Tuscarora Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Missing Link Lake #51 Fishing: MN DNR; Lake Trout, Northern Pike
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #7 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 130 feet
Fire History: 1875
Lake Size: 833 acres
Campsites: 10 (3 visited)
Campsite 1, Campsite 2, Campsite 3
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Loons, Common Merganser or Red-Breasted Merganser
Last Visited: July 23, 2016;
Previous Visits: October 10, 2015
Lake Elevation: 1703 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

To Ahgoday Lake: Bushwhack for about 15 rods
To Howl Lake: Walk the 125 rod portage
To Missing Link Lake: Walk the 426 rod portage (thru Wish Lake and Contest Lake)
To Owl Lake: Walk the 68 rod portage
To Thelma Creek: Paddle In (this way leads to Thelma Lake)

Tuscarora Lake

Gunflint Ranger District

Tuscarora Lake is a large open lake and is a popular destination. The shortest portage into the lake is from Owl Lake to the west, but that is coming from the interior of the BWCA. From the parking lot on Round Lake, the most direct route is via the Missing Link Lake portage. That is an arduous 442 rod affair. Another long, swampy portage comes in from the east from Hubbub Lake and over the remnants of Howl Lake.

There are many campsites on Tuscarora Lake. The campsite on the north shore just west of the bay leading to Missing Link Lake portage offers nice southern views and is a wonderful campsite in general. The campsite on the eastern side of the lake near Ahgoday Lake is fairly secluded.

Tuscarora Lake contains a good supply of lake trout, although most are small to average in size. Northern pike numbers are low in the lake, but the fish tend to be large.

The last fires to affect the area around Tuscarora Lake were in 1875, 1854 and 1801. In 1875 some of Tuscarora Lake's south shore was burned. The 1875 fire was the second largest known fire to affect the BWCA in recorded history (Heinselman, 1996). The fire affected over 178,000 acres (almost twice as large as the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire). 1864 saw the scorching of some of the lakes north shoreline. The western part of Tuscarora Lake has forests still dating back to the beginning of the 1800's.

Tuscarora Lake drains out of the bay extending off the south side of the lake through a creek. This creek flows to the west and pours into Jerry Lake losing 65 feet of elevation over a couple of miles.

Motors were allowed on Tuscarora Lake as recently as the 1970's.

Exploring Tuscarora Lake

Routes to locations on Tuscarora Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Owl Lake portage to the campsite on the lakes prominent north point
Paddling from the Howl Lake portage to mouth of Thelma Creek
Paddling from the Howl Lake portage to the Missing Link Lake portage


Tuscarora Lake 1
You have reached Tuscarora Lake. This is the view from the Owl Lake portage. From here you are looking west across almost two miles of open water to that far horizon on the east end of Tuscarora Lake. The nearest island, just left of center, is a bit over half-a-mile from where you stand. Notice the clear water of this lake.

You put your canoe into Tuscarora Lake at its far west end at the Owl Lake portage. Paddle below the cliffs along the south shoreline. Upon reaching the large island near the middle of the south shore of the lake, turn generally north and head across open water until reaching the campsite on the long point of land jutting out into the lake from the northern shoreline.

Tuscarora Lake 2
Prominent cliffs along the southwestern shoreline of Tuscarora Lake in the BWCA.

Tuscarora Lake 3
Panoramic view looking south. You can see at lot of Tuscarora Lake from here. Your position is from the campsite on the point west of the entrance to the bay in the northeast part of the lake. That bay is where the Missing Link Lake portage is located.

Tuscarora Lake 4
A view to the south from the back of the northeastern bay of Tuscarora Lake. This is the location of the Missing Link Lake portage. This is a fairly breezy day.


Tuscarora Lake 5
A wide view toward the southwest and down the east shoreline of Tuscarora Lake. This view is from the Howl Lake portage. There is a nice beach to be found here.

Paddling down the east shoreline from the Howl Lake portage until you come to the first campsite along your route.

Tuscarora Lake 6
East shore of Tuscarora Lake looking south from the Howl Lake portage.

Tuscarora Lake 7
The east shore of Tuscarora Lake in the southeast part of the lake. In the distance, dead center, is the small bay where the creeks from Ahgoday Lake and Thelma Lake flow in.

From the campsite, continue south to Tuscarora Lake's southeast bay.

Tuscarora Lake 8
Looking north from a position right in front of the mouth of Ahgoday Creek. Ahgoday Creek, which flows in right behind you does not seem to provide easy access to Ahgoday Lake. To your left and just out of view is the mouth of Thelma Creek. Thelma Creek is easily navigable up to a short portage that leads into Thelma Lake.

Tuscarora Lake 9
The mouth of Aghoday Creek (not official name). This creek flows less than a 1/4 mile from Ahgoday Lake. It may look more "passable" in the spring when all the vegetation isn't choking it. If you want to visit Aghoday Lake, the easiest way to get into the lake is by bushwhacking/portaging from Tuscarora Lake about 1,000 feet northeast of the mouth of Thelma Creek. There is a small notch in the shoreline at that point. This notch is at the south end of the small bay in the southeast corner of Tuscarora Lake. This notch is due north of the northern most tip of Ahgoday Lake. It's about a 15 rod portage.

A short trip from the mouth of (Ahgoday) Creek to the mouth of (Thelma) Creek. Neither of these creeks has an offical name. A couple of loons are feeding in the area.

Tuscarora Lake 10
This large glacial erratic (boulder) is right in front of the mouth of Thelma Creek. The mouth of Ahgoday Creek is directly behind this boulder and thus not visible from your current position. You can easily paddle up Thelma Creek which leads to Thelma Lake.


Tuscarora Lake 11
View to the northwest from the Howl Lake portage. The island that is located in the northeast portion of Tuscarora Lake centers your view. There is a great stretch of beach at the Howl Lake portage landing.

Leave the beach where the Howl Lake portage begins/ends and paddle north up the shoreline. You pass behind an island (to your left) and then paddle over to the prominent point where you find a nice campsite.

Tuscarora Lake 12
Western view from just north of the island (on your left) that is found in the northeast part of Tuscarora Lake. The point coming out from the right (not in view) is the location of a nice campsite.

Tuscarora Lake 13
Rounding the northeast point of Tuscarora Lake. After going right around this point, you would be heading north into the bay where the Missing Link Lake portage is found. This point is also the location of one of the lakes better campsites.

Tuscarora Lake 14
Heading north into the modest-sized bay where the Missing Link Lake portage is.

This starts at the campsite on the east side of the entrance to the north bay of Tuscarora Lake. From that campsite you paddle to the Missing Link Lake portage. There is a merganser (duck) there to greet you.

Tuscarora Lake 15
View north from the Missing Link Lake portage. The point jutting out from the left has a good campsite.

Route Connections for Tuscarora Lake

From Tuscarora Lake, you can portage to Contest Lake, Howl Lake, Missing Link Lake, Owl Lake or Wish Lake. You can also paddle into Thelma Creek which leads to Thelma Lake. You can also bushwhack/portage into Ahgoday Lake.

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