Nibin Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northwest, 180 rods, to Stuart
  • Portage Northeast, 10 rods, to Bibon
  • Portage Southwest, 22 rods, then 115 rods, to the Stuart River


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


  • DNR Lake No. 690208
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 2A
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Nibin Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Nibin is a small lake in the Stuart River drainage of the Lac La Croix basin, 24 miles ESE of Crane Lake and 20½ miles NNW of Ely. The lake's outflow is at the west end, dropping through two unnamed ponds, to largely disappear into a broad, boggy seepage, bound for the Stuart River to the west. A quick 10 rod portage out of the southeastern corner connects with Bibon. From Nibin's northwestern shore, a 180 rod portage heads west to Stuart, gaining 45' of elevation in a steady climb over the first 80 rods, dropping 40', gaining 35' to crest a second rise, and then dropping 85' into the southeastern bay of Stuart. Whew! Both Fisher and McKenzie identify the portage length at 180 rods, though scaling from the USGS topographic map comes up with something closer to 210 rods. Not shown on either Fisher or McKenzie maps, but present on USGS and USFS maps, is a two stage portage to the Stuart River, the first, a 22 rod carry out of Nibin into the large pond just downstream to the southwest, and the second, a 115 rod carry out of the south end of the large pond, up-and-over the high ground to the river, just above 74 rod portage down to Stuart Lake.

The forests which ring Nibin are of relatively recent origin, most traced back to the fires of 1894, with the stands along the southeastern shore dated somewhat earlier, to the stand replacing burns of 1875. 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.


Nibin is a small lake, and has no established campsites.

Planning Considerations

Nibin sits on the Sterling route, running east/west from Stuart, through Nibin, Bibon, and Sterling, down Sterling Creek to the Beartrap River below Sunday Lake.

Nibin is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 9, 15, 17, 21, and 22.


Notes and Comments

Nibin is the Ojibwe word for summer. Its near neighbor to the east, Bibon, is given as its name the Ojibwe word for winter.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004