Gabbro Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Little Gabbro Lake #33 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Black Crappie, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-3; McKenzie #18 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 50 feet
Fire History: 1995
Lake Size: 977 acres
Campsites: 10 (2 visited)
Campsite 1, Campsite 2
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Turkey Vultures, Turtles, Loons, Ducks, Canadian Geese, Gulls
Last Visited: September 6, 2020 Lake Elevation: 1451 feet
To Little Gabbro Lake: Paddle In (or Walk the optional 4 rod portage)
To Bald Eagle Lake: Walk the umarked 5 rod portage (crosses island)

Gabbro Lake

Kawishiwi Ranger District

Campsite 1: In the channel between Gabbro Lake and Little Gabbro Lake
Campsite 2: At start of channel to Little Gabbro Lake

The lake is named for a type of igneous (volcanic) rock known as gabbro and is part of the Duluth Complex, a rock formation over a billion years old.

There are some minor rapids between Bald Eagle Lake and Gabbro Lake. There is an unmarked portage near the end of the island (or barely connected peninsula), if you are uncomfortable running these rapids. Similarly, there is an even smaller set of rapids between Little Gabbro Lake and Gabbro Lake. If you want to portage this section of fast water (particularly in early spring), there is a nice table rock on the south side of the channel that makes for an easy carry over.

A sand beach is located along the southwest shoreline of Gabbro Lake, about its midway point. This beach is in the first bay south of the deep inlet on that side of the lake. Sandy beaches are relatively rare in the BWCA.

A forest fire burned the area to the north of Gabbro Lake and to the east of the South Kawishiwi River in 1995. This fire burned about 3,000 acres.

The area to the south and west of Gabbro Lake saw heavy logging activity as late as the 1950's. This area also has extensive metallic mineral deposits like nickel. There are even two creeks that pass through this area named Nickel Creek and Cobalt Creek. Cobalt Creek flows into the south tip of the long bay near the middle of the lakes south shoreline. Nickel Creek flows into Little Gabbro Lake to the west.

Water moves through Gabbro Lake from southeast to west. The source of most of the lakes water is the channel coming from Bald Eagle Lake. Cobalt Creek is also a tributary of Gabbro Lake. Gabbro Lake flows out to the west through the channel connecting it to Little Gabbro Lake.

The fishing in Gabbro Lake is good. There are ten campsites on the lake and some of them are quite large. This lake receives a lot of visitors, so all the campsites have a "lived in" feel.

The long "fjord" extending to the north from the main part of Gabbro Lake leads up toward Cortes Lake, a small lake in the Weasel Lake Primitive Management Area.

Exploring Gabbro Lake

Routes to locations on Gabbro Lake are shown below:
Paddling from Little Gabbro Lake through channel and around west bay of Gabbro Lake

Click on the photos below to see the full resolution image - Use your browsers back button to close photo and return to this page.


Gabbro Lake 1
The western bay of Gabbro Lake as seen from the campsite on its western point on the north side of the channel.

Gabbro Lake 2
Looking almost due east from the campsite on the western side of the small bay, that itself is on the west end of Gabbro Lake. The channel to Little Gabbro Lake would be just to your right and out of view from this vantage point.

Gabbro Lake map1Starting from the small rapids at the east end of Little Gabbro Lake, continue east up the channel (and upstream) to the western part of Gabbro Lake. When you reach the bay, turn left (north) and continue along the shoreline of this bay, working your way to the east. You stop at the campsite on the east side of this bay, which is located on the channel leading to the main part of Gabbro Lake.

Gabbro Lake 3
The narrowest part of the channel between Gabbro Lake's western bay and the main, open part of the lake (which is to the left from this position). Another campsite is located across the bay to the west, about halfway between the center and right side of your view.

Gabbro Lake 4
This is a southerly view from the channel leading into the western bay of Gabbro Lake. This is also the location of the campsite on the east side of that bay.
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Route Connections for Gabbro Lake

From Gabbro Lake, you can take an optional portage to Little Gabbro Lake. You can also use the unmarked portage to Bald Eagle Lake.

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PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
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