BWCA EP47 Lizz vs. EP62 Clearwater Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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senior member (58)senior membersenior member
11/28/2022 09:41PM  
Hi all. What opinions can you offer concerning the relative benefits or downsides of these two entry points? We are a crew of five males, aged 15 to 61. We have all tripped together several times, canoe and hiking. All in relative shape, but not looking for long portages. I am looking at these two because of their proximity to bunkhouse accommodations and canoe rentals.

Trip time: September 2-10, 2023
Trip type: loop or out-and-back
Travel style: double nights on quality campsites
Fishing importance: high

I've heard it can be tough to get a 62 permit, but the scenery is better than 37. True? It looks like there are more route options without big water off of 37. I have maps on the way for both, but wanted to see what the collective might have to say prior to January 25th.

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11/29/2022 12:28PM  
im not sure if you mean 47 as in your subject line or 37....

two completely different types of trips. i believe taking a 62 permit gets you into more trout, northern and smallmouth bass. 47 would get you to some walleye lakes.
your dates include labor day weekend? i'd plan a long travel day your first day to get beyond the weekenders. if you get the 62 you might head to west pike and go between west and east pikes for fishing. both are beautiful lakes.
if you opt to head down toward caribou you will run into more people

with the 47 you might want to get to gaskin your first day an either fish around those lakes or head over to allen, somehow get to winchell cuz thats an awesome lake.

if you meant 37 i'm no help for you.
distinguished member(2066)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
11/29/2022 12:33PM  
I have tripped out of #47 multiple time in Sept. and utilized Rockwood. I would rate Rockwood A+. I usually trip later in Sept. and we don't fish a lot, but from other trip reports that I have read, I would say fishing is okay at best. Later in Sept. there is a lot of wildlife sittings, particularly moose on Horseshoe and Gaskin. The portages are all very easy, the traffic after Labor Day generally light. I've heard great things about EP 62 as well from people that have tripped out of both EP's. In my opinion you can't go wrong with a Sept. trip up on the Gunflint. Tuscarora Outfitters is just a few miles farther up the Gunflint Trail and they offer bunkhouses, breakfasts, and have two EP's right there.
11/29/2022 02:45PM  
We love both EP's. Canoed both many times. Both are scenic and both have outstanding fishing opportunities. Both have been very busy since Covid. Either will require sitting online on Jan. 25th to grab - and even then, you may not be successful. Don't hesitate to look at EP 48 (Meeds) or EP 64 (East Bearskin) - as both will also get you into the area nicely. EP 48 will have a fairly long entry portage, but it's not too bad if you break it up a bit.

EP 62 and EP 64 will get you to Johnson Falls - a place everyone should visit at least once in their BWCA days. Either thru Little Caribou to Pine or Alder to Canoe will get you there will minimal effort. Very nice campsites are accessible everywhere - but you should consider hitting the water as early as possible for the best chance. Hiking from Canoe to Johnson Falls is a fair climb - but we've always left our canoe/paddle/fishing gear at the portage and hiked without gear.

EP 47 and EP 48 will get you to Gaskin Lake and points beyond. As mentioned prior - paddle quietly as you will have a decent shot and spotting Moose in the shallow swampy areas. Again, plenty of nice campsites available for the early paddler.

You can't go wrong with either EP. Look up our trip reports from the last 10 years. We probably have a couple from each EP in there.

Good luck!
11/30/2022 05:18AM  
Clearwater is a beautiful lake is partially motorized. It is also a big west to east oriented lake and can get windy. There are some great campsites on the east end away from most of the traffic. Fishing is decent but as mentioned, no walleyes(but it does have Lake Trout). West and East Pike are beautiful too but don't have a lot of campsites. You can do a loop from Clearwater down to Caribou and back to Clearwater but you would need to kill a few days on the Pike Lakes with a trip of your length. Caribou is also a pretty lake and has arguably the best fishing of any lakes in the area, but it can be busy. Definitely take the side trip to Johnson Falls one day, it's well worth it.

Entering through 47 is a classic BWCA trip and you will visit Horseshoe Lake which is one of the more unique lakes in the BWCA. Fishing can be decent for pike, smallies and walleyes and there are some nice campsites. It is probably the best known area in all of the BWCA for moose sightings so keep your eyes open. There are a few loop options from there to the south and west that will provide interest and fishing opportunities. Vista Lake to the south is one of my favorite lakes. I have stayed there many times and have had very good luck fishing, good walleye lake. The southern campsite is a gem but is highly sought after - if you get it you will be happy. The option on the west side of the lake is high up off the lake and decent once you get up there but it is a scramble up and down and is not something you would want to do a lot. But the view is great. The campsite in the narrow finger in the NW corner of the lake - forget it, it is about the worst excuse for a campsite I have ever seen.

In both of these areas you will need to spend extra nights at nice sites because the mileage you would cover is not a lot for a trip of 8 days. But you seem to be okay with that and I think it is a great way to go. Either option is good, I might lean slightly towards 47 for more options and the walleye fishing. With that much time there are some other great route options you could look at too. One that comes to mind would be entering at Kawishiwi Lake #37 and making your way up to the Malberg, Boulder, Adams area. This is a more remote area of the BWCA and you have the time for it. Have a great trip.
11/30/2022 08:59AM  
More route options with the EP 47 option-and that is also a challenging permit to secure. Rockwood is a great outfitter, but unless they have new beds, I would stay at Hungryjack; much more comfortable bunks.

If you drop down into Caribou from Clearwater, you are looking at some seriously well traveled area, and securing sites can be a challenge, although given your trip dates, that should not be an issue.

Have had great walleye fishing on both of the Caribou lakes along with nice smallie action on the Caribou off Clearwater. That said, I have never fished either area in September; always early June.
12/01/2022 06:25AM  
Rockwood did get new mattresses in their bunkhouses in 2020 and they are a lot better than the old ones.

This thread has given lots of great information. I like both areas a lot but give the nod to Lizz because I prefer smaller lakes and the Lizz area gives you more route options. It is one of the only areas that I have repeated.

I also like the bunkhouse at Rockwood better than Clearwater because it has a view of the lake and each one was it’s own private bathroom.
distinguished member(5722)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/01/2022 06:54AM  
My 2 cents....

Clearwater is the most awe-inspiring entry point lake in the BWCA. However, considering the criteria you listed, I would plan for Lizz.
12/08/2022 09:09AM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "My 2 cents....

Clearwater is the most awe-inspiring entry point lake in the BWCA. However, considering the criteria you listed, I would plan for Lizz. "

Great pic! Also, I enjoy reading your detailed descriptions of campsites-a great resource.
senior member (58)senior membersenior member
12/08/2022 11:45AM  
Sorry for appearing to vanish, I had a cache issue that was showing me the original post with no replies.

I did mean EP 47, not 37. Thats a brain fart from 2021, when we had planned a trip from 37 but got cancelled by the fire closure.

EP 47 sounds like it might be the ticket. Walleye and moose would be a high point, as none of my group have ever seen either species in the wild. The variety of routes also looks promising. I have been in contact with Rockwood and received some great advice. EP 48 will be a backup for the area, although I'm not 100% confident that two of our guys will like the initial portage.

I will also look into Tuscarora and their local entry points.

Thank you all so very much for the information!
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