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Riley Smith  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 10:02:58 PM(UTC)

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The glorfied beaver swamp known as Meat Lake


I am not sure if this has been discussed on this forum or not, but a good discussion post is always fun this time of year to get the mind dreaming of future adventures.  The BWCA is full of lakes of every size. For good reason, the big, open water gets all the lore, and I think that's fair. Also, it's so much easier to paddle for 20 miles than paddle for 15 and portage for 5, but the little lakes have a charm all their own. The trips I plan often are portage heavy because of a weird love I have for the small lakes and the frequent portaging. I don't know why, but I much prefer a chain of small lakes to one big paddle, but that's me. Little lakes often get a bad rap for not much breeze, lots of bugs, and sometimes questionable water quality, but there are a lot of little lakes out there that are super special for a variety of reasons. Some of the little lakes are beautiful because of the scenery or topography, or even just the surreal silence you can find at an out of the way, tiny lake (Plume, Rove, Wattap, Meditation, and Link are some of my favorites.) Other small lakes simply gain my respect for the adventure it takes to even put a paddle in the water there (Nawakwa, Maxine, Skindance, Tick, Azion, or Relection are ones I remember for this reason.) And still there are others that are remembered for other, less positive reasons (Hassel, Meat, Wooden Leg I am looking at you.) All the same, I love the little lakes, and make a point of visiting a couple as "end of the day side trips" whenever I make it back into the BWCA. So my question: without giving away your secrets, what are your favorite little lakes? For the sake of this discussion let's define a little lake as a body of water less than 100 acres in size. My favorites that I have explored are probably Maxine, Rove, and Link, though there are many on my "visit someday" list.


Edited by user Thursday, February 28, 2019 9:23:58 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Ben Strege  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, February 27, 2019 11:44:39 PM(UTC)

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I also prefer small lakes over large ones. I like the solitude that usually comes with small lakes, and some have really nice campsites. Here are my favorites:

  • Hook Lake - small and scenic, excellent campsite, no traffic. Keneu Lake is also nice, but I liked Hook more.
  • Korb - excellent view from the campsite, but gets quite a bit of traffic going towards the portage to the west.
  • Emerald - very clear water, decent campsite, no traffic. But also no fish...

I also visited Jig Lake, the one north of Maxine. I can't say it is one of my favorites, but you can't beat the solitude!

#3 Posted : Thursday, February 28, 2019 8:45:56 AM(UTC)

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I like the big ones for traveling -- Sag, Ottertrack, Knife -- but the little ones for spending a day on.

  • Plume for accessibility while still a step away from the highway
  • Rivalry because it's a chore to reach and fun to think how high up it is
  • LotC similarly
  • Does Swamp by Monument Portage count as small? Fishing in there can be hilarious and you can witness a full spectrum of BWCA visiters.

#4 Posted : Friday, June 28, 2019 11:34:54 AM(UTC)

I'm going to make time this  year to check out Spice Lake (from Ogish). There is one campsite on the lake and it might be fun to stay there a couple nights but we will be base-camping on Ogish. 

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