BWCA So how goes the planning for John Elk lake? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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07/01/2014 09:42PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Just wondering...
 
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oneportage
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07/01/2014 11:40PM  
This would be a good season to try with the water levels high. I am going up to Kawishiwi river north of Malberg tomorrow but I only have three nights and just want to relax and fish.I own a vegetable farm south of the Twin Cities and with the wet weather I can not take as much time this year. I have wanted to find someone with bushwhacking ability to join us on a journey to John Ek lake. Maybe next year?
fishnfreak
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07/02/2014 07:41PM  
I have ben on a quest for John Elk Lake for over 6 years. I have failed on two full attemps, and Would have made it the last time but didn't have the stuff with me to camp for the night so I headed back.

I would love to do a trip with John Elk in the cross hairs.

Kickshaw lake is on my list as well.
07/03/2014 08:03AM  
I would love to take part in the quest to John Elk lake. Finding time is the hard part.
topperone
senior member (55)senior membersenior member
 
07/03/2014 09:53PM  
I hear no talk of Zaphira in the Q this year yet either....
07/14/2015 06:42PM  
Just heard about this from another thread. Have you tried coming from the north east? Jump Lake to Twinkle to Pointer and then over to John Elk. I would be interested in going to this lake.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
01/04/2021 09:19AM  
Anyone ever make it back to John Ek (Elk?). I have been eyeing it up for awhile now and am in the process of at least putting together a hypothetical plan to get there. Would love to hear reports back from anyone else that has attempted it.
GopherAdventure
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01/04/2021 11:56AM  
bwcajohn: "Anyone ever make it back to John Ek (Elk?). I have been eyeing it up for awhile now and am in the process of at least putting together a hypothetical plan to get there. Would love to hear reports back from anyone else that has attempted it. "

Sadly, I was on my way a few summer’s ago, and turned back for no good reason. I decided the morning of the bushwhack to just go to Makwa and spend the day fishing instead. I still wanted to see if the portage to Kivandeba existed, though. I found the old portage from Pan to Kivandeba and walked it sans canoe. There were some obstructions along the way but I made it. That’s as far as I went, headed north and have regretted it since. I’m planning to go back possibly next fall on another solo trip. I loved the area and have wanted to go back ever since. I’ve heard that the creek out of Kivandeba is a slow, rough passage and takes a long time, but I think it would be so fun to go back.

Tony
bwcajohn
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01/04/2021 12:08PM  
Thanks for the response. How long did it take you to get to Pan? Think it's possible to make it in a long day?
GopherAdventure
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01/04/2021 10:25PM  
Not sure how long it would take from EP 37. I came in from Lake One and paddled 25 or so miles and camped at the site circled in black (in the picture below) on my first day, and from there it was less then an hour to get to Kivandeba.


It would be easy to make it to Pan from EP 37 in one day, but you’d probably want to do the bushwhack the next day. Those last couple miles getting to John Ek are tough, I’d want fresh legs.

Tony
01/05/2021 01:03PM  
Cool to see people still planning to make it to John Elk.

My trip partner and myself did discuss this last year during a planning conversation. At some point I think we will do it but the timing is off currently.

I hope someone makes it and will report back.
01/05/2021 02:43PM  
Indeed - I'd like to be a fly on the wall for this one.

Heck of a day trip for sure...since it's not in a PMA, getting there is quite literally only half the challenge!
GopherAdventure
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01/05/2021 04:25PM  
It would be ideal to camp on Pan and begin at first light so that you would have ample time on John Ek to explore. Although, I’ve heard getting their from the north is doable as well.

Tony
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
01/27/2021 01:15PM  
I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year...
01/27/2021 01:22PM  
bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."

In the chance you make it go John Elk, or...don't make it, a report on what you found or didn't find would be great. Or maybe it wouldn't.
Voyager
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01/28/2021 08:06AM  
I posted about my half-hearted attempt at getting to John Ek L. in the past. It was several years back. I too had heard the rumors about the fishing. I camped on Pan and portaged to Kivandeba in the morning. The portage then was in good shape. They were trapping wolves on the portage trail that year for study. I paddled to the creek to the northeast and got out to reconnoiter . Empty handed , I proceeded up the creek. It was a shin tangle, and I soon gave up. Unless the brush opens up further up, it would be a nightmare. I'm afraid if you made it to John Ek, it would then be time to head back out. My bushwhacks are always solo and unobtrusive. I know how I would solve that problem. But ah yes, if anyone makes it please report back so we can all live it vicariously. If you do find fantastic fishing, please lie about it to keep the area pristine.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
01/28/2021 09:27AM  
What month did you make your attempt? Do you think an overland bushwhack would be easier than following the streambed?
Voyager
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01/28/2021 03:17PM  
It must have been July or August. As far as the easiest route I don't have a clue.
GopherAdventure
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01/28/2021 04:46PM  
I don’t have a permit yet, but I plan on giving it a try in mid- September. I wanted to do it a few years ago, and it just didn’t happen, but this year I want to make it. As usual, I will have a video trip report of the trip a few weeks after I get back. Hopefully I can make it and the weather cooperates. I will be putting in at Lake One and working my way over to John Ek from that way.

Airmorse: what date is your permit?

Tony

naturboy12
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01/28/2021 10:39PM  
I’m not Airmorse, but when (not if, when) he gives this a go, I’ll be with him. Alas, scheduling and job situations have forced both of us to sit out the permit process until closer to summer. We may not even get up there this year, or if we do it might not include this attempt quite yet. If we do, I’ll surely write a trip report, although I tend to leave out some of the details when it comes to bushwack lakes.
01/29/2021 06:36AM  
Yes, most likely no trip for me again this year. :-( work has rescinded all vacation time while we try and rebuild our company.

At one point i found an article about John Ek who the lake is named after. But sadly I can no longer find it. Does anyone have that article?
inspector13
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01/29/2021 07:16AM  

No article but I saw a short blurb that said the lake is "named for John Ek, a native of Finland and a long-time employee of the U.S. Forest Service."

01/29/2021 10:43AM  
inspector13: "
No article but I saw a short blurb that said the lake is "named for John Ek, a native of Finland and a long-time employee of the U.S. Forest Service."


"


That is all I can find now too.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
05/23/2021 12:47PM  
bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."

I have YouTube video in progress that will go into this in more depth but I wanted to do a quick update to my John Ek attempt.

On Friday 5/14/21 I left Kawishiwi Lake and paddled to Pan Lake. Saturday morning I found the portage into Kivandeba Lake. The portage is very overgrown with many downed trees and obstructions. It looks like it has not been used much at all recently.

I brought a depth finder into Kivandeba Lake and found that it was between 10 and 11 feet in the middle. I trolled a bit but had no bites.

After locating the stream flowing from John Ek I attempted to scout a path on both sides of the creek. It is incredibly thick back there and the stream itself is too boney and choked with alders to make any progress on.

After about two hours of scouting for a path I concluded that it was too thick to continue with a reasonably safe solo attempt.

Once I finish editing my trip videos I will try and post a few clips so anyone interested can see what it looks like back there.
05/23/2021 03:59PM  
Cool thanks for the update. Can't wait for the pics and video.
GopherAdventure
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05/23/2021 06:33PM  
bwcajohn: "bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."


I have YouTube video in progress that will go into this in more depth but I wanted to do a quick update to my John Ek attempt.


On Friday 5/14/21 I left Kawishiwi Lake and paddled to Pan Lake. Saturday morning I found the portage into Kivandeba Lake. The portage is very overgrown with many downed trees and obstructions. It looks like it has not been used much at all recently.


I brought a depth finder into Kivandeba Lake and found that it was between 10 and 11 feet in the middle. I trolled a bit but had no bites.


After locating the stream flowing from John Ek I attempted to scout a path on both sides of the creek. It is incredibly thick back there and the stream itself is too boney and choked with alders to make any progress on.


After about two hours of scouting for a path I concluded that it was too thick to continue with a reasonably safe solo attempt.


Once I finish editing my trip videos I will try and post a few clips so anyone interested can see what it looks like back there. "


Thanks so much for sharing! I’m very excited to see your video as I was planning on making an attempt in September. I may have to rethink the plans now.

Tony
Voyager
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05/23/2021 09:29PM  
All our hopes are on you now Tony. After my failed attempt years ago I considered the grand adventure of coming from Little Sag., Hop, Jump, Twinkle, Pointer into John Ek. I'm too old now, but if anyone could make it you could.
05/24/2021 05:42AM  
Voyager: "All our hopes are on you now Tony. After my failed attempt years ago I considered the grand adventure of coming from Little Sag., Hop, Jump, Twinkle, Pointer into John Ek. I'm too old now, but if anyone could make it you could."

A New Hope...oh wait that title has already been used in the movies.

Anyway, NatureBoy and myself are contemplating an attempt at John Ek using this route. Schedules and more importantly water levels would have to be just right. So an early June attempt 2022 or 2023.

I do believe that this route has been used in the past by a former USFS person who has passed away a while ago.
Voyager
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05/24/2021 07:17AM  
Yes, I'm sure Spring would be the time to try this route.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
05/24/2021 08:31AM  
Voyager: "Yes, I'm sure Spring would be the time to try this route."

That was my thinking too. I was banking on less foliage making it doable. This was true to a point for visibility but on the Kivandeba route the vegetation was still too thick to get a canoe through.

fishnfreak
distinguished member(1165)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2021 10:36PM  
Well I'll be.....you pulled me out of messageboard retirement.

I did make it to John Elk eventually. It took quite a bit of effort and some rules had to be bent. It's a cool little lake. I think i had more fun researching the background of this lake and talking to an old retired DNR guy that gave me some good intel on the area and cluster of lakes around John Elk than the actual slog to it.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
05/26/2021 10:58PM  
fishnfreak: "Well I'll be.....you pulled me out of messageboard retirement.


I did make it to John Elk eventually. It took quite a bit of effort and some rules had to be bent. It's a cool little lake. I think i had more fun researching the background of this lake and talking to an old retired DNR guy that gave me some good intel on the area and cluster of lakes around John Elk than the actual slog to it. "


But how was the fishing??

bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
05/27/2021 08:17AM  





Here’s a couple stills I pulled that show the creek and the surrounding woods. Believe it or not it’s actually thicker back there than it looks in the photos.
Voyager
distinguished member (333)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/27/2021 12:50PM  
It would be nice if the area was designated as a PMA for the obvious reason.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
06/08/2021 09:13PM  
GopherAdventure: "bwcajohn: "bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."



I have YouTube video in progress that will go into this in more depth but I wanted to do a quick update to my John Ek attempt.



On Friday 5/14/21 I left Kawishiwi Lake and paddled to Pan Lake. Saturday morning I found the portage into Kivandeba Lake. The portage is very overgrown with many downed trees and obstructions. It looks like it has not been used much at all recently.



I brought a depth finder into Kivandeba Lake and found that it was between 10 and 11 feet in the middle. I trolled a bit but had no bites.



After locating the stream flowing from John Ek I attempted to scout a path on both sides of the creek. It is incredibly thick back there and the stream itself is too boney and choked with alders to make any progress on.



After about two hours of scouting for a path I concluded that it was too thick to continue with a reasonably safe solo attempt.



Once I finish editing my trip videos I will try and post a few clips so anyone interested can see what it looks like back there. "



Thanks so much for sharing! I’m very excited to see your video as I was planning on making an attempt in September. I may have to rethink the plans now.


Tony"


Here is a link to Part 2 of my trip video John Ekspedition. YouTube Link
06/08/2021 10:55PM  
bwcajohn: "GopherAdventure: "bwcajohn: "bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."



I have YouTube video in progress that will go into this in more depth but I wanted to do a quick update to my John Ek attempt.



On Friday 5/14/21 I left Kawishiwi Lake and paddled to Pan Lake. Saturday morning I found the portage into Kivandeba Lake. The portage is very overgrown with many downed trees and obstructions. It looks like it has not been used much at all recently.



I brought a depth finder into Kivandeba Lake and found that it was between 10 and 11 feet in the middle. I trolled a bit but had no bites.



After locating the stream flowing from John Ek I attempted to scout a path on both sides of the creek. It is incredibly thick back there and the stream itself is too boney and choked with alders to make any progress on.



After about two hours of scouting for a path I concluded that it was too thick to continue with a reasonably safe solo attempt.



Once I finish editing my trip videos I will try and post a few clips so anyone interested can see what it looks like back there. "




Thanks so much for sharing! I’m very excited to see your video as I was planning on making an attempt in September. I may have to rethink the plans now.



Tony"



Here is a link to Part 2 of my trip video John Ekspedition. YouTube Link "


Nice videos. Are you going to try another attempt at John Ek.
06/09/2021 06:58AM  
Great vid! Thanks for posting.
bwcajohn
member (17)member
 
06/09/2021 08:18AM  
airmorse: "bwcajohn: "GopherAdventure: "bwcajohn: "bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."




I have YouTube video in progress that will go into this in more depth but I wanted to do a quick update to my John Ek attempt.




On Friday 5/14/21 I left Kawishiwi Lake and paddled to Pan Lake. Saturday morning I found the portage into Kivandeba Lake. The portage is very overgrown with many downed trees and obstructions. It looks like it has not been used much at all recently.




I brought a depth finder into Kivandeba Lake and found that it was between 10 and 11 feet in the middle. I trolled a bit but had no bites.




After locating the stream flowing from John Ek I attempted to scout a path on both sides of the creek. It is incredibly thick back there and the stream itself is too boney and choked with alders to make any progress on.




After about two hours of scouting for a path I concluded that it was too thick to continue with a reasonably safe solo attempt.




Once I finish editing my trip videos I will try and post a few clips so anyone interested can see what it looks like back there. "




Thanks so much for sharing! I’m very excited to see your video as I was planning on making an attempt in September. I may have to rethink the plans now.



Tony"




Here is a link to Part 2 of my trip video John Ekspedition. YouTube Link "



Nice videos. Are you going to try another attempt at John Ek."


Thank you! I’m sure it will be in the back of my head for a long time. I would love to see this area turned into a PMA so it could be done without the risk of having to camp back there illegally. Does anyone have any idea what the process is for getting a PMA designated?
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/09/2021 10:27PM  
bwcajohn: "airmorse: "bwcajohn: "GopherAdventure: "bwcajohn: "bwcajohn: "I may or may not have purchased a Kawishiwi Lake EP permit today. If all goes well might have eyes on John Elk this year..."





I have YouTube video in progress that will go into this in more depth but I wanted to do a quick update to my John Ek attempt.





On Friday 5/14/21 I left Kawishiwi Lake and paddled to Pan Lake. Saturday morning I found the portage into Kivandeba Lake. The portage is very overgrown with many downed trees and obstructions. It looks like it has not been used much at all recently.





I brought a depth finder into Kivandeba Lake and found that it was between 10 and 11 feet in the middle. I trolled a bit but had no bites.





After locating the stream flowing from John Ek I attempted to scout a path on both sides of the creek. It is incredibly thick back there and the stream itself is too boney and choked with alders to make any progress on.





After about two hours of scouting for a path I concluded that it was too thick to continue with a reasonably safe solo attempt.





Once I finish editing my trip videos I will try and post a few clips so anyone interested can see what it looks like back there. "





Thanks so much for sharing! I’m very excited to see your video as I was planning on making an attempt in September. I may have to rethink the plans now.




Tony"




Here is a link to Part 2 of my trip video John Ekspedition. YouTube Link "




Nice videos. Are you going to try another attempt at John Ek."



Thank you! I’m sure it will be in the back of my head for a long time. I would love to see this area turned into a PMA so it could be done without the risk of having to camp back there illegally. Does anyone have any idea what the process is for getting a PMA designated?
"


Great question. Subscribed to the thread because I’d love to see this happen.
If you do all the work to get back there, it’d be a shame to get to John Ek only to have to turn around and come right back because of daylight constraints. I know people have camped back there and it’s hard to blame them. Most PMA’s are in areas where portages and campsites used to be maintained. Maybe the John Ek area doesn’t fit the criteria because there never were established campsites and portages. IDK, I’m just thinking out loud… I want to get back there sooo bad.

Tony
MidwestFirecraft
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06/10/2021 06:09AM  
Great videos, and adventure. It took me three trips, in 4 different years to make it to a lake I had been dreaming of. I eventually made it and it was worth all the sweat and toil. Thanks for posting!
 
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