BWCA Tow up Moose Lake and then west or east? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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agromero
 
01/29/2021 08:27PM  
Looking for suggestions for a late May 2021 trip with 6 nights in the BWCA. I have a permit to enter via Moose Lake.
About 12 years ago I took the Moose Lake tow to Birch Lake and then paddled east to the Knife Lake region. The next year I took the tow up Moose to Back Bay and then proceeded down the Basswood River to the eastern end of Crooked Lake. It has been a long time.

Can folks recommend one over the other? If I go west, I assume that the long Horse portage will help thin the crowds and put me on Wed bay the first night, and then set me up for a base camp in lower Crooked Lake, maybe around Friday or Saturday Bay.

If I go east, there are a lot of options.

It is just my brother and I and we plan to fish more than explore, at least after setting up the first base camp. Thanks!
 
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Wables
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01/29/2021 09:17PM  
Except for the lack of trout, I prefer Crooked over Knife. I’ve never taken the tow to Crooked, only used the Mudro entry. I spent 9 days in the Knife area last June and saw more canoes than mosquitoes. On our way out every campsite on Birch was full. We ended up camping the last night on Sucker just west of the portage. I will say that coming south from Friday Bay can be a crap shoot for campsites south of the mile portage.
01/29/2021 10:24PM  
You can't really go wrong with fishing knife or crooked. So...toss up there I guess. Yes you'll have a much longer portage if you head west. Most people headed that way start at Mudro and if they take the Horse river skip that long portage. So you taking it doesn't necessarily mean solitude once you're on the other side...you're a actually closer to EP22/23

For me, flip a coin
ericinely
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01/30/2021 08:39AM  
The other option to avoid long portages and a long paddle would be to fish Basswood, just north of Washington Island, around U.S. Point and over to Upper Basswood Falls. It will be beyond the motorboat boundary and easily as good or better fishing than Knife and Crooked. Unlike Crooked, you will have the opportunity to chase all four main species, including Lake Trout.

I agree with the others who have responded, If you are going to Crooked, a permit through Mudro would have been much easier and saved you the expense of the tow. Crooked is dynamite for walleye that time of year, especially Wednesday Bay, so I would never discourage anyone from going that route, but being able to target Lakers, too, would point me towards Basswood. Knife is great, but by that time Knife will be packed and you'll have to travel to get away from the crowds.
01/30/2021 09:05AM  
cyclones30: "You can't really go wrong with fishing knife or crooked. So...toss up there I guess. Yes you'll have a much longer portage if you head west. Most people headed that way start at Mudro and if they take the Horse river skip that long portage. So you taking it doesn't necessarily mean solitude once you're on the other side...you're a actually closer to EP22/23


For me, flip a coin "


I agree with this assessment. Mudro to Horse River to Lower Basswood Falls is a popular route for folks looking to get onto Crooked. You may want to look at the Mudro EP 22/23 permits on recreation.gov for the time you are looking to go (I believe 8 permits/day total) just to get a sense of the potential number of canoes/people you may encounter taking this route. Some won’t be heading this way but I’m guessing a good chunk will.
 
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