BWCA Mudro entry to Sundial Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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member (28)member
02/15/2021 10:45PM  
Planning our August trip and was wondering if anyone did the Beartrap river through Sunday lake route recently. We’re entering at Mudro and will spend first night at Gun, Gill, Thunder area. Then through the river to Sunday Lake. Spend the night there if we get the permit and on to Iron lake on night 3. What’s it like? From trip reports,it sounds like 5-6 hours from Beartrap Lake to Sunday Lake. And another 3 hours to Iron lake if we don’t get a PMA permit for camping. So Iron lake on night 2 or 3. We’re out for 9 night’s so where to after that? Thought is to travel East to the falls along the way. Maybe all the way to Knife.
I want to catch some bigger fish ( last trip was 1 - 5” SMB... total)and awesome photos.
This is my second trip in and the third for my paddle partner

Any thoughts or ideas?
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senior member (95)senior membersenior member
02/16/2021 12:11AM  
I travelled the Beartrap River from Beartrap Lake to Iron in 2018. We were single portaging and did the route in about half of the time you are projecting, maybe less, not including most of an hour that we stopped on Sunday for lunch. The PMA permit for Sunday was already taken; I believe it is one of the most popular. This route is used more than most people think. Even though the portages are not officially maintained, they were not as clogged with underbrush or hard to find as I had expected. Iron is a very popular lake. We planned on taking the first available campsite after we hit Iron, and we did. It was in Saturday or Sunday Bay on Crooked, and it was getting dark out. However we did catch dinner in less than a dozen casts.
distinguished member(699)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/16/2021 09:18AM  
In October last year we went from Thunder to Sunday Lake in 3-4 hours, double portaging and in no hurry. The portages were in excellent shape. If you stay on Sunday the campsite to the NW is far superior to the site on the NE. Did not go on to Iron so can't comment on that, but from what I have been told and researched I would spend a few days on Iron. Some cool items to look at on the NE site.

02/16/2021 09:54AM  
I went from Gull to Sunday and back in September & spent two nights on Sunday. 4 hours getting there because I took the wrong portage out of Beartrap. Sunday back to Gull was about 3 hours taking the correct portage...this was solo and single-portaging.

I wrote a trip report that includes some details of it: ReWormed
John Moore
Guest Paddler
02/16/2021 10:26AM  

I reserved a PMA permit for July. I am planning a 7 day loop out of Mudro and spending one night on Sunday lake.
senior member (73)senior membersenior member
02/16/2021 04:37PM  
We traveled from Beartrap to Sunday last year (trip report forthcoming in the very near future). As others have said, the portages are very easy to locate and the section of the Beartrap just south of Sunday is really fun with a ton of oxbows and beaver dams. It took us 4 hours double portaging.
distinguished member (344)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/17/2021 02:18PM  
The feedback on this area is very intriguing and encouraging. I will be in the Beartrap/Thunder area the week of May 23rd.

IF my trip plans align, I may spend an extra day in the area and day trip up to Sunday Lake, have a little lunch and travel back. IF I can provide any useful information from this, I will certainly do so. Although what has been given is more than sufficient for anyone wanting to poke around in this area.


member (28)member
02/17/2021 07:53PM  
Thanks all, it’s a great help
02/18/2021 09:45AM  
Just to add my two cents: I did this route in 2017 also. As others have mentioned above, it is a shorter route time-wise than what you are projecting. I didn't leave Iron until 11AM and made it to Beartrap by 5PM. I chose to ignore the information that there are about 11 separate portages/linings that one has to negotiate and I just focused on getting through. I think a group led by another member (PortageKeeper?) goes through this area every year or two and keeps the portages open (big thanks to PK!). You'll find the portages easily identifiable and the water levels will determine whether you can line certain rapids or portage them. It's a fun trip and rewarding once you break out onto into a shallow bay just south of Iron!
member (14)member
02/18/2021 12:15PM  
I do not recall the exact amount of time, but I believe my group completed the route from Iron to Thunder in 6 hours. I believe most travel from Beartrack Lake to the Beartrack river via a 220 rod portage between these bodies of water. If you're looking for more adventure, it is possible to follow the stream that feeds Beartrack Lake to the beaver dam area south of the traditional portage to the north. We were not the only ones to have gone this route, there was a well worn path in most locations. As others have mentioned, you are in and out of the canoe a lot on this route, many more times than are indicated on the map.
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
02/18/2021 01:29PM  
Great route. Not recent, but did that in August 2012 and planned on going up the Beartrap last year in October but rerouted after seeing how low water was. We did Mudro to Beartrap in 5-6 hours single portaging. Beartrap is a good walleye lake with great seclusion if you can get the one campsite. Perhaps 3-4 hours to Sunday, portages relatively easy to find and use for a PMA. Believe it was only a couple hours to Iron, then we spent several hours catching fish at the mouth of the Beartrap and in the first bays in Iron. With a 9 day trip, you could spend a couple days in Iron and then do a loop through either Friday Bay or down the Horse River back to Mudro.
member (28)member
02/21/2021 09:48AM  
John Moore: "BonzSF

I reserved a PMA permit for July. I am planning a 7 day loop out of Mudro and spending one night on Sunday lake.

How do you reserve in advance? I read that you have to personally check into the ranger station to get a permit. Also does anyone know if it’s a one day or one week permit?
John Moore
Guest Paddler
02/21/2021 10:29AM  
BonzSF: "John Moore: "BonzSF

I reserved a PMA permit for July. I am planning a 7 day loop out of Mudro and spending one night on Sunday lake.

How do you reserve in advance? I read that you have to personally check into the ranger station to get a permit. Also does anyone know if it’s a one day or one week permit?"

I phoned the Kawishiwi Ranger District (218) 365-760 and was asked to provide my name, phone number, email address, reservation confirmation number, the PMA zone desired, and the overnight dates desired. The representative went over some rules and regulations then said I would receive an email confirmation. Later that same day I received an email confirming that I had a PMA reservation for the zone and dates that I requested.

John Moore
Guest Paddler
02/21/2021 10:55AM  
BonzSF: "John Moore: "BonzSF

I read that you have to personally check into the ranger station to get a permit. Also does anyone know if it’s a one day or one week permit?"

I will receive both my reservation permit and my PMA permit virtually. One day prior to my entry date I can phone the Kawishiwi Ranger Station " my requested permit pickup location" I will be required to take a verbal exam of regulations after which I will receive an email with both my entry permit and my PMA permit. If I am unable to print the permits I can write the permit numbers onto the reservation confirmation I already have and show that or the email on my phone to any official requesting to see my permits.

I do not know how many nights you are allowed to remain in a PMA. I was told only to request the date that I would use. I reserved 2 nights.
member (28)member
05/02/2021 12:26AM  
So a change in the route but still going to the Sundial PMA. We're now planning on up to Horse lake/ Horse River to start/ Then on to Basswood , Crooked, Iron for 6 day of travel, fishing, and layovers (not in that order). Then we have three nights in the Sundial, Zone 5.
I'm thinking that there may be a camping opportunity on the Beartrap about 1/3 of the way to Sunday Lake, There's a set of rapids that drop into a wide pool on the river. Looks like there might be something up in the trees. ( 200 feet from the shore after all) on Google earth. I'm thinking that there may be fish in that pool.
Questions are:
Has anyone ever camped in anyplace else in zone 5 Sundial BESIDES Sunday Lake?
Are there any fish to be caught in the Beartrap River? I'm thinking there has to be Northern Pike
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