Fox Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northeast, 60 rods, to Rush
  • Portage Southwest, 320 rods, to Stuart


  • Fisher F-16, Loon, Lac La Croix, Nina Moose Lakes
  • McKenzie 12, Moose River


  • DNR Lake No. 690204
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 2A
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality
Fox Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Fox is a quite small, quite shallow lake at the head of Fox Creek in the Rush Creek drainage of the Iron Lake basin, 24 miles ESE of Crane Lake and 21¾ miles north of Ely. Little more than a quarter mile long and narrow, its 27 acres reach a maximum depth of only 7'. Fox is flanked by hills to the north and south and by broad boggy expanses to the east and west. The eastern wetlands are cut by Fox Creek which departs Fox along its southwestern shore. It is not generally navigable and so up the lakeshore to the northeast, a 60 rod carry bypasses the soggy creek bottoms in a 38' up and over portage into Rush. Out of the southwestern corner of Fox, a mile long portage (320 rods) heads west to Stuart. Holding to the high ground to the south of the bogs, it climbs 30' in the initial 65 rods then takes an undulating course before dropping 45' into Stuart. Actually, the portage length is in dispute, with Fisher setting it at 320, McKenzie printing the bold red line without length designation, and the USGS maps scaling out at 280. The latter is probably the more accurate.

The forests which ring Fox Lake have largely grown up in the aftermath of the 1854 Rush Lake fire, though the area to the west burned again in 1894. This region of the BWCA escaped damage in the 4th of July windstorms of 1999, which caused such extensive tree loss to the south and east.


Fox supports one established campsite, on its eastern shore just south of the Rush Lake portage. It could be quite buggy in season and you'll probably want to filter your water. It might be a bit on the crunchy side in such shallow, marshy environs.

Planning Considerations

Fox is a link in the Dark/Stuart route, which drops south out of Iron Lake, through Dark, Rush, and Fox, into Stuart Lake, from which further connections can be made on the Dahlgren and Stuart rivers as well as to the Sterling route east to the Beartrap. Fox also looks to be a good area for bogtrotting.

Fox is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 7 and 18.


Fox Lake is named after the smallest of the three native wild dogs, Vulpes vulpes, the Red Fox. Its boggy environs suggest that it may also be home to moose and to their chief predator, the big dog, Canis lupus.

Notes and Comments

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004