopped at Tobbies in Hinkley like usual to pick up some breakfast treats for us and the girls. The new rolls were just coming out of the ovens so we waited an extra 5min to get some supper fresh ones. We stopped at my mom's to pick up a few things the girls forgot and headed to the farm. By the time We got there the girls were sleeping so we went to bed and decided to deal with our mess in the morning. We had such a great trip and look forward to returning next year and maybe even this winter for a spearing and icefishing trip.

Gear: Wee-no-nah Senca 3 person, granite gear superior one pack with a bear barrel inside of it, portable depth finder with custom transducers canoe attachment (thanks Dean), a SPOT (Dean, brought my phone as my camera this year (worked great I will do this again) I could electronically journal each night and it worked really nice to copy and past into here to make a trip report, a mini power pack to recharge my phone or run the depth finder if needed, everything else was fairly standard light weight to allow us to single portage everything. I love my REI quarter dome 3+ (wedding present) kept us completely dry once again. It has been in some serious rain storms and holds up great.


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