BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 25 2020
Number of Permits per Day: 9
Elevation: 1653 feet
Kawishiwi Lake - 37
Kawishiwi Lake to Beaver loop
July 08, 2006
Kawishiwi Lake (37)
Number of Days:
Saturday started much earlier for my wife and I then the other couple in our group. We had to drop our children off for the week before heading over to our friends house and departing for the northwoods. We left the cities at 8am with everything packed in the rear of the Trailblazer. We were 2 couples and 1 small dog, Kida. We reached Ely by noon and drove to Red Rock so that our friends could buy their first canoe, a SR Quetico 17. After lots of testing and research this was the canoe of choice for them and soon to be for us. We loaded the boat and headed back to Ely for lunch, a few small purchases, bait, licenses and our permit.
Then we hopped on Hwy 1 and headed towards our entry point of Kawishiwi Lake. After getting directions from several people on some backroads to take to shorten our drive to Kawishiwi we forged ahead from blacktop to gravel to narrow logging roads. Our goal was to get one of the five free sites at the entry point and still have time to pick up our canoe at Sawbill Outfitters before they closed.
We arrived at the EP by 6pm and snagged the last of the free sites. We unloaded the gear, the new canoe and left the girls to set up camp while we went to pick up the rental. Another hour of driving and we had everything we would need for a week in the BWCA.....or so we thought. After returning with our SR Q17 rental we were informed that we had left behind a few pieces of our food and would have to shuffle some meals around and ration a few things. No big deal. It wasn't worth driving another hour back to the outfitters to buy some food. We went to bed to a beautiful sunset. We were awoken during the night to a very fierce t-storm, but all was well in the morning.
We awoke early to get a jump on the days paddling. While at the outfitters the night before we discovered that a group of 9 boy scouts would be following us on our trip. I had been here once before with my own boy scout troop, but we were hoping for solitude and were ready to make strides to find it.
We put in at 7:30am and started our trip. Becky and I in our boat and Dan and Cortney with Kida in their boat. Kawishiwi was easy. The river was kinda tough and buggy since the water level was down. There were a few lift-overs on beaver dams, but otherwise no problems. A push pole for marshes would've been more helpful than our bent-shaft paddles. The short portages were easy since were single tripping for the first time. What a relief! Square and Kawasachong were paddled through in no time and we took a break for food before tackling the combo of a 185rod portage and a 95 rodder split by a short 10 minute paddle on Townline. We crossed Polly without incident. I had originally planned to stop here for the night, but we decided to forge on as far as we could. After another 3 portages totaling close to 200 rods and more mud river paddling we reached Koma. By now its was after noon and the wind had switched around and was coming strong outta the NW. This made for a difficult northward paddle across Koma. Rather than try to forge ahead to Malberg (also oriented north-south) we took the western most campsite on the north shore. Very nice campsite with a sand landing and lots of flat rocks along the shoreline. After dinner I did some fishing. We caught lots of smallies including a dandy 19"'r and I caught 2 walleyes. I kept one and released the other. I shoulda kept them both, but oh well. They tasted fantastic roasted over the fire in tinfoil.
Kawishiwi Lake, Square Lake, Kawasachong Lake, Townline Lake, Polly, Lake, Koma Lake
Even with several hours of napping yesterday afternoon, we all slept till almost 9am because of the shade on our site. While we were eating breakfast we spotted the boy scout troop in the distance and realized we needed to hustle if we were gonna beat them to the short portage into Malberg. We loaded the canoes in a hurry and paddled as fast as we could. We only beat them to the portage by a few minutes but that was all we needed. They were loud and rowdy, yelling at each other and came crashing into the portage when we were still unloading our boats. Fortunately we single tripped and were in the water before they even crossed.
Today we paddled from Malberg to the west into the Kawishiwi River and north to Beaver Lake. I had stopped here before on my first trip. We had planned to continue on to Adams Lake but after eating lunch on the amazing campsite, we decided to stay on Beaver instead. The bugs were pretty bad, but a fire and some bug spray was all that was needed.
We stayed on the eastern campsite. It has a smooth rock landing that slopes to the lake. Great spot to relax and sit in the sun. It also proved to be the best fishing spot on the lake. The site was very shaded by evergreens. It rose to rocky outcroppings 15 feet above the water. We jumped off into the water to keep cool and it was great for picture taking. There was plenty of firewood and most of all quiet. We saw 1 group of 2 canoes around noon and they were heading back out. They were the last people we saw for 2.5 days. In the evening we paddled all over this lake in search of walleyes, but no luck. We caught more smallies than you could shake a stick at. Mostly on leeches, but some on crawlers too. This lake is very deep. Just off shore of our campsite it was 25+ feet deep.
We had a poor sunset for pictures, but the moonrise was amazing. The bugs were not too bad so we stayed up taking pictures.
Malberg Lake, Beaver Lake
We decided to make this a layover day on Beaver and we thought we would day trip to Adams Lake since we heard the fishing was pretty good there. I fished on Beaver early in the morning, but nothing but smallies. At this point it was getting annoying. After eating our usual oatmeal and cocoa we packed for a jaunt to Adams. As we headed down the western arm of Beaver I was trolling a daredevil in deep water when I got the hit of a lifetime. Even with the rod holder turning, it still pulled the boat back. After several minutes of fighting I finally saw a monstrous northern. I couldn't lift the fish over the side of the boat so we headed to shore to I could land the fish. This northern measured 42"!! The biggest of my life. It would weigh appx. 21 lbs. After a few pics I let her. What a fish!
The portage into Adams was very neat. It begins at the base of a cliff over 100' high. You climb uphill then drop backdown and enter Adams. We decided to choose a bay in the SE corner for lunch and fishing. It was very warm this day and gradually got windier. We never got anything going fish wise and most of the leeches died today. We headed back to Beaver late in the afternoon and swam some more from our jumping rock. Took a few more pictures and prepared to move again tomorrow.
Adams Lake, Beaver Lake
Today we packed up slowly and prepared to go to Malberg. It was a short easy trip and we were there before lunchtime. After passing on a nice campsite on the far west end, we decided to camp on the center section fo the lake right next to the 16rod portage on the eastern shore. I was a little worried about camping next to the portage, but it was very lightly used and only a couple canoes passed through over the 2 days. We setup camp to stay for two days. The site has a nice flat rock shoreline and it goes down and wraps around the point. Plenty of shade here and great views of the western sky. We napped and did some fishing. I caught a couple more walleyes and Becky lost a dandy northern. He dove under the boat right as I reached for it. Oh well. We fished right up till sunset. I kept 2 walleyes and 2 large bluegills. They were fantastic.
We went swimming and washed clothes this morning. It was very warm and muggy. My GPS showed it was 80* at 11am. We packed lots of water and some snacks and we set off for a fishing daytrip into the east end of Malberg. Lots off smallmouth and northerns, but no walleyes here. It was difficult since the bait was gone and trolling wasn't working. I had several hits on the buzzbaits I brought, but no hook-ups. The wind really started to pick up and we moved out of one bay into the next. Now it was nearly impossible to troll. The wind was blowing up much faster than I would paddle for trolling. We decided to stop for a snack and some swimming in the NE bay of Malberg. Dan saw some droppings on the latrine trail and wondered "what would make golf all sized droppings like a rabbits?" A suggested a moose maybe.....After swimming we decided to head back into the wind. No sooner had we left the bay when I spotted a small cow moose on the shoreline behind the campsite we were just at. She let us take a few pictures then disappeared into the spruce and fir trees.
Paddling into the wind was very tough but we made great time thanks the SR boats. We flowed right through the waves hardly slowing. Whitecaps and rollers were the order of the day but we did well.
I tried to go out solo to pump water, but that was an act in futility. However hard the wind was blowing (20+ mph or more), thats how fast I drifted away. I paddled as hard as I could but it took everything I had to turn the boat into the wind. I tried 3 times before I was able to beat the wind.
Because of the wind we didn't do any more fishing this night. I tried a bit from shore but had no luck. We played some 4-player cribbage before taking naps. After a early dinner, Dan and Cortney revealed their secret of the trip, they brought a special dessert for today because it was Becky's birthday. We had Mountain House Raspberry Sauce with crunchy chocolate topping. Talk about delicious!! It was so rich and tasty. Happy 28th Becky! I have no idea when we went to bed, but we stayed up for hours watching distant thunderstorms light up the sky with lightning.
It rained overnight and extended into the early morning hours. The thunderstorms that we had stayed up watching started the Cavity Lake fire. There was a light mist when we woke up. Our plan was to paddle to Kawasachong Lake and stay for the night leaving a very easy paddle out to the EP in the morning.
We packed up and shoved off heading south to the portage into Koma. Koma to Polly and then the pair of long portages. By the time we reached Townline Lake between the two long portages I was contemplating paddling all the way to the end and taking out today. Becky and I would save money on our rental, we would get home tonight to see our kids and we would be having a hot greasy meal for the first time in 6 days.
After some discussing and negotiations we decided this would be an ok idea. The wind was picking up and seemed to rotate around to always be in our faces. It switched from SW to NW during the morning hours. This worked out in our favor as by the time we reached Kawishiwi Lake the wind was at our back. We were able to make sails form our rainjackets and use mother nature to push us across the lake. We reached the EP by 2pm. We loaded up the rental and returned that, came back for the girls and loaded the rest of the gear. We headed home down the Sawbill Trl. and down the north shore. We stopped at Culver's in Two Harbors for dinner and made it home by 8pm. It was a long day but we got to see our kids a day early.
Malberg Lake, Koma Lake, Polly, Lake, Townline Lake, Kawasachong Lake, Square Lake, Kawishiwi Lake