Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake)
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Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake #37 Fishing: Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-5; McKenzie #20 River Depth: Over 5 feet in places through this section
Fire History: 1875 and 1863-64
River Length: From its source at Kawishiwi Lake to its mouth at Fall Lake, the river is 75 miles long including 33 miles of distance for the 18 lakes it flows through. The Kawishiwi River drainage covers and area of 1,230 square miles.
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit: Moose signs along portages
Last Visited: May 25, 2015 River Elevation: Headwaters at Kawishiwi Lake at 1643 feet. Mouth at Fall Lake at 1319 feet. From Kawishiwi Lake to Square Lake the river drops one foot of elevation from 1643 feet to 1642 feet
Water Clarity: N/A Routes from Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake):
To Lake Polly to Koma Lake: Walk the 127 rod portage, then a 48 rod portage and finally a 19 rod portage along the Kawishiwi River
To Koma Lake to Lake Polly: Walk the 19 rod portage, then a 48 rod portage and finally a 127 rod portage along the Kawishiwi River

OVERVIEW

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Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake)

Tofte Ranger District

This section of the Kawishiwi River between Lake Polly and Koma Lake contains three portages and several short pools that must be paddled across. The portages allow passage around some good stretches of fast water and rapids. The portages are well worn and easily traveled through this area. This area, with your travel always close to the river, is quite scenic.

The name of this river comes from the Ojibway language. Kawishiwi translates roughly to mean "the river of beaver lodges".

Moose signs were seen along both the 19 rod and 48 rod portage during the last visit here. No moose were seen though.

Just before entering Koma Lake after the 127 rod portage, there may be a beaver dam that will require a quick liftover.

Past Lake Polly, the number of other paddlers you are likely to see drops substantially. Long portages have a tendency to diminish the crowds.


Paddling the Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake)

Kawishiwi River between Lake Polly and Koma Lake in the BWCA
From Lake Polly, you land your canoe on this nice gravel beach to begin the short 19 rod portage into the Kawishiwi River.



At the end of the 19 rod portage, you are once again back on the Kawishiwi River.


Kawishiwi River BWCA
You take a look at the downstream end of the 19 rod portage that from here leads back to Lake Polly. Standing here, you are facing upstream (Kawishiwi River flows north through this area and Lake Polly is now to your south).


Kawishiwi River Boundary Waters
Looking back upstream from the start of the 48 rod portage. You stand at the upstream end of the 48 rod portage. Across this pool of the Kawishiwi River, from your viewpoint, is the 19 rod portage.


Kawishiwi River Boundary Waters Canoe Area
The start of the 48 rod portage. You are looking in the downstream direction here, in the direction of Koma Lake.


Moose droppings BWCA
There are definitely moose in this area. You spot a 'pile of pellets' near the middle of the 48 rod portage.


Kawishiwi River BWCA
After traversing the 48 rod portage, you now look out over another pool of flat water. The 127 rod portage lies across the stretch of river before you.


Portage along Kawishiwi River in BWCA
If you were coming from Koma Lake, this is the start of the 48 rod portage headed in the upstream direction toward Lake Polly.


Kawishiwi River BWCA
The 48 rod portage is visible to the right of your view here. You are standing at the beginning of the 127 rod portage looking upstream. The portage trail leading to Koma Lake is behind you.


Portage along Kawishiwi River BWCA
You are about to head north (in direction of Koma Lake) along the 127 portage.


Kawishiwi River near Koma Lake in the BWCA
Your view from the north end of the 127 rod portage. You see flat water ahead. Around the bend in the distance is where the Kawishiwi River flows into Koma Lake. There may be a beaver dam that requires a liftover just as you enter Koma Lake. A bald eagle soars over the river in the distance.


Kawishiwi River portage by Koma Lake in BWCA
The north end of the 127 rod portage looking south. The Kawishiwi River and Koma Lake are behind you.


Route Connections for Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly Lake and Koma Lake)

From this section of the Kawishiwi River, you can paddle/portage into Koma Lake or Lake Polly.

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