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Trouthunter

Basswood Lake to Ely by canoe

9 posts in this topic

What's the best way to get from Basswood to Ely by canoe? I've plotted my summer BWCA trip all the way to Basswood, but my final destination is Ely and I am not sure how to get to Ely without a hike on 169 from Winton.

Can someone help? How long of a paddle/portage is it?

BD

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I asked a friend who lives in Ely your question. He played with me a bit: "You can't get to the Dairy Queen by canoe." I've gone with him on the entry and return trip before, and it's a good 20-30min. drive back to Ely from the exit point.

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I'm not understanding what you are up to here.

As a short answer, the Shagawa River flows from Shagawa into Fall, and is marginally navigable going upstream. I know a couple of guys who spent an afternoon in kayaks going from the Vet's Retreat on Fall to Grand Ely Lodge and back again.

Why would you be going all the way to Ely, rather than using the typical landings? And where are you starting your trip from?

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If I were in Basswood & wanted to get to Ely, I would paddle down into Fall Lake & hang out in the parking lot with a paddle in hand & try to Hitch a ride to town.

If you need to get your canoe to town you may be in for a wait but I would bet that a Van / Trailer combo would come along sooner than later to drop groups off for any of numerous outfitters / orginizations. Politely offer to but the driver a treat at the D.Q.- the one you can't paddle to- for the effort & your chances are pretty good.

Get to the Fall Lk. Landing early as most activity takes place between dawn & 10 am.

Good Luck - CLoma

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Hmmmm...I wasn't expecting all the puzzling looks.

I'm starting over on Brule Lake and going to my friend's cabin on Shagawa over in Olsen's bay. So figuring I am getting a ride to Brule Lake, I just have to make it back to Ely from there. I thought I'd head for Basswood since it's a large body of water and will cut down on how much I have to hoof it, unless I take 169.

I do have a set of maps and some time, so I'm looking for a real practical way to get to Shag from Basswood, without having to hitchhike (it is a vacation, after all), but also expecting it's the last leg of the journey. What if I were to keep heading northwest and then angle southward and go through burntside? Is that my best choice? It doesnt appear that I can get to Ely from Fall Lake. Hope that helps...looking for some advice from someone who's familar with this area.

By this time I'll be heading straight for the Grand Ely - look out!

BD

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Hey Trouthunter,

I happen to live on the Shagawa river and have a couple of solutions for you to think about. If you're willing to paddle all the way from Brule Lake to Basswood, then this leg will be a piece of cake for you.

Solution #1 When you reach Basswood, you'll want to head

for the southwest tip of Jackfish Bay. The Range river empties here, and you can paddle and portage into Range Lake from here. (FYI: Jacob Pete used operate a boat landing and rent cabins here in the pre 1978 BW act years.)

Next, paddle across Range lake and up the Range river until you reach Low Lake. Make sure to keep taking the left branch until you reach Low Lake. Paddle across Low Lake and portage into Bass Lake. Paddle across Bass Lake and portage across the Echo Trail into Little Long Lake. Paddle the entire length of Little Long Lake. You will now portage up a steep hill and down a gravel driveway for a quarter mile and you will be right at the boat landing in Olson's bay on Shagawa Lake!

Solution #2 Portage from Basswood to Fall Lake either through Newton (or by way of the Four-mile Portage from Hoist Bay if you really want to kill your shoulders). Then paddle down Fall Lake, past my house and up the Shagawa River. You will paddle through two sets of culverts, and then the fun starts, depending on the time of year and water levels. After passing the second set of culverts, the river will be slow moving for awhile. You should be able to paddle as far upstream as what we call the powderhouse rapids, because there used to be a mill there. You will either need to drag your canoe up these rapids, or you can walk a short distance north through the woods and hop up on the old railroad tracks that parallel the river and cross it again further upstream. There are a couple of four-wheeler trails that either cross the river or go down to the river on the north side in the vicinity of these rapids. They could be hard to spot with the leaves on. Once you cross under the next paved road, it will be smooth sailing into Shagawa Lake, and then down the length of Shagawa to Olson's bay.

Either way will get you to your location.

Hope this helps.

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Well, I'll be out in the woods for the next week, and won't be on the computer again until at least next Thursday. Have a good opener everyone and I'll save some fish for you guys to catch later this summer.

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I've traveled the Basswood to Bass Lake route (ELY's #1 recommendation). I would personally take that route.. smile.gif No problems there.

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Perfect! Thanks for the good responses guys. My maps don't detail the area outside the BW that well, and since the remaining part of this journey is outside the boundary, I was a bit vague. I was eyeing up this path myself, but wasnt sure how navigable the river was. Thanks.

BD

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