BWCA Kawishiwi to Lake One trip advice? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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Steier58
  
05/08/2023 12:11PM  
Hi everyone,
Planning a trip in early June from Kawishiwi to Lake One over seven days. Looking for any advice or suggestions on campsites, fishing spots, etc. Taking my 14 year old son, his friend and his friend's Dad.... all first timers. We were out canoeing yesterday (Chicago area) and we're all getting real excited. Any advice or suggestions would be welcome!
 
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Michwall2
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05/08/2023 01:56PM  
I can get you to Alice Lake:

Day 1 Kawishiwi to Lake Polly. There are lots of great campsites here. An early start and flexibility on this busy lake are key. It will take about 4 hours to reach Lake Polly. Pushing on to Koma or Malberg will take another 1.5-2.5 hours. We have stayed on several campsites - Last time we stayed on the tip of the peninsula. The island sites tend to be up higher off the water with more view.

Day 2 - Lake Polly to River Lake or Amber Lake. The first three portages today get increasingly longer until you reach Koma Lake. Don't pass over this lake without trying for a couple walleye. Malberg Lake portgae has an iconic glacial erratic parked in the middle of stream just before it enters Malberg Lake. If you stop on Malberg Lake, the campsite next to the entrance of the Louse River is a nice one. In the northwest corner of the lake is a campsite with a sand beach. The portage to River Lake had a beaver dam to wade the last time we were through. Lots of mud on the River Lake side, too. The island site as you head south on the River Lake is nice. Otherwise, take the short detour into Amber Lake and stay o the first site on your right as you enter the lake. Again there is a nice sand beach here.

Day 3 Amber Lake to Alice Lake. Today we are going to take a detour to see the pictographs on Fishdance Lake. Instead of immediately taking the right turn and heading toward Alice Lake, continue south past the island and take the short portage around the falls to Fishdance Lake. The pictographs are on the large cliffs on your right. Several panels take you back in time and space. Return to the portages along the Kawishiwi River toward Alice Lake. These are very scenic spots so keep your camera out. If you turn north as you enter Alice Lake you will find several campsites with sand beaches as your front porch. If you are looking for more solitude, head into the long narrow bay and turn right for a little used campsite in this bay.

Have a good trip.
YetiJedi
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05/08/2023 08:14PM  
Michwall2 gave a good start to your proposed route. From Alice, it's a beautiful trip through the river to Insula. There are lots of campsites on Insula and you can check the maps for reviews to find one to your liking. A few years ago I enjoyed fathers day with two of my daughters at site 1322. Lots of room, good views, and excellent fishing nearby.

Depending on your preference for how much you want to travel on your last day, I suggest staying an extra day on Alice and doing some fishing and/or exploring. From site 1322 it is over 17 miles to EP 30. You might find the northern arm of Hudson a nice place to stay but no guarantees on open sites through there.

Enjoy planning...you've got a cool route to work with!
Steier58
  
05/09/2023 11:10AM  
Michwall2 - Great suggestions. Thanks a lot. I didn't even have Amber Lake on my radar, but it looks like a great spot. I was thinking on staying on Malberg Day #2, but Amber might be the way to go. How was the fishing on Amber, Alice or River Lake?
Steier58
  
05/09/2023 11:29AM  
Thanks YediJedi! 1322 & 1323 are on my list! If you were going to set up camp for (2) days on either Alice or Insula, does one stand out over the other?
Steier58
  
05/09/2023 12:22PM  
Coming into Polly from the South, I don't suppose you can bypass Portages #205 & #206 by taking the creek to the west of Kawasachong Lake?
05/09/2023 03:33PM  
Steier58: "Coming into Polly from the South, I don't suppose you can bypass Portages #205 & #206 by taking the creek to the west of Kawasachong Lake? "


The question has been asked a lot. I wouldn't try it after looking on satellite view and paddling up just a short distance (like 300 yards) from Polly. Blowdown, three beaver dams in just that short a section, the last one just above a mini-gorge with no portage through the burn where ankle breaker holes hide in the growth. No one has reported doing it, but one said they went a couple hundred yards from Kawasachong and turned back.

If you try it be sure to post here . . .
YetiJedi
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05/09/2023 08:32PM  
Hi Steier,

A few thoughts on the questions you posed:
1) Amber is a cool lake with a beautiful sandy beach at the campsite. Fishing was slow but caught a couple of smaller northerns. YMMV
2) I've only fished River Lake as we tripped through so I don't have enough to go on.
3) Alice is an excellent fishery. Search this site and you'll find some great tips.
4) If it were me, I would pick Alice over Insula...but not by much. I just think it's a little less busy but Insula might be slightly better fishing. Again, you can't go wrong with either one. My advice...extend your trip and stay two nights on each!
05/10/2023 05:11AM  
Steier58: "Coming into Polly from the South, I don't suppose you can bypass Portages #205 & #206 by taking the creek to the west of Kawasachong Lake? "


DON'T DO IT!! I have done that route before the fire and I could have save a couple hours by just taking the portages. Much of the river was shallow and rocky and required wading the canoe through.
05/10/2023 05:14AM  
Steier58: "Thanks YediJedi! 1322 & 1323 are on my list! If you were going to set up camp for (2) days on either Alice or Insula, does one stand out over the other?"


Alice has more sandy beach campsites than Insula and the fishing can be better....if you can find the reefs. A depth finder will help you with that. Alice also is more open and I have been windbound when I wanted to be fishing. There are some campsites on Insula that are a bit off the beaten path. I like those.
05/10/2023 09:54AM  
Steier58: "Coming into Polly from the South, I don't suppose you can bypass Portages #205 & #206 by taking the creek to the west of Kawasachong Lake? "

If you try this, your trip to Polly will likely take days instead of hours. Stick to the portages. Portages 214 and 215 out of Square, however, may be avoidable. I went through there two years ago and just paddles right on through, except for a couple beaver dams. I remember seeing a group hauling their heavy gear over the hill on 214 and I just paddled around it - maybe took 1-2 minutes max.

The site on Amber is lovely, but I don't think that lake is much for fishing and forget about fishing from shore - the beach is beautiful but its too shallow to fish. There is a main game trail that runs right behind that campsite. You can see where moose cross the channel you paddled in, come right behind camp then out onto the beach and head off toward the woods just east of camp. I always see sign there, and once had a moose come into camp and sniff my tent right at dawn.

Trip Report Skip to the second half - I did that route the other way.
05/10/2023 01:36PM  
Couple additional thoughts... If you happen to want to spend time on smaller waters, campsite #1967 on Beaver Lake (North of River) is a really nice spot. Fairly secluded
for the area, and there's a good ledge to jump off of on the west point. Slopes very steeply to the water then drops into the abyss almost backwards into the shoreline about 3-4 feet down. Pretty creepy with goggles on.

Second is that I prefer Insula over Alice for about anything. To be clear, I don't use a depth finder so I have no idea where the reefs on Alice are, and that might significantly change things for walleye fishing. Insula is easier from a "sight" fishing perspective as you can see much more of what the likely structure is based on the shoreline. More coves/peninsulas than Alice to help out with no electronics.

Campsite 1341 is one of my favorites with an honorable mention to Williamson Island (heavily used though). Speaking of Insula, if you plan on stopping for a couple days, e-mail me direct and I'll share a favorite fishing spot... few years out of date, but hopefully it still works...
05/10/2023 03:13PM  
Jaywalker's right about the portages on the river - don't portage until you look around the corner. There might be a small beaver dam pullover and as far as I know the massive beaver before Kawasachong is still there.
05/11/2023 12:37PM  
boonie: "Jaywalker's right about the portages on the river - don't portage until you look around the corner. There might be a small beaver dam pullover and as far as I know the massive beaver before Kawasachong is still there. "


I think that colossal beaver dam will still be there long after the pyramids of Egypt have worn down and withered away.
Michwall2
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05/11/2023 08:31PM  
Steier58: "Michwall2 - Great suggestions. Thanks a lot. I didn't even have Amber Lake on my radar, but it looks like a great spot. I was thinking on staying on Malberg Day #2, but Amber might be the way to go. How was the fishing on Amber, Alice or River Lake?
"


Malberg is a great lake but you have to paddles a lllloooonnnnggg way on this lake to get anywhere. There are so many bays and long narrow waterways. It doesn't make any sense to me for you to paddle into the western most bay (toward the portage you need) and then have to turn around and paddle the mile or two (or three) back east to find an open campsite. There are very nice campsites in the River Lake (really the Kawishiwi River) or on Amber Lake

I have only ever fished below the falls on the way to Fishdance Lake. Picked up a small smb. I have an old set of maps that another person marked up for me many years ago for fishing along this route into Alice Lake. It was a commercial guide that many of you would recognize. It is probably too late for him to do this for you this year. Most likely heading out very soon on his first trip of the season.

We paddled into Amber Lake a couple years back to look at the campsite and beach. Thought it looked like a nice spot. Open enough to let the wind in to keep the bugs off people.

Hope you have a nice trip.
 
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