BWCA Moose to South Arm Knife Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Moose to South Arm Knife     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

Billsmafia456
 
01/28/2022 08:10PM  
First time coming out to the BWCA, experienced Adirondack paddler though. Just kind of curious what to expect. I might just be super excited and overthinking this trip.

Also, the permit thing scared me a bit. haha. We plan on leaving from Moose Lake on May 14. Day one, paddle from Moose up into Vera Lake. Day two, Vera to South Arm Knife. Then just day trip from there until it's day five and time to start for home.

Any tips or spots where we should stop? What kind of traffic should I expect trying to camp on Vera?
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
01/28/2022 08:44PM  
Read this post.

Take the tow to sucker/birch and go from there to Knife.
Billsmafia456
 
01/28/2022 09:05PM  
Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country.
01/28/2022 09:17PM  
Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "

Not sure I understand. You will avoid Canada on this route if you pay attention to where you are, however, you will want to make sure you understand the border details, etc. As a general rule you can’t enter Canada without clearing customs or being in possession of an RABC pass (which hasn’t been available since the program was suspended in May 2020. It may change but don’t bet on it).
Gaidin53
distinguished member (331)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2022 10:28PM  
Most people going in from Moose to Knife will go in through Birch and then the few portages in. Only one of those the last one is on the Canadian side but everyone uses the portage on that side and any Canadian coming through use the ones before that on the American side. Shouldn’t be an issue for your buddy.

Ensign to Vera and Vera to Knife are more challenging portages than the other way. Up to you though.

I’d recommend a tow up to The first portage at Sucker Birch. I’d recommend the tow from Moose to Spash if you do go Ensign lake. Vera is a pretty lake I’ve been through twice now.

On Knife lake you should see the Isle of Pines where Dorothy Molter lived the last resident of the BWCA and the Ribbon Bacon Rock. At the turn down to either the South Arm of Knife or the North Arm of Knife is Thunder point. Cool hike up and an awesome view. Paddle into the South Arm of Knife to see Eddy Falls.

Ottertrack lake is a really pretty lake with high vertical Cliff walls down the narrow portion. Kekekabic is amazing as well and I’d highly recommend. Getting to either of those. Depends on how far you end up traveling and moving.





Gaidin53
distinguished member (331)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/28/2022 11:13PM  
The binoculars are just about exactly where the ribbon rock is at the aisle of Pines. This is west end of Knife lake.

billconner
distinguished member(8158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/29/2022 06:57AM  
I'll just add I like the paddle up Moose and avoid tows generally. The long paddle - maybe 2 hours - before any portages is nice. I go there to paddle and camp.
RMinMN
distinguished member (198)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/29/2022 07:26AM  
Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "

You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit.
01/29/2022 07:58AM  
Welcome to BWCA.com. Being super excited and overthinking is welcome here. This site has many useful features. I use and recommend reviewing trip reports for the areas you are considering. I also use the maps feature and review the comments and photos for portages and campsites.
Border portages are treaty protected but even though enforcement dollars are short everywhere, I would stay on the portages. Your buddy will be fine.
I've often posted a favorite 5-day loop starting at Moose. Moose to SAK to Kekekabic to Fraser, to Ima to Moose. The route offers a taste of what the BWCA offers from big water and cliffs to meandering streams and waterfalls. Fraser offers some nice day trips to smaller lakes and a nice resting time and walleye fishing. I usually arrive at the outfitter on Moose in time to work out kinks in my body and make last minute gear adjustments, shower and good night's sleep in a bunkhouse. Making Thunder Point by noon should not be a problem with experienced paddlers and a tow. I dip the paddle just predawn and am at the north end of Newfound Lake by the time the tows are coming by.
The find a campsite by early afternoon is good advice.
cyclones30
distinguished member(3899)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/29/2022 08:15AM  
You can do the border route from Moose to Knife and not deal w/ any Canadian customs or permits or anything extra. We share theirs and they share ours where only one exists. This is true in many spots between BWCA and Quetico long border.

So....if you like to see new things go for your original route in and take the border route along the river out. Or vice versa. The border route has very easy portages as they're well used and very flat. The Vera route is longer and hilly portages. But you'll see less people. Either way, you'll be good and have fun
01/29/2022 08:28AM  
RMinMN: "Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "


You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit."


Yes you can use the portages on border lakes, be they in Canada or the US. Just don’t dawdle.

Below is a link to the CBSA details on fishing in Canadian waters. In short, it says that as long as you don’t make landfall you are ok to fish the Canadian side of the lake.

CBSA Canadian waters

And an article on the Canadian waters fishing that references the above.

Article
01/29/2022 08:30AM  
RMinMN: "Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "


You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit."


Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1447)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/29/2022 04:59PM  
Personally, I am not a fan of getting a tow on Moose unless you are very inexperienced paddlers. It is not a difficult paddle. May usually isn't a huge problem finding a campsite on Vera but it is fishing opener so don't wait too late in the day and always be prepared to travel farther if it is crowded. The portage into Spoon (narrows in Spoon) is a great area to spot moose so travel quietly and keep your eyes open.
LesliesDad
distinguished member (171)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/29/2022 05:40PM  
Going through Vera is the hard way. Along the border route, Americans and Canadians have the right to use each others portages per the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
June 2018 my wife and I (both 68 at the time) paddled back from the South Arm of Knife Lake to the Moose Lake EP #25 in one day (about 17 miles). It was a long day, but not all that hard.
billconner
distinguished member(8158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/30/2022 06:10AM  
Go in one way, return other route. I like traveling and variety as opposed to base camping and fishing, so would probably come through Ensign to Boot, Snowbank, and Flash back to Moose EP.
cyclones30
distinguished member(3899)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/30/2022 08:44AM  
plander: "RMinMN: "Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "



You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit."



Yes you can use the portages on border lakes, be they in Canada or the US. Just don’t dawdle.


Below is a link to the CBSA details on fishing in Canadian waters. In short, it says that as long as you don’t make landfall you are ok to fish the Canadian side of the lake.


CBSA Canadian waters


And an article on the Canadian waters fishing that references the above.


Article "


Right, but you'd still need a fishing license....Q day pass etc. Not worth the effort, especially on Knife. If you don't have all that additional paperwork, you cannot fish over the line. (plenty of examples of people having that issue and getting caught)

You can travel via the treaty mentioned earlier. Not camp, fish, eat lunch, etc.
01/30/2022 10:13AM  
cyclones30: "plander: "RMinMN: "Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "



You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit."




Yes you can use the portages on border lakes, be they in Canada or the US. Just don’t dawdle.



Below is a link to the CBSA details on fishing in Canadian waters. In short, it says that as long as you don’t make landfall you are ok to fish the Canadian side of the lake.



CBSA Canadian waters



And an article on the Canadian waters fishing that references the above.



Article "



Right, but you'd still need a fishing license....Q day pass etc. Not worth the effort, especially on Knife. If you don't have all that additional paperwork, you cannot fish over the line. (plenty of examples of people having that issue and getting caught)


You can travel via the treaty mentioned earlier. Not camp, fish, eat lunch, etc. "


Yes, that’s correct, the Q-day pass and fishing. It’s been discussed on other threads here (search RABC after:2021-12-15 and you will find the threads, also a few links below).

For me, getting the ON fishing license (purchase online w/outdoors card,about $60-very easy to do) and an Ontario Parks seasonal vehicle day-use permit (order online, $75, they mail it to you-very easy to do) is what I will do this year. I've done it a couple times in years past as well (with RABC). At least that way I can fish the Canada side of the border lakes, specifically Crooked to Ottertrack. And if the RABC program is reinstated then I get that as well ($30) and I can day trip into Quetico, portage and fish non-border Q lakes while camping on the US side. Well worth it for under $200, in my opinion.

RABC Permits

Quetico Day Use permit
corvidologist
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
02/05/2022 06:06PM  
RMinMN: "Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "


You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit."


This doesn't really need verifying - it's a very long-standing treaty, and use was upheld even in the middle of COVID restrictions. Just stay on the portage.
corvidologist
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
02/05/2022 06:08PM  
plander: "cyclones30: "plander: "RMinMN: "Billsmafia456: "Well have to check that out. any idea if we can stay out of Canada? Its probably not a big deal but my canoe partner got a DWI 10 years ago, Canada says he's not allowed in the country. "




You'll have to check into the rules to be sure but there is a treaty provision with Canada that allows you to use a portage on the Canadian side without needing a special permit or to report to customs. Verify this before you commit."




Yes you can use the portages on border lakes, be they in Canada or the US. Just don’t dawdle.



Below is a link to the CBSA details on fishing in Canadian waters. In short, it says that as long as you don’t make landfall you are ok to fish the Canadian side of the lake.



CBSA Canadian waters



And an article on the Canadian waters fishing that references the above.



Article "




Right, but you'd still need a fishing license....Q day pass etc. Not worth the effort, especially on Knife. If you don't have all that additional paperwork, you cannot fish over the line. (plenty of examples of people having that issue and getting caught)



You can travel via the treaty mentioned earlier. Not camp, fish, eat lunch, etc. "



Yes, that’s correct, the Q-day pass and fishing. It’s been discussed on other threads here (search RABC after:2021-12-15 and you will find the threads, also a few links below).

For me, getting the ON fishing license (purchase online w/outdoors card,about $60-very easy to do) and an Ontario Parks seasonal vehicle day-use permit (order online, $75, they mail it to you-very easy to do) is what I will do this year. I've done it a couple times in years past as well (with RABC). At least that way I can fish the Canada side of the border lakes, specifically Crooked to Ottertrack. And if the RABC program is reinstated then I get that as well ($30) and I can day trip into Quetico, portage and fish non-border Q lakes while camping on the US side. Well worth it for under $200, in my opinion.

RABC Permits


Quetico Day Use permit "


Plander does this cover you only as an individual, or does that daily park pass allow your group in too?
billconner
distinguished member(8158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/05/2022 06:32PM  
It's actually a vehicle permit, and includes everyone in a single vehicle, your canoe in this case.
LesliesDad
distinguished member (171)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/05/2022 07:06PM  
FYI - Here is a photo of one of the Knife River portages looking West (Canada on the right). Note, no border guards. Not even a sign to tell you it's Canada. ;-)

outsidethebox
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2022 05:44AM  
Billsmafia456: "First time coming out to the BWCA, experienced Adirondack paddler though. Just kind of curious what to expect. I might just be super excited and overthinking this trip.

Also, the permit thing scared me a bit. haha. We plan on leaving from Moose Lake on May 14. Day one, paddle from Moose up into Vera Lake. Day two, Vera to South Arm Knife. Then just day trip from there until it's day five and time to start for home.

Any tips or spots where we should stop? What kind of traffic should I expect trying to camp on Vera? "


I support and encourage you to take the route you are suggesting/reporting. The portages may be a bit more difficult but there are some real advantages in this. Vera is very lightly travelled and I would strongly suggest that you take a world-class fishing day trip from there before heading on up to the SAK-feel free to contact me regarding this.

Whether or not you get the tow on Moose depends upon weather conditions, your schedule and your physical fitness.
Speckled
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2022 08:14AM  
We've gone in on Moose multiple times, heading up to Kekekabic or the eastern reaches of Knife. We don't get the tow and have paddled from Moose, through Sucker Birth Carp up into Knife.

Your Canada question has largely been addressed, you can take a portage that happens to be on the Canadian side, but can't camp there without the appropriate permits and paperwork. Also no fishing on the Canada side.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Trip Planning Sponsor:
Seagull Outfitters