Little Gabbro Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Little Gabbro Lake #33 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-3; McKenzie #18 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 26 feet
Fire History:
Lake Size: 148 acres
Campsites: 3 (3 visited)
Campsite 1, Campsite 2, Campsite 3
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Bald Eagle, Turtles
Last Visited: August 5, 2016 Lake Elevation: 1451 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Routes from Little Gabbro Lake:
To Bruin Lake: Walk the 281 rod portage
To BWCA Entry Point 33: Walk the 290 rod portage
To Gabbro Lake: Paddle In (or Walk the optional 4 rod portage)
To South Kawishiwi River: Walk the 122 rod portage

OVERVIEW

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Little Gabbro Lake

Kawishiwi Ranger District

The lake is named for a type of igneous (volcanic) rock known as gabbro.

There are the remains of two old dams on the north end of the lake which were used to support logging operations in the area, probably the St. Croix Lumber Company used them. The dam in the northeast channel was build of rock and has been removed (shown as Dam #2 on maps). There is a 122 rod portage around this dam. Good views of the old dam and rapids are visible from the portage. The dam in the northwest channel consisted of logs that can still be seen during periods of low water (this is shown as Dam #1 on maps).

The lake supports three campsites. There is a fourth campsite in the channel between Little Gabbro Lake and Gabbro Lake. This campsite is located upstream of an area of strong current at a pinch point along this channel, so considering it to be located on Gabbro Lake instead.
Water flows from Gabbro Lake into Little Gabbro Lake. Little Gabbro Lake drains out its two north channels into the South Kawishiwi River. Nickel Creek also flows into Little Gabbro Lake.


Exploring Little Gabbro Lake

Little Gabbro Lake in the BWCA
The long portage from the entry point parking lot leads to this shallow bay. There is a campsite on that point to the left. Gabbro Lake is pretty much directly across the lake from here.



Paddling across Little Gabbro Lake from the BWCA Entry Point 33 portage over to the Bruin Lake portage.


Little Gabbro Lake in the BWCA
Another shallow bay provides access to the Bruin Lake portage which is 281 rods long. The landing for that portage is visible at your feet to your left.



Paddling across Little Gabbro Lake from the Bruin Lake portage over to the campsite on the east point at the mouth of the northeast channel of the lake.


Little Gabbro Lake in the BWCA
Towards the right of your view you can make out the remains of an old dam sticking out from the opposite shore. This is shown as Dam #1 on most maps. This is your view from the start of the portage leading to the South Kawishiwi River. The portage provides some nice overlooks of this dam and the associated rapids. (See the portage link for video and photos of the dam.)



A quick paddle across the northeastern channel of Little Gabbro Lake from the campsite on the eastern side to the campsite on the west side of the channel. The campsite on the west side of the channel is just south of the 122 rod South Kawishiwi River portage



From the campsite on the west side of the northeast channel of Little Gabbro Lake, you make a short paddle north up the shoreline and come to the start of the portage leading to the South Kawishiwi River.


Little Gabbro Lake in the BWCA
Peering south from the South Kawishiwi River portage. The dam known as Dam Number One is over your left shoulder and out of view from this perspective.



Paddling through Little Gabbro Lake from near the mouth of the northeast channel over to the mouth of Nickel Creek. This is found at the back of one of the southern bays on Little Gabbro Lake.


Little Gabbro Lake in the BWCA
Nickel Creek is located in the southeast arm of Little Gabbro Lake. You are floating at the mouth of the creek and looking north from that location.



Paddling across Little Gabbro Lake from the bay in which Nickel Creek flows into over to the channel that connects to Gabbro Lake in the BWCA.


Little Gabbro Lake in the BWCA
A fairly extensive rock outcrop is found on the point between Little Gabbro Lake's two southern arms.



Paddling a short distance from the campsite just up the shore from the entry point portage landing to that portage landing.


Route Connections for Little Gabbro Lake

From Little Gabbro Lake, you can portage to Bruin Lake, the South Kawishiwi River or BWCA Entry Point 33. You can also paddle (or use optional portage) into Gabbro Lake.

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