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BWCAgoer
member (47)member
 
09/07/2021 10:58AM  
Hi all,

I’m a regular 1-2 trip/year guy but have always gone with guys chasing fish far into the BWCA. We are looking to take 2 families that include 2 infants and a 2.5 year old into the BWCA for the first time for 4 days / 3 nights. What are some good entry point lakes (or lakes with 1 easy portage from EP) where we could camp and leisurely explore with bonus decent fishing? Planning to go in the last weekend of September into the first few days of October.

[Moms have both been to BWCA previously :) ]

Thanks for the help!
 
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schweady
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09/07/2021 11:50AM  
You'll have to check on permit availability, but...
West side:
Little Gabbro to Gabbro Lake
Ojibway Lake to North Kawishiwi River
South Farm to Clear Lake
East side:
East Bearskin to Alder Lake, day trip to Johnson Falls
Clearwater Lake, day trip to Johnson Falls
Poplar to Horseshoe Lake (Lizz EP), day trip to falls on Winchell Lake
TuscaroraBorealis
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09/07/2021 12:09PM  
You could do alot worse than Duncan Lake EP #60
cyclones30
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09/07/2021 12:18PM  
Sawbill and/or Alton which is one very easy, short portage away. Medium sized lakes so you can still get away from the EP and people usually but you're never more than an hour or two from the vehicle/outfitter/lodge.

Are you looking to go right away? As in while there's still part of the park closed? Or you're asking with the assumption of a fully open park?

Otherwise, some good ones already mentioned
09/07/2021 02:54PM  
If you take a tow up the the Indian Portage, you'll have one short portage into Birch. Another option is the no-portage paddle into Lake One (it's two portages after that to Lake Two). There is also the Fall Lake EP with an easy portage into Newton. South Hegman also has an 85-rod portage that is flat, if I remember correctly and the lake has some decent campsites on it. Those are just a few options.

If you feel a bit more adventurous, Wood Lake is a more-or-less flat, longish portage from the parking lot and has good campsites and pretty good fishing. I've read that the portage is measured between 195 rods to 222 rods. I've taken it a couple of times and I've never felt like it was that long, but with little ones I'm sure my perceptions would change :) It's a pretty walk though.
salukiguy
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09/07/2021 03:07PM  
I vote for Lake One. Two easy portages to Lake 2 and 3. Nice camp sites and decent fishing on the south side of Lake three and only about an hour and a half to get back to the car. My next choice would be Sawbill to Alton. Alton is a little tougher to fish though.
THEGrandRapids
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09/07/2021 03:40PM  
Slim and Crocodile
mjmkjun
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09/08/2021 04:38AM  
2nd the E Bearskin-Alder w/ the East Bearskin Campground site the night before/after. It's a respectable hike from Canoe Lake to Johnson Falls but it's a wide path and gently rolling. Plus, there are other entry options already mentioned in the vicinity.
A meal at the nearby Trail Center is not to be missed. Even their mustard greens are excellent.
09/08/2021 06:58AM  
HighnDry: "If you take a tow up the the Indian Portage, you'll have one short portage into Birch. Another option is the no-portage paddle into Lake One (it's two portages after that to Lake Two). There is also the Fall Lake EP with an easy portage into Newton. South Hegman also has an 85-rod portage that is flat, if I remember correctly and the lake has some decent campsites on it. Those are just a few options.


If you feel a bit more adventurous, Wood Lake is a more-or-less flat, longish portage from the parking lot and has good campsites and pretty good fishing. I've read that the portage is measured between 195 rods to 222 rods. I've taken it a couple of times and I've never felt like it was that long, but with little ones I'm sure my perceptions would change :) It's a pretty walk though."




Wood lake entry used to be a barely get your vehicle off the road kinda spot. The big parking lot not only shaved a few steps off... but it is a lot nicer unloading vs traffic only a few feet away. It also has some great exploring opportunities up towards Indiana Lake and such. Many good canoeing opportunities with kids. I enjoyed taking my kids to Fourtown Lake one year. It’s campsites are good for kids and many opportunities again for adventure.
BWCAgoer
member (47)member
 
09/08/2021 09:41AM  
Thanks all for the recommendations so far.

@schweady- any insight on fishing in the Kawishiwi river south of the Ojibway lake EP? Are there SMB in that river? How fast is the current (on average)? Thanks!
BWCAgoer
member (47)member
 
09/08/2021 12:31PM  
Also, anyone know how difficult the 200 rod portage is from the EP to Little Gabbro lake?
schweady
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09/08/2021 01:44PM  
BWCAgoer: "Also, anyone know how difficult the 200 rod portage is from the EP to Little Gabbro lake?"
Long, but relatively easy, but long. :-) I tell my wife, "To know how far you've come, count the three hills." Her inevitable reply, "I counted a lot more than three!" It can be rocky and muddy at the end near the lake, but the rest is quite the highway. In low lake levels -- like this year especially -- follow a trail along the shoreline to the left for more decent footing to load.
THEGrandRapids
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09/08/2021 05:52PM  
I can speak from very good experience, as I quadrupled portaged Gabbro entry in and out this spring while my spouse single portaged with our infant and toddler.... its not that bad- try to keep the number of trips across down.... The voyageur map had it longer than the McKenzie if I recall it.
09/08/2021 07:12PM  
I agree with the Poplar to Horse Shoe
scotttimm
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09/09/2021 10:49AM  
One that hasn't been mentioned:
Especially going that late in the season (for availability of campsites), if you have a little $$, you could go to Ensign via Moose Lake with a tow both ways. It has two quick and easy portages. Little work to get in and out if you do the tow, fishing can be great and multiple options for day trips. I took my 3 year old and her slightly older siblings there one year with a group of friends, all loved it.
BWCAgoer
member (47)member
 
09/09/2021 11:40AM  
@ schweady and @THEGrandRapids - thanks for the info on the little gabbro EP portage. I went ahead and booked it! Looking forward to easing our little ones into the BWCA! Now fingers crossed for good weather!
schweady
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09/09/2021 02:21PM  
BWCAgoer: "Thanks all for the recommendations so far.


@schweady- any insight on fishing in the Kawishiwi river south of the Ojibway lake EP? Are there SMB in that river? How fast is the current (on average)? Thanks!"

Sorry I missed this post earlier. The North Kawishiwi River -- south of Ojibway and Triangle Lakes -- has produced consistent walleye, northern, and smallmouth for us. You will not really notice any current until you come to one of the marked rapids. Nice, wide river that seems more like being on a small lake.

I see that you booked Little Gabbro. We love the peninsula sites along Gabbro's northern shore, especially #1710. You will not be disappointed in that fishery, either.
THEGrandRapids
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09/10/2021 10:33AM  
BWCAgoer: "@ schweady and @THEGrandRapids - thanks for the info on the little gabbro EP portage. I went ahead and booked it! Looking forward to easing our little ones into the BWCA! Now fingers crossed for good weather!"

We stayed on island site 1713.... or as we now call it...Fire Ant Island.... I've never seen so many fire ants... ever.... Its manageable... we stayed 3 nights on it with a CCS Lean which is just a shelter with a ground cloth, so we had a routine of killing ants that crawled into our lean... I don't think the kids ever had a bother with them, but I was bit maybe a half a dozen times... Its a great kids site other than that.

If you haven't been in with infants yet, I highly recommend getting a "camping highchair" We have a Ciao! brand and its heavy and awkward to portage, but its the number one item we bring (beside the essentials). Keeps the young ones off the ground and safe, especially if you need adults full hands on deck.... I'd also recommend one piece rainsuits.... Let me know if you have any other questions.
goetzc
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
09/10/2021 11:50AM  
I see you booked already so I’ll throw this out there for others who see this thread later.

Brule Lake is a great first trip if you stay on the eastern half(more islands and less chance of big waves). Lots of bays and good fishing options and the parking lot/entry point is at the waters edge.
09/10/2021 04:00PM  
I will pass on the answer I got when I asked this question a few years ago.

I was told to give Hog Creek a go.

And now I have taken my 7 year old and 2 year on the Hog Creek entry point to Perent Lake for the last two years.

One super short portage and a very easy canoe paddle through a narrow creek opens up to a nice lake with good camp spots.

PM me if you want anymore details.
Hammertime
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09/10/2021 11:25PM  
If you are open to a tow going in at Sag and base camping at red rock would fit the bill
scottiebaldwin
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09/10/2021 11:57PM  
One more vote for Lizz/Swamp (take Lizz) and camp on Horseshoe. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
BWCAgoer
member (47)member
 
09/11/2021 12:23PM  
@THEGrandRapids

Which Ciao chair do you have? Looks like they have a high chair and a booster seat version. Booster looks appealing as it’s half the weight of the full size high chair.

ciao! baby Pug Portable Booster Seat, Safe Feeding Chair with Safety Harness and Carry Bag for Children, Perfect for Kitchen, Dining Room, Restaurants, and More - Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZPDL8KF/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_ZA8ACWHWJ4VER0TGQH2R?psc=1
THEGrandRapids
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09/11/2021 04:56PM  
We have the tall one. We use it car camping and on our deck as well, so wanted it up high. When you are sitting on the ground or low chairs, the child is right at eye level, which is nice for a change. Infants lays on the ground in the bow, bring something so bilge water doesn't creep into their backs. Toddler sits on a bear vault in front of the stern paddler.

For sleeping bags- a winter snowsuit is nice for the infants. Since, I've actually had the boys grandmother make two infant/ toddler sleeping bags. Took an old sleeping bag, cut the bottom 4' feet off to make a toddler bag with pockets on the back to fit the half air matress we have. The top 2 feet of the bag, we flipped 90 degrees to make an infant bag, but its sort of overkill. The first couple times we just brought an extra wool blanket to lay on the ground and he slept in his winter gear. I had read to make sure to check their temp multiple times a night which we do. Kids sleep hot it seems, but exposed hands and nose can get pretty chilly.

When are you going? Coming through Grand Rapids? Could maybe borrow the high chair if you wanted to test it out first.
 
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