BWCA Any recent info for upcoming trip to Oyster or Dahlgren rivers? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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08/14/2022 01:22AM  
Hi All,

I am planning an early September solo to a new area. Does anyone have recent experience on either the Oyster River or Dahlgren River? How feasible is it to travel in one day these waterways from Oyster Lake to Agnes and then to Stuart Lake? It looks like a half dozen miles paddling and another half dozen portaging which makes for a long day for me, but doable if other conditions are fairly favorable. What are the water levels like? Are there many beaver dam pullovers? Other considerations? I wouldn't be as concerned if it was a June trip but shorter days make me what to know a little more beforehand, if possible.

Thank you for any insights you can provide.
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08/14/2022 10:57AM  
Nothing recent...just past experience. Dahlgren should be straight forward. Use the labeled portages, paddle the rest. Oyster river can be an adventure below the Agnes portage. There can be large and small beaver dams and the river starts to branch into multiple channels. Trick is to pick the channel withe the most moving water and hope is stays deep enough and wide enough to get you down to Nina Moose river. There are usually small beaver dams in the narrow channels that you may shoot across or may have to pull across. If you pick the wrong channel....things may get muddy. It can be an interesting adventure but I think sometimes if you want to save time, take the portage into Agnes. The upper part....Oyster to Agnes portage...should be straight forward. Portage, paddle, Portage. Then haed across Agnes to your Boulder River portage.
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
08/14/2022 06:52PM  
I'm five days out from a solo to the general area that will wrap up before the end of the month; I'm either going to pass through Agnes to LLC, or Agnes to Oyster and on from there. I'm also curious about water levels, so I'll see what sort of up-to-date information I can get for you before you leave.
08/14/2022 07:11PM  
Thank you, CowDoc, for the info. Helps a lot! I'll plan to take the portage rather than play guess a waterway. :)

Enjoy your trip, Noodle! Hope it all goes well for you. Anything you can share when you return is appreciated!

senior member (85)senior membersenior member
08/21/2022 01:24PM  
We traveled from the Rocky Lake end of Oyster into Agnes last Thursday, 8/18. We thought about doing the full Oyster River but chose the portage based on impending weather, previous intel early in the trip and pre-trip intel on the boards here. The prior Saturday coming in from Nina Moose to Agnes, we scouted the Nina Moose River looking for both the Oyster River outlet and the portage toward Ramshead. We could not find either at current water levels and heavy brush levels; both of which seemed typical for mid-August. We will see Ramshead another time.

I'm guessing the Oyster (at Rocky Lake portage)-to-Agnes segment was about 4 hours for us with double portaging. Doubling makes makes the Oyster River to Agnes portage a total 1.5 to 1.8 miles (our maps listed it at 162 rods but it's 188 in other resources). We did find the big portage to be a bit easier than advertised given its L8.5 rating on Voyageur maps. Individual results may vary! I don't recall any beaver dam problems on the short stretch of Oyster between the portages. Water levels were fine for August.

No recent intel on the Dahlgren but the Boulder River also seemed fine heading out of Agnes (we headed to LLC, not toward Stuart). I agree with suggestions that Dahlgren should be fine based on general water levels now; August-like but getting regular rain over the past week and nothing like last year's drought.

Wishing you great and safe trips, YetiJedi and noodle! While I'm at it, thanks for the always good info, Cowdoc. I've appreciated it along the way.

distinguished member(1193)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/21/2022 09:48PM  
FWIW, Moose River from the EP to Nina Moose had the most water I’ve ever seen there as of this morning. We got a lot of rain this week!
distinguished member(3595)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/22/2022 08:27AM  
Hey Wables, if you happen to check back; higher water levels were helpful or high enough to be a hindrance? Pete
member (27)member
08/23/2022 07:26PM  
My wife and I just came out on Saturday morning 8/20. As part of our 10 night trip, in and out from Moose River, we went from Oyster to Agnes to Dahlgren to Stuart one day. No problems at all. The first beaver dam at Dahlgren was out so the water level was low getting in at the portage. Very pretty trip on the Dahlgren. We stayed at the campsite on Stuart near the Dahlgren portage, which was spectacular.

Let me know if you have specific questions and feel free to message me.

member (27)member
08/24/2022 12:08PM  
Pete: when we went in the Moose, we didn't notice any current. On the way out it was significant -- really flowing over the few beaver dams we had to go over. A couple of spots we had to paddle hard to get over recently made dams. But not enough current to really slow you down.
08/24/2022 05:47PM  
Thanks, everyone, for the updates! It has been very helpful. Larry, I'll send you a private message with a few specific questions - glad you had a great trip!
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