BWCA Crocodile Lake? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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12/09/2023 11:55AM  
I'm looking to take my 15 year old daughter on her 1st Boundary Waters trip mid August next year and am looking at Crocodile Lake as a destination. Can anyone give me any information on that lake that's been there, water quality, fishing, campsite recommendations etc. Want to do a fairly easy trip for her 1st time and this looks like it would be a good 1st trip for her. Has anyone ever had an issue getting a campsite since it's only 1 permit per day and only 4 campsites? That's my biggest concern. Thanks for any help!
 
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12/09/2023 05:44PM  
Water quality is fine and there are plenty of fish. Camping is a crap shoot depending on the time of the year because with that EP you can only camp on crocodile. We got the only open site when we went and the group that came in the next day had to go home because all were full. We offered them to stay in our site since we were only on a short trip, but they declined and went (I think) back to a USFS campground. However, I have not heard of this happening to others, so perhaps it was just a fluke on our trip?
12/09/2023 07:18PM  
Lots of small walleye and perch for the pan in that lake, don’t remember ever reading here about someone being stuck without a site. If it does happen you can paddle back to E. Bearskin campground and still enjoy the woods.
12/09/2023 08:56PM  
It's a good walleye lake for sure. The campsite furthest east is the nicest in my opinion, but still not great. I'm not a fan because you the Ep limits you to Crocodile and if the ice sites are taken or all the sites are taken, you're just out of luck.

Lots of other easy trips out there with additional lakes and campsite options if needed.
OMGitsKa
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12/10/2023 11:43AM  
There's better easy trip options out there. I think its a fun day trip option to catch some walleye! Caught a bunch there last August, there's a hump in the middle of the lake just to the north east of the middle campsite (You can see the hump on google maps).
12/10/2023 02:18PM  
OMGitsKa: "There's better easy trip options out there. I think its a fun day trip option to catch some walleye! Caught a bunch there last August, there's a hump in the middle of the lake just to the north east of the middle campsite (You can see the hump on google maps). "


What are some better easy trips?? I would like to keep the portages short and simple, and would like to get some fishing in for sure, planning a 3 night, 4 day trip if possible!
THANKS!!
12/10/2023 09:14PM  
wolf24: "
OMGitsKa: "There's better easy trip options out there. I think its a fun day trip option to catch some walleye! Caught a bunch there last August, there's a hump in the middle of the lake just to the north east of the middle campsite (You can see the hump on google maps). "



What are some better easy trips?? I would like to keep the portages short and simple, and would like to get some fishing in for sure, planning a 3 night, 4 day trip if possible!
THANKS!!"


I took a group of new folks to Larch Lake through Larch creek. Other than the beaver dams it was awesome. Get the island site it’s the best.

If your interested I can give you a lots of intel on that lake for fishing and campsites. If Larch is full Clove Lake is a short portage away. In Larch Lake we caught lots of pike, fair amount of walleyes, and I caught and 20+inch smallie there.
shanemjr
  
12/11/2023 06:08AM  
The fishing on Crocodile Lake is decent, but not exceptional. You may catch some walleye or northern pike, but they are not very large or abundant.
OMGitsKa
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12/11/2023 07:58AM  
wolf24: "
OMGitsKa: "There's better easy trip options out there. I think its a fun day trip option to catch some walleye! Caught a bunch there last August, there's a hump in the middle of the lake just to the north east of the middle campsite (You can see the hump on google maps). "



What are some better easy trips?? I would like to keep the portages short and simple, and would like to get some fishing in for sure, planning a 3 night, 4 day trip if possible!
THANKS!!"


EP 47 is a great first trip! Not large water and you can go further in if you'd like or stop early on. Also South Kawishiwi also is a cool spot that is pretty easy and has great fishing!
grizzlyadams
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12/11/2023 09:02AM  
Isabella Lake is an easy option as well. I've always had great luck fishing and there are a lot of different bays that are all different. Lots of northern and bass. I've stayed twice and both times enjoyed it. Nice wide trail from the parking lot right to the lake. A good number of sites and day trip possibilities out of the both the west and east sides of the lake.
12/11/2023 01:02PM  
I would take a few portages just for the experience. A 15yo would probably enjoy it.
12/11/2023 05:41PM  
I wouldn't necessarily write off Crocodile Lake if you can live with the risks of not finding a campsite. But in reality those same risks can occur anywhere in the BWCA. Even on a lake with 10 or more campsites sometimes they are full and you have to retreat or move on. It has never happened to me but i know it does happen. With Crocodile you can't move on, you have to retreat back to east Bearskin. But if you get a site I think you will enjoy it.

I have been there a couple times and IMO there aren't many lakes where you can get the wild and remote feeling you get at crocodile so close to your entry point. I also think there are better than average chances of wildlife sightings. And the fishing is definitely pretty good.

The first site is unique and doable but not great. If you like swimming this is a good spot. The second site is the best site in my opinion, flat and spacious but lacks a clear view of the water. But there is a large flat rock just out of camp that is a great spot for morning coffee, lounging or fishing. Third site is marginal but could work. Fourth site is about as good as the second but very different, lower to the water and very quiet.

The portage in is not what I would call easy, moderate length but steep uphill for the first 30-40 rods before leveling off somewhat. At the east end of the lake the Crocodile River meanders for a while and is a good daytrip to see some cool scenery and feel very remote.

If you want a spot to get to easily and then just hangout for a couple days, this would be a good lake if you get a campsite. Watch the permits taken for the 3 or 4 days prior to your entry and that should help the likelihood of there being open sites. Have a Plan B just in case but I would say that about most entry pints up there. Usually you don't need to use it.

Trip Report from my first trip up there if you are interested:

Crocodile Lake basecamp
12/11/2023 06:33PM  
Haven't been to Crocodile so I can't comment. But if you are looking for easy entry points, I think 37 (Kawishiwi) or 39 (Baker) would both work. Since you are interested in fishing, Baker would be my preference...but I've only been there once and although I've been through Kawishiwi several times, I've only fished it for a day. Lots of trip reports on both. I sure appreciate it when my daughters want to go to the BWCA. Enjoy planning!
AlexanderSupertramp
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12/12/2023 07:32AM  
I think Seagull deserves mentioning as an alternative. It was my first trip with my dad and we went in the month of August. I can't comment on the fishing because we didn't put any lines in the water until Alpine Lake, but the fishing over there was fantastic. Seagull is a great basecamp lake as well if you didn't want to go into Alpine, so much to explore off that EP either way though.
lundojam
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12/12/2023 07:34AM  
That'd be a good first (or any number) trip. Of course, there are tons of other options. Here's what I think: Go. She'll love it. Give her a lot of "say" in planning. I've got a lot of trips with teenage girls on my resume, and I would advise good, fun, and abundant food; lots of bug spray, and something for you to do while they are sleeping in.
On the drive home, plan your next trip. Longer? Shorter? Keepers? Get-rid-ofs?
12/12/2023 06:57PM  
lundojam: "That'd be a good first (or any number) trip. Of course, there are tons of other options. Here's what I think: Go. She'll love it. Give her a lot of "say" in planning. I've got a lot of trips with teenage girls on my resume, and I would advise good, fun, and abundant food; lots of bug spray, and something for you to do while they are sleeping in.
On the drive home, plan your next trip. Longer? Shorter? Keepers? Get-rid-ofs? "


+1 Definitely make it her trip by including her in the planning and what you do and when etc. during the trip. Really make it her trip. I started taking each of my daughters on daddy/daughter trips one at a time when they were each 5. They are now 18 and 16. Starting with the 1st trip I give them some ideas on a few choices with info about the area and they make the final decision. They decide where we camp, when we fish, when we eat etc. I only override when safety is involved and that has only happened a couple of times. I've used quite a few EP's for those trips because my younger daughter didn't want to go anywhere that her older sister did. LOL. Baker is the only one that she agreed to copy because my older daughter had such. a good trip there seeing moose on 3 different lakes. They both had good fishing on Kelly and Jack.

My 5 year old son gets to do his first bwca trip with me next summer. He decided on South Kawishiwi River because we can visit Bruin Lake. His name is Bruin ;). I did my first solo from that EP and think it will be a great EP for his first trip.

I went to Crocodile with my oldest when she was 11. We camped at the 2nd site that lindylair recommended and the 1st site was open each night. Eater size walleye were easy to find and I agree with lindylair that it has a very wild feel for how close to the bwca border you are. I hope to return some day.

My 2 favorite EP's for tripping with kids are Lizz 47 and Baker 39 because the have. small water, portages aren't bad, good chance to see moose, and decent fishing.

Wherever you go have fun and we can't wait to hear how it goes. Spending one on one time in the BWCA with one of my kids is my absolute favorite.
Northwoodsman
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12/12/2023 08:33PM  
I'll also vote for #47 Lizz & Swamp Lakes. Stay in a bunkhouse at Rockwood the night before. It's an easy paddle across Poplar lake to the first portage. The first portage is easy and puts you into Lizz Lake. It's a 20 minute paddle down Lizz to the next portage to Caribou (easy portage also). You can camp on Caribou or paddle 20 minutes to the next very short and easy portage that puts you on Horseshoe. Several nice campsites on Horseshoe. If you decide to stay on Horseshoe there are several arms to check out or you could continue on to several other lakes or do day trips. This EP gives you many options, and plenty of campsites. I believe the quota is 3 permits per day.
12/15/2023 05:00PM  
Thank you everybody, definitely will check out those other entry points! I've only ever been to Snowbank and through Disappointment, don't want to take her on the big water yet. Thanks for all the suggestions!
 
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