Tornado Lake

Making Connections

  • Bushwhack and paddle North, ¾ mile, to Insula


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


  • DNR Lake No. 380449
  • Lake Map No. C1787
  • Lake Table No. 6B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Tornado Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Tornado is a small, remote, and shallow lake on Tornado Creek, in the Insula basin of the Kawishiwi River drainage, 25 miles east of Ely, and 6 miles NNE of Forest Center. Barely a quarter mile across, Tornado covers 25 acres, to a maximum depth of but 7'. Tornado Creek drains the lake out of the far north end, headed for Insula, ¾ mile downstream.

The forests surrounding Tornado are something over 125 years old, the lake being in the middle of a large area burned over in the big Insula Lake fire of 1864. Ironically enough, the lake named for destructive winds escaped damage in the Fourth of July windstorms of 1999, though areas farther to the north and east were hit hard.


Tornado is not on any maintained canoe routes, and supports no established campsites.

Planning Considerations

Tornado is off the beaten path, but not all that far off. A bushwhack paddle up Tornado Creek from Insula might be just the thing to while away a BWCA afternoon. Here, windfalls from the 4th of July storms of '99 may not present a problem, but the the travel up the creek will likely still be a challenge. As the creek notation reads on the DNR lake map "FULL OF DEADHEADS AND ROCKS". (And they're not talking truckin' in tie-dye here.)


Tornado supports populations of Northern Pike (Esox lucius), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

If you do get in to Tornado send us a photo. We'll publish it here. (It's the only way most BWCA paddlers will ever get to see this lake.)

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004