Hudson Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 10 rods, to Fire
  • Portage East, 105 rods, to Insula
  • Paddle South and West, up Wilder Creek, to North Wilder
  • Paddle and Bushwhack South, 3½ miles, up Ahmoo Creek, to Pose
  • Portage West, 10 rods, down the Kawishiwi, towards Lake Four


  • Fisher F-4, One, Two, Three, Four, Bald Eagle, Insula Lakes
  • McKenzie 18, Lake One; 19, Isabella Lake


  • DNR Lake No. 380484
  • Lake Map No. B0184
  • Lake Table No. 6B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Hudson Lake
Scale 1:42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square


Hudson is a moderate sized lake on the Kawishiwi River, 21 miles east of Ely, and 7 miles NNW of Forest Center. In form, Hudson consists of a triangular central bay, some ¾ mile to a side, with narrow arms extending up and down river, and an extensive northern arm reaching over 1½ miles up to Fire Lake. Hudson covers 381 acres, with a maximum depth of 35', its long narrow arms giving this modest sized lake some 14 miles of shoreline.

The Kawishiwi enters Hudson in the lake's southeastern end, down from Lake Insula. A 105 rod portage along the north bank of the river bypasses a set of rapids. The river exits Hudson to the southwest, where a series of three short portages (10, 25, and 25 rods) and two ponds, connects with Lake Four. Also to be found in the west end of Hudson is the mouth of Wilder Creek, which drains the Wilder Lakes to the south and west. Farther east along the southern shore of Hudson is the mouth of Ahmoo Creek, down some 3½ miles from its source at Pose Lake. Finally, at the far end of the long north arm of Hudson, a minimal 10 rod portage connects with Fire.

Most of the forest surrounding Hudson dates back only so far as the big Lake Insula fire of 1864, except for that to the west of the north arm of the lake, which is over 200 years old, having grown up after the fires of 1796. The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 hit the main body of Hudson fairly hard, with loss of standing trees estimated at between 34% and 66%.


Hudson supports ten established campsites, four in the long northern arm, four in the west end, and two in the east.

Planning Considerations

Hudson is a link in the Number Lakes to Insula route, that "aluminum highway" running east from the Lake One entry, up the Kawishiwi River, through lakes Two, Three, and Four to Hudson, and beyond Hudson to Insula. Only the final portage, into Insula, is the least bit challenging, and that only because it is so much longer than those that came before. Expect to see other parties almost any summer day. If you would prefer not to share your wilderness experience with so many others, plan on going elsewhere or visit during the off-offseason (just before the snow flies in the fall, or just after the ice goes out in the spring).

Hudson offers more than just a paddle up the Kawishiwi. Through the north arm, it provides access to Fire Lake and a fairly easy bushwhack into Drag. To the south, it provides access to the North Wilder Loop, which runs from the west end of Hudson on the Kawishiwi, south and west through North Wilder, Harbor, Brewis, and Horseshoe, returning to the Kawishiwi at Lake Three. Hudson also provides a starting point for an exploration of Ahmoo Creek, even so far as its source at Pose. Then, there are the small, little visited lakes set just back from the Hudson shore: Tremolo, Zitkala, and Brunch.


Hudson supports populations of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Tullibee (Cisco) (Coregonus artedi), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens). There are moose and wolves in the area of the northern arm.

Notes and Comments

It was on Hudson, at the campsite on the point about midway up the northern arm, where we had our first, best, and only sighting of wolves in the BWCA. It was an August morning and we were just finishing up with breakfast when we heard a loud splash out in the lake. It was a bull moose, breathing hard and swimming hard, crossing the narrow arm of Hudson from the opposite bank to the marshy area just behind our camp. Then Mark whispered "wolves!", and we turned to the opposite bank in time to see a pack of timberwolves emerge from the cedars at the shoreline. They stopped in their pursuit of the moose, the big, grey alpha male staring directly at us, the others slipping in and out of the shadows. We counted nine, as best we could, in all shades from silver grey to coal black. And then they were gone, melting back into the forest. Needless to say, we were thrilled.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004