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member (7)member
04/30/2022 07:09AM  
Looking for some trip advice. We are a group of seven first timers leaving out of Moose Lake on June 18th. I’ve been doing my research and have a few directions in mind. The main purpose of our trip is fishing with maybe one move in the week.

Any thoughts on a few lakes I should have in mind. We were thinking about the Irma/Thomas lakes area, Kekekabic Lake area or Knife Lake up into the South arm of Knife. Any thoughts on those lakes for camping and fishing?? I know the portages up into knife from moose are rough.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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senior member (100)senior membersenior member
04/30/2022 09:53AM  
IMHO those are long distances for seven first timers. You're only as strong as your weakest link in that group of seven.
Guest poster
Guest Paddler
04/30/2022 10:29AM  
Take a tow from latourells up thru moose.then paddle/portage to knife.grab 1st site on knife u see open 1st afternoon,then next day paddle up into south arm and enjoy!portages are not bad at all.
Guest poster
Guest Paddler
04/30/2022 10:32AM  
With late ice out smally fishing should be wild,with fish just moving up on beds during your stay,great timing this year imho!
04/30/2022 10:53AM  
Welcome, Justin! Sounds like you have several options. I would agree the routes you are considering are fairly long distances but it really depends on your paddling experience. If you are willing to take the tow, Knife would be a great fit. The portages aren't too bad at all, IMHO. The suggestion to then travel to the South Arm of Knife is an excellent idea. Some cool waterfalls, portages, and excellent fishing...especially with the late ice-out this year.

Thomas is another great area and, depending on your paddling experience, could be a long day to get there. Once there, lots of options for fishing, day trips, etc. The smaller lakes can still be fished with some wind and you could venture in several directions at your leisure.

Kekekabic from Moose is a two-day trip for most people to get there. Excellent fishing though! Be warned, if it is windy you won't be on that lake much.

You might even consider staying on the east side of Ensign for a couple of nights. Great fishing and then an option to fish the smaller lakes to the south. You could go up through Vera to Knife and loop out that way if you wanted to.

So many options! Enjoy the planning and have an awesome trip!

distinguished member(4147)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
04/30/2022 03:21PM  
Stay flexible is my comment. Have goals like you do, but have backup plans on the way if the weather or people or whatever it might be doesn't allow you to get all the way to that goal. It'll be a great trip either way, don't make it a death march to get to Lake X.
distinguished member (437)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
04/30/2022 07:09PM  
Thomas would work better with a Snowbank entry permit. Moose Lake to Kekabic Lake is definitely a 2 day trip for most groups. Kekabic is beautiful though. Lots to do on Knife like and the arms of it.

The portages aren’t bad going. Into knife lake the key though is that once you start you have to finish them. Only one pretty poor campsite on Carp lake exists between Birch to Knife. Key is starting them early and getting a campsite on Knife Lake!

Big things I’ll say since everyone in your group hasn’t canoe tripped before is try to stay light. Other big thing is try to keep as few a loose items as possible. It’s best if everything possible is in the portage packs(Grey Whales), and Food in the food pack!

05/01/2022 08:39AM  
You might also consider heading west into Basswood for basecamping/fishing. Your group could portage into BW via Wind, but a tow from LaTourell's is an easier option. Bob could drop you off at Prairie Portage. Take the short portage down into Inlet Bay and paddle the US shoreline into BW. Lots of campsites. Interesting structure (check out the voyageur maps). Some islands to hide behind/fish if the winds pick up and a ton of campsites. Just a thought.
distinguished member(595)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/01/2022 08:54AM  
Ensign is oft overlooked but I have had some of my best walleye fishing in the bdub on Ensign, some nice sites as well.
distinguished member(785)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/01/2022 10:37AM  
nooneuno: "Ensign is oft overlooked but I have had some of my best walleye fishing in the bdub on Ensign, some nice sites as well."

This would be my recommendation as well. It deserves a serious look for your purposes.
05/01/2022 12:08PM  
gravelroad: "
nooneuno: "Ensign is oft overlooked but I have had some of my best walleye fishing in the bdub on Ensign, some nice sites as well."

This would be my recommendation as well. It deserves a serious look for your purposes."

Personally, I'd stay away from Ensign, except for maybe the last night in a pinch. It can get quite crowded and sometimes hard to find a site despite the lake having so least that's been my experience the last couple years.

A tow to the Sucker/Birch portage is something you may want to consider (about $30 pp each way). The portages from there into Knife are fine. It takes about 4 hours to get from the tow drop-off to the put-in on Knife. SAK sites are generally fine and you can usually find an open one. Access to some very nice smaller lakes (e.g. Amoeber, Cherry, Ester, etc) for day trip fishing or the start of a shorter loop. Those smaller lakes have nice campsites, good fishing, and not typically crowded.
distinguished member (437)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/01/2022 01:35PM  
Lots of options. I’d make sure I got as much information on my maps as possible because you can shift plan during the trip based on what you want to do and how things are going. Decide on a base plan. Then have an easier plan, and a let’s travel a little more plan.

I personally like to travel more and go to new areas. That being said I’m set up for that. We usually do one layover day on an 8 day trip. My wife, daughter, and I enjoy that one day and my son endures it. We are all ready to get moving though the next day and get a super early start. That being said some people absolutely love base camping and that is what they do. It’s your first trip so you won’t know. Obviously on trip make it a group decision but that is why it will be important for you to know your options.

Ensign for fishing and base camping would be a good choice. Yes it can get busy and you need to get a campsite early. If you go Ensign for A base camp trip I’d recommend pushing for the east side of the lake. Get an early tow in.

Knife Lake is great with the Isle of Pines and the bacon rock. Thunder Point which is a high lookout! South Arm of Knife with Eddy Falls. Once you are into Knife you technically wouldn’t need to portage again until you exit back out those same portages.

Guest Paddler
05/01/2022 03:23PM  
Thanks everyone for the advice. It is really appreciated!! I forgot to mention a tow is something we were seriously considering (up to the ensign portage). That we we could make it to our destination in one good day. I’m liking the South knife area, looks good for camping and fishing.
05/02/2022 11:04AM  
We have done this trip several times.

Start with a tow on Moose Lake up to Splash Lake and then hop on over to Ensign Lake for 2-3 days of walleye fishing.

About midweek pack up and head towards Disappointment Lake. You could even stop for a night on Ashigan if you want for easy smallmouth bass fishing.

At the end of the trip exit at Snowbank Lake. Just make sure to leave early before the wind kicks up on Snowbank.

This is a easy trip for first timers with really only one day of portaging midweek that isn't to rough. You can be on Disappointment in about 4 to 5 hours from Ensign. And you will get to see Cattyman Falls which are impressive.
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