BWCA Flooding what is the real story?? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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IdealTarHeel
member (38)member
 
05/24/2022 09:49AM  
I am headed to Snowbank in two weeks.

How will the flooding affect my trip?

What should I be prepared to face?
 
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Jackfish
Moderator
 
05/24/2022 10:24AM  
Not trying to be snarky here, but what answers are you looking for? Are you going to cancel your trip? Replace the word "flooding" with "mosquitos". Same thing. Just go and enjoy yourself.
walleyejunky
member (49)member
 
05/24/2022 10:44AM  
Snowbank is pretty isolated and is about as much of a "stand alone" lake as there is in the BWCA. You might have a little bit higher water than most years and it may effect campsite selection but my experience is that lake doesn't have a lot of campers compared to other areas so you should be fine.

I'd be more worried about the "WIND" if I was there. But I'm never going back because of it!!!!!!!!!!!
BassmasterP
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
05/24/2022 12:42PM  
"The BWCA is flooded" sounds daunting, and I understand your concern. I've planned many a fishing trip for the Spring here in the Midwest only to be faced with Kentucky Lake 8 feet high or an Ozark stream that is raging, muddy, and unfishable. A trip to these places under those circumstances is indeed a wasted trip and a serious disappointment. But the same doesn't hold true for our beloved Northern parks. From what I gather, late ice-out COULD mean the smallmouth fishing is not yet in its prime or that a handful of campsites might be compromised, but in the end...the walleye, lake trout, and pike should be biting and the vast majority of campsites aren't effected by the higher water. Oh, and portages....well...always take what you hear about portages with several grains of salt. In my experience, portages are seldom as treacherous, muddy, "impassable", etc. as some posters will make them out to be. My favorite depiction is "Knee high Mud". Ha. No one's portaging through knee high mud...that's preposterous.

Anyway... That's the real story, I think. It's a different situation up there right now - but it's not a really bad situation. The water's cold, paddle close to shore. It could get really windy, when could it not? The bugs could be really bad, or not at all. I could have just said what our moderator said, "Go, enjoy yourself." but I'll preface it with a reassuring..."There's some stuff to be aware of, but nothing to be overly concerned about. Go, enjoy yourself" :)
ockycamper
distinguished member(896)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/24/2022 01:55PM  
If the poster was asking should he delay a few weeks. . .that is a legitimate question. "Just go and enjoy yourself" does not answer it.

Is flooding an issue right now? Of course it is . . . just read the posts. Are bugs an issue? if not now they will be soon.

For many (our groups included) "enjoy yourself" means no bugs, no flooding, no people. So we moved to late September.

Many just ask if there is a better time for bugs/flooding/people/fishing, etc. Those of us that have been up there for many years know that in "most" seasons, yes, there is a better time depending on what factors you are looking for.

"just go and enjoy yourself" doesn't answer the question for those truly looking for a BWCA experience with or without one of those factors
IdealTarHeel
member (38)member
 
05/24/2022 02:44PM  
I consider myself to be a very experienced outdoorsman, camping, canoeing, backpacking my entire life. But I also consider myself to be very experienced with Floods. My hometown is on the Mississippi. So, when I hear the word “flood” I want to learn more. I want to know what is going on.

As far as the other things listed this is my thought on each of them:
Wind – scary and respected
Lightning – get off the water
Bugs -- Plan for them, do your best. That’s all you can do.
Wildlife – Protect yourself by not enticing them
Bad Weather -- prepare your best and pray for the rest
Bad Fishing -- too bad, so sad
Floods – Educate and be ready to evacuate --> That is what I am trying to do today



Jackfish
Moderator
 
05/24/2022 02:50PM  
Thanks for the slap, Ocky.... but he wasn't asking if he should delay his trip. He's going in at Snowbank in two weeks and was asking if flooding was going to affect his trip. I'm sorry that you apparently took offense at my comment of "Just go and enjoy yourself", but it's pretty much a matter of fact statement considering his trip is planned. Portages might be a little wetter than normal, but campsites are still on higher ground. Paddle on and enjoy being up there.
ockycamper
distinguished member(896)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/24/2022 02:57PM  
I apologize. I took his post as asking if he should reschedule, which is a legitimate question giving the flooding.
Jackfish
Moderator
 
05/24/2022 03:03PM  
ockycamper: "I apologize. I took his post as asking if he should reschedule, which is a legitimate question giving the flooding."
No worries... all good.
05/24/2022 06:40PM  
BassmasterP: "" My favorite depiction is "Knee high Mud". Ha. No one's portaging through knee high mud...that's preposterous.

"


...pretty close though, LOL!

HayRiverDrifter
distinguished member(840)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/24/2022 08:04PM  
Will you be entering at Snowbank and heading deeper into the BWCA, or camping the entire time on Snowbank?

The BWCA is a huge watershed. There is a lot of water but it is spread out over a large area. It sounds like water levels over the entire area are up several feet which means much more moving water between lakes. If the portages that you will be taking are along a stream between lakes, that portage may be partially flooded.

One concern which you will be familiar with living along the Mississippi is areas of churning water. It will kick the canoe around and knock you off balance and possibly make you capsize. It's a bit different from wind. You will feel it in your butt. The canoe will get squirrely and feel unstable.

Another concern is faster moving water coming into a portage, or leaving a portage. On a normal year, there is very little to be concerned with except large falls like Lower Basswood or Curtain falls. Just use your ears. If you hear lots of water approach or proceed with caution.
Guest Paddler
Guest Paddler
 
05/24/2022 09:03PM  
Just saw this video posted on FB:

https://youtu.be/C4_RsRSkGIQ
Snorty
member (45)member
 
05/25/2022 06:20AM  
Great pic DWG,
OldTripper
distinguished member (207)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/25/2022 07:29AM  
Guest Paddler: "Just saw this video posted on FB:
https://youtu.be/C4_RsRSkGIQ"

Yep, I was going to post this video for the OP as well.
Hard to speculate what this creek crossing will look like in two weeks though. Since other posts had stated that water levels have gone down several inches while they were on their trips I'd guess that this creek crossing would have less water flow in two weeks also.
Facebook link
05/25/2022 08:16AM  
IdealTarHeel, I'm in the same boat. I'm going in on the 13th and doing the same loop as the guy who capsized on the Royal River, except starting on Clearwater. Am I concerned about it and want to know more about the conditions? Yes, for sure. Am I going to let that stop or delay my trip? Not a chance.

I'm thinking that many of the dangerous conditions are going to go away with the ice dams. Not completely, but the water level should drop a bit once all the ice is done melting and the ground thaws. For your trip, I don't think that there should be anything to worry about except for river routes. Moving water is the main concern with flooding.
IdealTarHeel
member (38)member
 
05/25/2022 11:48AM  
Yes we (son and I) are absolutely going, we DO NOT plan on staying on Snowbank.
In my opinion (while, I am not insulting Snowbank) its a good lake to have in the rear view. I couldn't get a permit for Snowbank when I first tried, so I grabbed one for Slim. After which I quickly learned, from other participants of BWCA message board, that Slim and the 3 lakes that you can portage from Slim, are weak at best.

------A SIDE STORY-----
Last year I messed up and grabbed a permit for Snowbank Restricted
(it wasn't until the AWESOME PEOPLE at Piragis told me - the day before put in - of my boneheaded mistake) they helped me and the 5 others I was with, find an alternative. I don't remember exactly but I think our put in was Burntside, and after a few portages one of which was a MASSIVE PORTAGE we set up on Comings Lake.
---- END OF SIDE STORY-----

Anyway I was messing around looking for a different permit and BOOM a Snowbank popped up, there were NO permits for Snowbank the 2 or 3 weeks prior to my getting one that day. I AM ONE HAPPY SON OF A GUN. So now we are all excited about our new Entry Point. I just wanted to confirm that nothing REALLY BAD was going on in the Snowbank lake region of the BWCA.

All that being said, what lake(s) does anyone out there recommend, that is accessible from Snowbank and any number of portages (we truly don't mind portaging) for good fishing. Walley and Northern are my son's dream come true. And that is all this dad cares about!!!!
cburton103
distinguished member (461)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/25/2022 01:56PM  
Tarheel,

Check out Hatchet Lake just west of Thomas if you like walleye. Only two campsites on the lake, so make sure you plan to get there early enough in the day to have time for a plan B if they're both taken. If you get a site though, the walleye fishing is supposed to be pretty good, and most people just paddle through the creek on the way to Thomas and don't spend any time on Hatchet.
BassmasterP
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
05/25/2022 04:40PM  
I hope I didn't offend anybody with my reply, but my opinion stands... Yes, it's flooded, no, it's not so bad that you need to cancel your trip. How it will affect the amount of bugs, fishing, finding a campsite, or portaging is mostly speculation by folks who haven't been up there in the last 3 weeks (myself included). I come from a family of many fishermen, some of which love to cancel trips because of weather forecasts. I've never been in that camp and I've had many a amazing fishing trip while others stayed home thinking it was going to rain, or the lake was too high, or..... whatever.

All that said, I understand that a trip into the BWCA or "the Q" means something different to everyone and so perhaps high water is enough of a reason for some to postpone their trip. For us, we've chosen viewed it as an OPPORTUNITY to experience the park in a different state and we are look forward to mucking through!

Peace to all!

P
05/25/2022 04:42PM  
In a couple weeks the biggest thing might be bugs. Water levels could remain higher then normal. Flooding? I wouldn’t be concerned about a couple weeks from now unless we get a lot of rain in the meantime. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how nice it’ll be. So yeah, go have some fun... enjoy the bugs. Better have a big list if your going to name them all, haha. Twice in forty five years and several trips a year did I find the need for a bug net. But oh was I glad I had it! Just go have a great trip and enjoy... great area! Wind on Snowbank? Get across early... I’ve had better luck camping out on disappointment and going out early the next day if wind is the norm during that time.
Speckled
distinguished member(558)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2022 08:38AM  
I've day tripped a couple times already - no overnight. Here's my read; portages are wet, with some of them having running water down them. Not really an issue if you have proper footwear. Lakes are high, but not any more dangerous, most campsites will be fine and most portages will be fine. Areas that have minimal current or "paddleable" current in a normal year are really strong right now, just take extra precaution, go slow and don't force it. Line the canoe if needed.

Rivers - I've avoided them so far, but I'd say the same applies. Take it slow - don't force it and be very aware of what you're paddling into. The current is stronger than it looks. BW is not flooded - it's just high water.
IdealTarHeel
member (38)member
 
05/26/2022 10:02AM  
NO offense taken on my part

I believe it is always better to tell someone to use caution
walleyejunky
member (49)member
 
05/26/2022 12:45PM  
I know there are some really good lakes in that area. Some require quite a bit of work to get into.

That being said I have had amazing fishing on Disappointment for Walleyes, Northerns, and Smallmouth. In fact, within one hour of each other I caught a 43" Pike, a 20" smallmouth, and a 28" walleye. All my personal BWCA best for each species. I know everyone has their own agenda for a trip but I always talk about it with our group how much GOOD water people paddle over to get to other lakes when traveling thru Disappointment.

I would have to think with the late winter and high water walleyes will be very easy to catch if you concentrate on shallow water with leeches. That would be where I would start.
lindylair
distinguished member(2673)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/28/2022 07:12PM  
Went up on 5/22 and just returned today. Water levels were crazy high on the way up. Stopped by the Cross River and the volume of water and power of that flow was incredible. However water levels have receded a LOT in a week. The Cross River on the way back, while still flowing well was more like high spring normal. Despite receiving an all day rain on Tuesday and more rain today I think most trips will be fine with common sense and vigilance. It's no longer historic flooding, just very high water.
PeaceFrog
distinguished member (324)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/28/2022 10:29PM  
lindylair: "Went up on 5/22 and just returned today. Water levels were crazy high on the way up. Stopped by the Cross River and the volume of water and power of that flow was incredible. However water levels have receded a LOT in a week. The Cross River on the way back, while still flowing well was more like high spring normal. Despite receiving an all day rain on Tuesday and more rain today I think most trips will be fine with common sense and vigilance. It's no longer historic flooding, just very high water."
Thanks for the update
walleyejunky
member (49)member
 
05/30/2022 02:41PM  
Has anyone just returned from Lower Basswood Falls and Wednesday/Thursday Bays area on Crooked. Was just curious how it looked.

Thanks!
Zanzinger
senior member (80)senior membersenior member
 
05/31/2022 08:39AM  
Just got back from a loop from Crane to LIS. Some lakes were extremely flooded while others seemed normal. We saw a few fire grates under three feet of water, others were fine. Navigating was a bit of a challenge at times.
Gadfly
distinguished member (428)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/31/2022 09:09AM  
Jackfish: "Not trying to be snarky here, but what answers are you looking for? Are you going to cancel your trip? Replace the word "flooding" with "mosquitos". Same thing. Just go and enjoy yourself."
Imagine someone asking how they should prepare for possible flooding on the trip planning forum and getting a response from a moderator like this. why even bother having a trip planning forum. Just go and enjoy your self...
Jackfish
Moderator
 
05/31/2022 10:00AM  
You know what, Gadfly... you're right. I probably came off a little TOO snarky in spite of not wanting to sound that way. My apologies to you and others who I may have offended.
ockycamper
distinguished member(896)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/31/2022 10:08AM  
that is basically what I was trying to communicate, although poorly. When someone asks about mosquitos, flooding, people, temps, etc, we have an obligation to share with them the best time to go based on the criteria they are asking about. We don't like bugs or people. We would not enjoy the BWCA at all in the summer or first week of September. We completely enjoy it the last two weeks of September.
 
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