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Drodge
member (6)member
 
01/23/2020 02:46PM
Hey, wondering if people had advice on where to go next. My brother and I have been hitting entry point 14 and 16 the last several years, and have pretty much explored all of fisher map 16. We have gone up to Gun, loved Eugene, stayed on Agnes, paddled over to Loon, and played around in Lac la Croix. This year we are kicking around the idea of going through Entry point 19 up Stuart, and playing around on Iron and surrounding lakes. I hear the first portage is a bit brutal, but more so coming back. Just wondering if others had gone this route and what their thoughts were, and if people had alternate ideas for trips. We love this area, but are open to going pretty much anywhere. We both prefer little lakes, rivers, and creeks to big ol' lakes, but really look for that feeling you get when you cross that invisible barrier, and suddenly feel like your finally in it, isolated by the wilderness. We go the first week of May, 6 days/5 nights and are both in good shape. Basically looking for any suggestion for what others find to be their favorite, or if you have done Stuart if you would recommend. I know you cant really have a bad trip, but looking for another great one. Doesn't matter the entry point, Ely, Orr, Grand Marais, we just looking for a new area to explore. Thanks,

Dave
 
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lindylair
distinguished member(2348)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 09:16PM
First week of May? Is this a cross country skiing trip? Many lakes are likely to still be frozen over at this point, depending on the year. We have found the week prior to Memorial Day weekend to be great for weather, bugs, fishing and solitude.

route wise, I have never done the stuart area, sounds wonderful but at my age the challenge is perhaps too much. How about a Kawishiwi entry up to Malberg, several options from there. North and west towards Little Saganaga which will cross the "barrier" you speak of, a pretty remote area. Or west and south to River Lake and alice and through the classic BWCA lakes of Thomas and Fraser, Sagus and Boulder and making your way back through a lightly travelled area to Malberg.

good fishing, remote stretches, sand beach campsites if you like those and are brave;) Great area with more moderate portaging in general with a few challenges for you. Burn area from Kawishiwi north to Polly, interesting to see but then gone.

Just a thought...
cyclones30
distinguished member(2525)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2020 09:53PM
Depending on when the portage clearing crew makes it through, you might be ahead of them going in that early. If so, that would make a long portage, long and with lots of trees and branches down on it potentially
CampSR
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
01/23/2020 10:51PM
We did Stuart in 2017 the first week of June. It is a long first portage, and a decent first day trip to Stuart Lake, but definitely doable and I would say worth it. Stuart is a great lake with really good fishing and not heavily traveled. We did not proceed up to Iron on that trip, but is still on my to-do list. We decided to loop around through Agnes and Nina Moose and exit at EP16 instead of going back out EP19. I would suggest going this route, some of the beaver dams on the river would be a challenge coming back up, and that final portage will be a tough one on exit as well.

Let me know if you have any other specific questions and I'll do my best to provide more detail. Otherwise I recommend it and say go for it!
Drodge22
Guest Paddler
 
01/23/2020 11:14PM
Did you dunno a car at EP 16?
01/23/2020 11:57PM
Drodge: " We both prefer little lakes, rivers, and creeks to big ol' lakes, but really look for that feeling you get when you cross that invisible barrier, and suddenly feel like your finally in it, isolated by the wilderness.
"


I have been researching this entry point as well. The long portage at the beginning has me a little nervous.

This book mentions a five rivers route. You enter Stuart and exit Moose River North. The recommended route takes the Dahlgren river exit from Stuart lake. This will take you past some old growth pines.

Also this trip report from GopherAdventure describes a trip that includes Iron Lake. There is a youtube video to go along with the written report.
CampSR
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
01/24/2020 12:05AM
Drodge22: "Did you dunno a car at EP 16? "

We rented canoes from Chuck at Big Lake Lodge, he was nice enough to follow my buddy up to EP16 to drop our vehicle and give him a ride back to EP19.
01/24/2020 08:59AM
The first portage is long but mostly down hill. I would recommend going for it. Stuart Lake has a few nice sites as well. It will be a long first day, but well worth it.
ManAndDog
member (31)member
 
01/24/2020 09:02AM
The first portage is long but thats the only difficult part about it. It was mostly level and clear when we did in May last year. The portage from Stuart to Fox is much harder than the first 480 rod even though it is only 280. Its doable but difficult so keep that in mind when planning.

We stayed on the only campsite on Rush Lake and that was cool having the whole lake to ourselves. It is a decent campsite too and we caught a bunch of smallies there.
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(520)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2020 09:05AM
Stuart River to Iron, then LLC, Agnes, exit Moose River was my introduction to the BWCA. The portage is long, but just a walk through the woods. The campsite across from the Dahlgren portage was my first, and still probably my favorite. The Dahlgren portage is worth a walk even if you aren't planning to paddle the river. Take plenty of water for day 1 if you don't filter from the river.
Getting to Iron was another tough day, but after that it was a pretty easy route. I had 5 nights, and spent 2 on Stuart, 1 on Iron, and 2 on Agnes. I enjoyed it so much that I bought all my own gear and haven't missed a year canoe tripping since!
Drodge
member (6)member
 
01/24/2020 11:33AM
Ha, no skies this trip if all goes as planned. We've been going up there the first weekend of May the last several years with no significant ice. We get snowed on every year, but hey, this is Minnesnowta, snow is what we do. Its actually pretty nice, we never see anyone, there's no bugs, and we never get too hot. I appreciate the advice, we'll check out some of those other routes and see. Thanks again, I hope your able to get out this year too.

Dave
Drodge
member (6)member
 
01/24/2020 11:44AM
Hmm, thats good to know. I wonder if he would be willing to shuttle if we dont rent from him as we already own everything. I'll check it out, appreciate the feedback
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(520)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/24/2020 12:46PM
Drodge: "Hmm, thats good to know. I wonder if he would be willing to shuttle if we dont rent from him as we already own everything. I'll check it out, appreciate the feedback"

I have also heard of people bringing a cheap bike, parking at Moose River, riding the bike back to Stuart entry, and stashing it in the woods during the trip. If I recall, it wasn't more than a couple miles of gravel road?
GoCobbers95
member (25)member
 
01/24/2020 10:30PM
Stuart EP last years in September was fantastic. Brought two new folks and my wife with many trips under her belt, with and they did great. First portage is long but not grueling. We did a short pause on the way in about halfway with heavy packs but single portaged out with ease.

Do you like rivers? We do, so this route was great. But some folks find them monotonous. Island campsite was overused. We cleaned it up on our way out but didn’t feel great about it still. Went LLC from there and did all the normal LLC stuff including checking out the ranger station which was really really cool.

Great fishing, even in September.

Good luck!
Drodge
member (6)member
 
01/25/2020 08:09AM
gymcoachdon: "Drodge: "Hmm, thats good to know. I wonder if he would be willing to shuttle if we dont rent from him as we already own everything. I'll check it out, appreciate the feedback"


I have also heard of people bringing a cheap bike, parking at Moose River, riding the bike back to Stuart entry, and stashing it in the woods during the trip. If I recall, it wasn't more than a couple miles of gravel road?"


This is a brilliant idea. Maybe we'll do this. Thanks for the tip.
GearGuy
distinguished member (113)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2020 10:03AM
Here read my trip report from June 2019. We went to Iron lake via Stuart River, I go into pretty good detail what the route was like.

https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=trip.report_view&sel_trp_id=5457
mvillasuso
distinguished member (128)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2020 12:46PM
I did the Stuart-LLC-Iron-Fox-Stuart loop with 4 family members of varying physical ability. It was a bit of a challenge, but not particularly difficult.
The initial portage in is beautiful. Fairly level and easy walking. The arduous part is the several pull-overs and short portages ON the Stuart River. It's like, "Only three more short paddles, and three short portages, until the last one, and then we only have one more, and then we're at Stuart Lake!'

It's beautiful, though. And I will go back.
01/26/2020 06:18PM
" If I recall, it wasn't more than a couple miles of gravel road?"


This is a brilliant idea. Maybe we'll do this. Thanks for the tip."


The Beymer book states that Moose River North EP to Stuart River EP is almost 7 miles by road.

Other members of this forum have done the mountain bike shuttle.

I haven't found a good way to find road distances between arbitrary entry points.
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(520)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2020 10:54PM
It was 5 years ago, but thinking back, it probably is more than "a couple" :)
It didn't seem far in the outfitters van after I dropped my vehicle at the Moose River lot. :)
Still, 7 miles on a bike isn't terrible...unless it is pouring down a cold rain or snow...
and you just finished paddling 7 miles in a pouring down, cold rain/snow.

Just checked on google maps, 6.8 miles from parking to parking. I would guess 45 minutes to an hour.
01/29/2020 06:48AM
My wife and I did Stuart to Moose River in June 2018. We dropped our gear at Stuart EP and my wife drove to Moose River EP parking lot, left the truck, and biked back to Stuart EP. It was about 45 minutes on bike and we locked the bike to a tree and retrieved it after the trip. I have a trip report and YouTube video up as well. Stuart is a hard first day getting there but completely worth it. The river is so beautiful and the lake is a gem!! The smaller lakes heading up to Iron are also very peaceful.

YouTube Video

Trip Report Blog
pastorjsackett
distinguished member(962)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/29/2020 09:27AM
I just booked this one for May! Would love to talk to you about it.

jsackett@celebrationlutheranchurch.com

I love this spot. The opener is long but it's secluded, beautiful and and the walleyes bite.
 
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