BWCA Leaving from EP31 Farm Lake - where to go? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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Olsjoh
member (6)member
 
07/08/2019 10:56PM  
Group of six leaving in a few weeks from Farm Lake and I’m looking for advice on best lakes for fishing, portages to avoid, preferred campsites/ lakes. Trip will be 4 days/3 nights.

Of the six in our party, three guys are brand new to the BWCA. All are in decent shape, but our goal isn’t to put on the most miles possible. Ideally, we’d base camp on Clear Lake (any idea how long it takes to paddle from Farm?) and take day trips out from Clear. Is that a good option or are we crazy? Is Clear Lake popular enough to be busy and should we plan alternate base camp lakes?

For fishing, I was thinking about hitting the North Kawishiwi River, but also venturing into Pickerel, Greenstone (tough portage?) and maybe Conchu Lake. Is fishing going to be significantly better on the South Kawishiwi River to the South/ SE of Clear Lake? We’re open to suggestions.

Again, we're very new to this so any input would be much appreciated!
 
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DougD
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/08/2019 11:14PM  
Clear Lake is busy and I have seen it full with no available campsites, you better have some alternate campsites in mind. There is good fishing along the river, just fish in current, but don't count on having all of the rapids to yourself while fishing. I would suggest a day trip to Bald Eagle, fish the rapids between Gabbro and Bald Eagle.

Have fun.
IndyCanoe
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07/09/2019 11:19AM  
We did the same trip last September. I believe it took around 3 hours to get to Clear lake and we are not fast travelers. We stayed on the campsite on the far Northeast side of the lake but all of the sites looked pretty nice. Farm Lake can get pretty choppy I would recommend an early start. We were able to float through both portages on the Kawishiwi River, and only had to take the 176 rod portage into Clear lake.

Day trips out of Clear are pretty easy and its a really nice area to paddle.
TuscaroraBorealis
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07/09/2019 12:21PM  
Here's what we did when we entered at Farm.
07/09/2019 02:57PM  
Educate me here quickly on BWCA trips... don't you decide first where you want to go, and then select an entry point? My trips are mostly Q.
Olsjoh
member (6)member
 
07/09/2019 10:42PM  
bobbernumber3: "Educate me here quickly on BWCA trips... don't you decide first where you want to go, and then select an entry point? My trips are mostly Q."

Yes Bobber, I’m sure that would definitely be the ideal method. Unfortunately we’re fairly new to this, and also trying to juggle work/ vacation schedules, so sometimes I guess you just make do with what is available at the time. Again, any info is much appreciated. We’re not asking for any sacred secrets, just some friendly advice to help new guys have a great time.
07/10/2019 06:14AM  
Olsjoh: "bobbernumber3: "Educate me here quickly on BWCA trips... don't you decide first where you want to go, and then select an entry point? My trips are mostly Q."


Yes Bobber, I’m sure that would definitely be the ideal method. Unfortunately we’re fairly new to this, and also trying to juggle work/ vacation schedules, so sometimes I guess you just make do with what is available at the time. Again, any info is much appreciated. We’re not asking for any sacred secrets, just some friendly advice to help new guys have a great time. "


Figured there was more going on with this situation. Hope you get some info. And have a great trip!
07/10/2019 04:05PM  
Greenstone is definitely a tough portage. It is straight up off the North K and hard to follow one you get to the top. Conchu is probably not worth it, it was formerly a trout only lake but I believe they removed that designation and quit stocking it a few years ago. A spot I haven't been to but that has really intrigued me is just east of Conchu though. As the river turns from east/west to north/south, there are two interconnected bays. They seem pretty deep and off the beaten path.

Another idea would be to jump over to Gabbro and then to Turtle for pike fishing.

The most difficult portage (aside from going to Greenstone) is the 220 rodder along the North K just west of Conchu. Good campsites on Clear and also on the South K just past Clear.

JD
heavylunch
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07/10/2019 04:43PM  
Might as well check out the BWCA this trip. Don't need anything but a free day permit to camp on Greenstone (outside the BWCA). The fishing can be hit or miss on the Kawishiwi in that area. I would just putz around and try different areas.
Olsjoh
member (6)member
 
07/11/2019 10:36PM  
Thanks for all the great info, keep it coming if there is any more out there. Any guess how long it takes to paddle from Clear to Gabbro?
07/12/2019 03:57PM  
I'd say you could be on Lil Gabbro within an hour of leaving your campsite on Clear. From there you'd have around a 4 mile paddle through Gabbro and a bit of Bald Eagle to get to the portage to Turtle.

JD
07/21/2019 07:46PM  
I have a cabin nearby so have been to the area a whole bunch of times.

I know that Clear is popular. I have not stayed there much because I greatly prefer moving water. I generally paddle through and go to the South K. From the entry on Farm (actually the North K by the campsite there) to the Clear portage is maybe an hour, probably less than that. The portage to Clear is deep into that bay, the first one you might suspect is not it.

The South K has many good fishing spots and many good campsites. It too is popular and the campsites do fill up. I think the river is very pretty and the moving water usually makes the fishing much easier to figure out. The area where the river changes from flowing SW to W, with the islands (just a couple miles south of the portage to Clear) is the prettiest area IMO, but you will see other people.

You could loop around the triangle and come back westerly on the North K, or you could head down to Gabbro/Bald Eagle and come back out through Clear. If you were to take the South K and head past the North K toward Lake 1 it is narrower and the most scenic of the entire stretch.
heavylunch
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07/25/2019 09:29AM  
I was just in this area last weekend. The blueberries were looking good but the crowds were there and campsites seemed mostly occupied.

If things aren't looking good on the Kawishiwi or Clear for campsites, you might venture down to Gabbro/Bald Eagle for a campsite. Bald Eagle especially is a fairly attractive lake IMO.

If you do go to Greenstone, be prepared, I was just there and the portage was brutal. Steep, hard to follow if you aren't seasoned, and trees down. It is a nice lake though if you don't mind seeing motor boats and houses.
07/26/2019 03:36PM  
heavylunch: "

If you do go to Greenstone, be prepared, I was just there and the portage was brutal. Steep, hard to follow if you aren't seasoned, and trees down. It is a nice lake though if you don't mind seeing motor boats and houses."


I had to Google Earth it, but you're right, there are a couple of houses with docks on the east end of Greenstone. How in the world do folks get there? The only road I know of is Madden Lake road and I didn't think it was driveable or that it went all the way through to Greenstone.

JD
billconner
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07/26/2019 05:07PM  
By boat.
heavylunch
distinguished member (163)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/29/2019 07:07AM  
I am not really sure. I assume there is a way though....
 
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