BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
January 31 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1653 feet
Kawishiwi Lake - 37
Kawishiwi Lake to Polly & back
August 11, 2006
Number of Days:
We arrived at Kawishiwi lake at 7:30am and headed out on a beautiful sunny morning. Our ultimate destination is Malberg. The wind was at our back making it easy to get across the lake. The water levels in the creek on the way to Square were manageable for my SR17. The OT Discovery 174 struggled in the creek. Although we had an extra pack and gear in the SR 17, we pulled away from the heavier OT. The small portages were longer then normal, but not a big deal. This is the 4th time we have gone back to at least Polly and decided we would cut back and only do 1 trip at each portage instead of the usual two. We like to have our comforts (camp chairs) and some of us like to be prepared for any and all situations (too many clothes & too much food). After borrowing some Duluth packs, we realized that we could make it in 1 trip and cut an hour off of our normal trip time. I don't think we cut back on gear, just the # of packs. These beasts (packs) were very heavy and quickly took their toll on my 2 brothers who had to portage them. I think my SR 17 and smaller Duluth Pack were lighter than the 2 packs they had to carry. I'm not so sure about the OT canoe as it weighs a ton. We made it to Polly in a little over 3 hours, a record time for us.
As we headed across Polly, we decided that if one of the two island campsites were open, we would stay on Polly and day trip back to Malberg. This would end our portaging and get us fishing that much sooner. This is one of the only weekends all 4 of us get to go fishing and we all want to maximize that time. Both island campsites were open so we made camp on the western island. We had been eyeing this campsite for several years because of the good smallie fishing from its shore. It was too good to pass up, so we used this as an excuse to stay on Polly.
By 1:00pm we were enjoying a beautiful day of fishing on Polly. The walleye's and smallies were biting and we enjoyed a nice walleye dinner. The evening was spent relaxing around the campfire planning the next days fishing trip to Malberg. It was an excellent way to start the trip.
Another beautiful morning to start the day. After breakfast we loaded up the canoes with our fishing gear and made our way to Malberg. After a few small portages, one medium portage and some creek paddling, we entered Koma. We fished our way across Koma catching several smallies, northern and walleyes. We released these fish and continued to Malberg. Fishing was slower than the previous day, but the fish were much bigger in size. Several large Northerns were caught and released as well as several large Smallies. We only caught 1 walleye, but the size of the other fish made up for it. I broke my line on a large northern right at the boat. It was fun! The wind started to pick up from the south giving Malberg some whitecaps and a head wind to paddle into on our return trip to Polly.
After several hours of fishing and exploring, we decided to make our way back to Polly into the strong wind and see if we could catch some dinner. After taking the 127 rod portage from Koma to an unnamed pond, we were rewarded with a large bull moose sitting in the middle of the pond having a snack. It was a beautiful site. He just sat there and ate while we watched him for almost 30 minutes. Very cool and the highlight of our trip! We realized he might be there a while and we had to continue moving on if we wanted to get back to Polly and still have time to catch supper. The problem was that this pond was not very big and he was right in the middle. We were not sure how he would react to us paddling so close to him, but decided to risk it. After quickly moving past him, we were on our way. Hopefully our pictures turn out.
After arriving back at Polly, we managed to catch a few fish for dinner and prepared to enjoy another relaxing night around the campfire. While we were relaxing and going over the days adventures, we watched several groups paddle around the lake looking for a campsite. Probably not the best plan, as most of the campsites were taken and it was almost dark.
2:00am the rain started and it didn't really stop until 10pm Sunday night. There were small breaks through out the day and evening, but mostly rain. Luckily the wind was light making it easy to get around the lake. After breakfast we head out on Polly to see if any fish are biting. The bite started out slow, but soon picked up as the rain picked up. The harder it rained, the more the fish were biting. Even though this was the day with the worst weather, it turned out to be the best day of fishing. We released many more fish than we kept. It didn't matter what we were using, the fish were very active.
A large turtle stopped by camp to check out a couple of the fish we had caught and decided he was hungry (the fish were still tied to the canoe and in the lake). With fish thrashing about the water, we realized something was trying to eat them. As we hurried down to the canoe, the turtle swam off but not before he had taken a good chunk out of one walleye. He later returned to see if there were any left-overs, but he left disappointed.
We were able to get a small campfire going during one of the breaks in rain and it actually lasted for a time. Then the rain returned and eventually got the best of the fire. Even though everything was wet, we had a very good day of fishing.
After a day of rain, we had another beautiful morning. We packed up our wet gear and headed home. We ran into many groups on their way out getting ready to enjoy a beautiful sunny day in the BWCA. Once again we were lucky and had the wind at our backs making the paddling portion very easy. The creek from Square to Kawishiwi was a little more challenging, but very manageable. On the drive home, we saw another moose a few miles down the road from Kawishiwi.
Overall we had an excellent trip. Everyone caught fish and we saw some pretty cool wildlife. Polly was very busy and at times seemed like we had to weave our way around boats as we were fishing. Koma and Malberg were much less busy. I think there was only 1 group camping on Koma and they had just arrived as we left late in the day. There were a couple groups on Malberg, but most of the campsites were open. If you are looking for solitude, I suggest going to Koma or Malberg. If you don't mind seeing people come and go all day, Polly works great as long as you claim your campsite early in the day.