Perent Lake

Making Connections

  • Paddle East, 3 miles, up Hog Creek, to Entry Point 36
  • Portage West, 61 rods, down the Perent River
  • Bushwhack Northeast, 640 rods, to Kawishiwi


  • Fisher F-5, Perent, Kawishiwi, Sawbill
  • McKenzie 19, Isabella Lake; 20, Alton


Perent Lake
Scale 1:42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square

Rough Afternoon on Perent Lake, BWCAW


Perent is a large, open lake at the headwaters of the Perent River on the southern border of the BWCAW, 6½ miles east of Forest Center and 31¾ miles ESE of Ely. Extending 4 miles between its two portage landings, Perent covers 1800 acres and is, for its size, rather shallow. Most of the lake bottom is less than 15' below the surface and its greatest depth is only 28'.

At the end of the northwest arm of the lake is the mouth of Chickadee Creek, down from Chickadee Lake some 2 miles to the north, in the Fungus Lake Primitive Management Area. In the end of the northeastern arm are the mouths of two small, unnamed streams, that to the west draining an area of bog to the north of Perent, and that to the east draining two small, unnamed lakes and an area of bog. Neither creek appears to be navigable.

Between these creek mouths is the end of the old Kawishiwi Portage, a 640 rod (2 mile) carry north and east to connect with the southern end of Kawishiwi Lake, at the end of the Sawbill Trail. This portage appears on old maps but is no longer maintained and is not featured on current maps of the area. The trail follows an old logging road which held to the high ground, the result being a series of climbs and descents which culminate at a point some 220' above Perent about 1¼ miles out from the lake, whereupon the trail descends steadily, dropping nearly 200' to the extreme south end of Kawishiwi. It is unclear whether or not this old portage trail can still be found, much less used. If you know, we'd lover to hear about it.

Notes on the Perent to Kawishiwi portage, from Barry Wilfahrt:

Two summers ago my group stayed at the northernmost campsite on Perent Lake. While they were fishing, I attempted to navigate both of the creeks heading up toward Kawishiwi Lake. Neither was navigable. I also attempted the trek overland. I went in about ½ mile along several routes - no sign of the old log road. It was bushwacking all the way.It was also very wet with numerous bogs. There looks to be almost no way to make it to Kawishiwi without getting wet.

At the east end of Perent, the lake narrows into a small bay containing the mouths of Hog Creek and Coffee Creek. Hog Creek originates at Hog Lake, some 14½ miles upstream from Perent and outside of the BWCAW. Some 3 miles above Perent, it crosses Forest Road 354 and becomes BWCAW Entry Point 36. That such a narrow, twisting stream can provide the reliable access that it does may owe to its early history as part of a motorized route. On such routes, certain "modifications" to improve navigation were not uncommon. Coffee Creek originates, as do so many BWCA streams, in a soggy peatland, here some 6½ miles upstream of Perent. It passes through Coffee Lake and crosses into the BWCAW some 2 miles above Perent.

The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 did no significant damage in the Perent area.


Perent supports some 20 established campsites, most on the eastern side of the lake.

Planning Considerations

Most traffic into Perent comes by way of Hog Creek, three miles of narrow stream twisting through bog and alder thicket from BWCAW Entry Point 36 on Forest Road 354 to the east end of the lake. And most traffic goes no farther. The alternate access to the lake is considerably more arduous, up the Perent River from Isabella.


Perent supports populations of Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

Putting in at Hog Creek on a summer afternoon can be more exciting than you might like if a wind is up when you round the point into the lake. Four miles of open water to the west allow for the winds to roil up the lake pretty heavily off the mouth of Hog Creek. We found ourselves there with a stiff wind and whitecaps, unable to move ahead however hard we paddled. We ended up portaging over a point to make forward progress, because we could not paddle around it in the open lake. Unless you like paddling rough water and wind, you may want to plan a Parent crossing for early in the day.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004