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PlatypusMaximus
 
04/09/2021 01:22PM  
I'm planning a 4 night trip for early September (right after labor day). Everyone in the group has quite a bit of canoe camping experience, mostly on rivers, but we are all new to paddling in the BWCA. The tentative plan is to start at Sawbill (I have secured a permit) and make the portage to Cherokee lake, but I'm definitely open to other ideas. Scenery, ideal sites for hammocks and plenty of space to ourselves are the most important things, good fishing is a bonus.
Does anyone have suggestions for a first timer? Are there "must see" places in that area? Any advice or input would be welcome. Thanks!

 
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04/09/2021 01:57PM  
Site 888 on Cherokee is plenty big enough for a group and has good hanging prospects
PlatypusMaximus
 
04/09/2021 02:58PM  
Blatz: "Site 888 on Cherokee is plenty big enough for a group and has good hanging prospects"

Thanks!
04/09/2021 04:46PM  
Cherokee is a wonderful lake with beautiful views, beautiful campsites. Don't get yourself set on one particular site, as they do fill up, even in early September. Stay flexible, and explore any available sites to see if they work for you.

Have a wonderful trip! I envy you!

JATFOMike
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04/09/2021 05:19PM  
A day trip to Frost lake.....
Northwoodsman
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04/09/2021 06:27PM  
Good choice for a Sept. trip. It will take you 5-6 hours to get to Cherokee. Ask the folks at Sawbill for any advice, they have groups heading that way and returning everyday. The first portage is easy. The 2nd one isn't bad, maybe muddy (swampy) at the beginning. The third portage may be 10 rods or over 100 rods, it depends on the water level and beaver dam. If the water is low, it's a boulder field that is a challenge, but it's flat. The last portage is rather long and has a couple of up and down (hills). Cherokee Creek is a wonderful paddle. This is where advice from Sawbill will help - inquire about beaver dams and which side to cross on. Cherokee Lake is beautiful. Think about coming back through the lakes to the east of Sawbill - Sitka, N. Temperance, S. Temperance, Weird, Jack, Kelly, Burnt, Smoke, Sawbill. You may want to spend a night along this return route, it would be a long tough day to do it in one shot. Very nice scenery though. This trip will make you want to return.
04/09/2021 08:50PM  
never been to Cherokee but heard the fishing can be hit or miss. consider a site on smoke or flame, with day trips to burnt for walleyes. smoke has walleyes too
04/09/2021 10:28PM  
PlatypusMaximus: "I'm planning a 4 night trip for early September (right after labor day). Everyone in the group has quite a bit of canoe camping experience, mostly on rivers, but we are all new to paddling in the BWCA. The tentative plan is to start at Sawbill (I have secured a permit) and make the portage to Cherokee lake, but I'm definitely open to other ideas. Scenery, ideal sites for hammocks and plenty of space to ourselves are the most important things, good fishing is a bonus.
Does anyone have suggestions for a first timer? Are there "must see" places in that area? Any advice or input would be welcome. Thanks!

"

At the time you are going, I would think that could be a nice trip. The final 180 heading into the creek can be real wet in the spring, the last 1/4 of it at least. Times that by 5 (which I did the time I had to triple it) and it can become a little overbearing. I think wet weather, early June, it took us about 8 hours to get to Cherokee.
Michwall2
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04/10/2021 07:20AM  
Cherokee is known for its lake trout and a few northern pike. While water temps are dropping in September, I am not sure it would be enough to bring the lake trout closer to the surface. I like Cc26's idea of Smoke or Burnt for fishing. But if that doesn't feel far enough into the wilderness for you, then consider heading to Grace Lake instead. It would be about the same amount of work (time) to get there and it has a better chance of delivering fishing. Grace has SMB and walleye. If nothing is biting there, head to Phoebe for a day trip. Phoebe is known for its walleye.

Otherwise, people overlook Sawbill Lake as an entry lake, but it has both smb and walleye. Alton Lake has good fishing also. Alton needs to be respected for its size and wind. Beth is a nice small lake with plentiful but smaller smb.

Have a great trip.
mjmkjun
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04/10/2021 11:55AM  
also recommend a day trip/fishing to Frost/Gordon. High wall structure on Gordon on the way to Frost makes it a nice paddle and sandy beach on Frost. Moose sighting(s) possible on Frost.
04/10/2021 01:17PM  
Agree with the Frost Lake suggestion. Lots of leeches in Unload Lake. Lakers in Frost
PlatypusMaximus
 
04/10/2021 02:49PM  
Thanks for all the great suggestions and information! For those who suggested a day trip out to Frost Lake, how difficult is the journey there? I imagine we'll be a bit wiped out from the portage to Cherokee, but I'm now very interested in the trek to Frost to maybe camp for a night. With the location, I can't imagine that lake is very crowded (especially after labor day during the week). Are there any reasons it wouldn't be advisible to make camp at Frost Lake for a night? Anyone have a rough idea of how long it takes to portage and paddle to Frost Lake from Cherokee?
04/10/2021 03:20PM  
From Cherokee to Frost = 4 Miles +/-
04/10/2021 03:35PM  
We are leaving in 27 days. Out of Sawbill, up to Cherokee, Frost River, and beyond for 10 days. I do a lot of photography so I'll post my report and pics of Cherokee when back. I loved my September trip. Once away from the entry points you'll see a lot fewer people.
PlatypusMaximus
 
04/10/2021 03:52PM  
danbogey: "We are leaving in 27 days. Out of Sawbill, up to Cherokee, Frost River, and beyond for 10 days. I do a lot of photography so I'll post my report and pics of Cherokee when back. I loved my September trip. Once away from the entry points you'll see a lot fewer people. "

I'd love to see the photos. 10 days sounds like an amazing journey! I did some car camping at Sawbill last summer, just to get a feel for the area. It was a last minute trip and I could not get a permit to paddle. I noticed how busy things were and how tightly packed in the campsites are (it was even worse at Jay Cook, where I stayed the night before). But I was enamored with the northwoods regardless. It became clear to me I'd have to do a moderately long portage to get away from the crowds. Its good to hear that notion validated. Thanks!
JATFOMike
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04/12/2021 07:21AM  
PlatypusMaximus: "Thanks for all the great suggestions and information! For those who suggested a day trip out to Frost Lake, how difficult is the journey there? I imagine we'll be a bit wiped out from the portage to Cherokee, but I'm now very interested in the trek to Frost to maybe camp for a night. With the location, I can't imagine that lake is very crowded (especially after labor day during the week). Are there any reasons it wouldn't be advisible to make camp at Frost Lake for a night? Anyone have a rough idea of how long it takes to portage and paddle to Frost Lake from Cherokee? "

If your on the South end of Cherokee, no more than a couple hours to Frost.....The final portage into Frost, you can usually paddle thru to the right and you end at a large beaver dam that you then unload down from to Frost.....If memory serves me correctly, there are5 campsites, two on the right(N) as you paddle across the lake, they are smaller, it nice and have some beautiful old growth cedar and pine.....at the last campsite depending on water level, you have a sand beach that extends around the NW? Corner to the other three campsites that are nicely spacedapart, good sized, and sand beach landings......I’ve only been there in September, there is a big swamp behind the 3 beach campsites that the moose like to hang out in, but in the summer, I would assume that the mosquitoes could be quite bad.....?????

Mike
 
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