Vern Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 65 rods, to Juno
  • Portage East, 14 rods, to Whack
  • Portage South, 6 rods, to the Vern River
  • Bushwhack West, down the Vern River, toward Weird



Vern Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Vern is a long, narrow lake on the Vern River in the Temperance River watershed in the southeastern corner of the BWCAW. Over two miles long, its 142 acres have a maximum depth of 42'.

At Vern's north end, a 65 rod carry leads up to Juno. At its extreme southern end, the Vern River enters the lake from Homer, exiting again just over half a mile up the western shore, bound for Weird and the Temperance. A short, 14 rod carry east into Whack provides an alternate access to Homer by way of an even shorter, 6 rod portage out of the extreme east end of Whack and into Homer.


Vern supports two established campsites towards its southern end. One sits on the east shore opposite the outlet of the Vern River while the other is on the western shore, a quarter mile north of the river.

Planning Considerations

Vern, along with neighboring Juno, provides the link between Brule in the north and the Homer/Pipe lakes down along the southern edge of the BWCAW. Through the Vern River, connections can be made westward to Weird on the Temperance River and from there north into the interior around Cherokee, or south and west toward the Fire Lakes and Sawbill. (We have not seen written reference to the Vern River as a canoe route but by all indications it should be quite suitable. We have built it in to future trips and would like to hear first hand from any who have paddled the length of the Vern).

That being said, we received this account of the conditions on the Vern River in the summer of 2000, from Reed Malvick:

A few of my college buddies and I headed north towards the Sawbill and launched at Homer Lake last summer. We thought that we would take the Vern River as it would most likely serve as a waterway to the next lake and soon would find our campsite on South Temperance Lake. What we thought would be a nice little paddle down the Vern River, thinking it would be a place to throw a line in as we drifted or maybe catch some rays from the sun.

Boy were we wrong! It took us 7.5 hours to navigate the length of the Vern River. Amongst us six guys, we had one Gerber saw and one Gerber hatchet. Because of the storm that ripped through the summer before, we swear that we were the first to head downstream on that river. We had to cut through swaths of trees, fighing off mosquitoes, often times wading in submerged pine trees. There is no way that anyone could go upstream, but maybe it is somewhat cleared out by now. I would suggest that if this route were to be taken, pack ultralight and make sure you have sufficient time left in the day...because there were no spots to camp, even in an emergency. There was just too much deadfall.

As for the crew at the end of the voyage down the Vern, we were so wore out both physically and mentally, that we did not speak to one another. Today we all still plan our fishing trips while reminicing about the "Vern" as we all call it. Our quote that we came up with was: "When the going gets tough, think of the Vern."


Vern supports populations of Burbot (Lota lota), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), and White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni).

Notes and Comments

While Vern is often short for Vernon, there is no evidence of such a relationship between Vern to the south of Brule and Vernon to the east.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004