- Portage North, 170 rods, to Kemptons
- Portage South, 120 rods, into the North Kawishiwi River
Full image approximately 2
Pickerel is a shallow, mid-sized lake,
entirely outside of, but abutting upon, the BWCAW, 18¼ miles WNW
of Forest Center, and 7½ miles ENE of Ely. Situated in the
North Kawishiwi River drainage and just over a mile in length, its 184 acres
reach a maximum depth of only 13'. Out of the lake's southeast corner,
Pickerel Creek runs south less than ½ mile to the North Kawishiwi,
picking up the waters of Greenstone Creek on the way. The creek is
not generally navigable and so access to Pickerel from the river is generally
obtained by way of a 120 rod portage out of the southwest corner of the
lake. Out of the north end, a boggy, 170 rod portage leads to Kemptons.
The forests surrounding Pickerel are largely second
growth, having had their origins in the aftermath of the early logging
of the region in the early years of this century. The Independence
Day windstorms of 1999 did no significant damage in the Pickerel area.
Pickerel supports two established campsites,
both on points, one each on the northern and the southern shores.
Pickerel is entirely outside of the BWCAW
proper, but is accessible only from within the wilderness area. The
170 rod portage to Kemptons is essentially a deadend rather than a connection
to the motorized world along the Fernberg Road. Surrounded by acres
of trackless bog, its only good access is through Pickerel. This all
combines to make Pickerel worthy of consideration as a side trip off the
North Kawishiwi route, whether as an overnight stopover, or as a base for
exploring Kemptons and bushwhacking Pickerel and Greenstone Creeks.
The latter is especially appealing.
Pickerel supports populations of Bluegill
Northern Pike (Esox lucius),
Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris),
Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus
dolomieui), Walleye (Stizostedion
vitreum), and White Sucker (Catostomus
commersoni). The boggy lands to the north are probably good
Notes and Comments
Pickerel, and neighboring Kemptons, are wild
lakes outside the wilderness. My suspicion is that they are not included
in the BWCAW because the area around them was so heavily logged over.
Last updated on
11 April, 2004