Kawishiwi River (between Square Lake and Kawasachong 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: 2011, 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: Many Bald Eagle
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 Square Lake and Kawasachong Lake):
To Kawasachong Lake: Walk a 20 rod portage and a 5 rod portage. (There may be a beaver dam or two also.)
To Square Lake: Walk a 5 rod portage and a 20 rod portage. (There may be a beaver dam or two also.)

Kawishiwi River (between Square Lake and Kawasachong Lake)

Tofte Ranger District

This section of the Kawishiwi River is quite scenic as it passes through the remains of the forest after the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire. Beginning at Square Lake, portage 20 rods into the Kawishiwi River. You can skip this portage by paddling to the left of it on Square Lake, lifting over a beaver dam, and navigating the river bend.

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

After a short paddle downstream from the 20 rod portage, you come to a 5 rod portage at a small waterfall. You can actually see the 5 rod portage from the 20 rod portage and vice versa. The landing above the waterfall is a little bit tricky as the water is deep and there are no great places to wedge the canoe to make it steady. Below the waterfall is a smooth, sandy landing. The little waterfall is pretty and occasionally you can see fish trying to jump up it (like you see on the National Geographic Channel of salmon in Alaska). There are often bald eagle in this area (probably because of the fish). This is also a good spot to cast out a lure to see if anything is biting.

Shortly below the waterfall, another small creek flows into the Kawishiwi River as it bends to the left (north). This little unnamed creek flows from Short Lake which lies about a mile or so to the southeast.

Continuing to paddle along, downstream, there is soon a large cliff along the left side of the river. Not far past here there was a beaver dam that required a liftover the last time this area was visited.

After the beaver dam, there is a small "run" of fast water as the Kawishiwi River constricts passing through some rocks and boulders. The "safe" area for your canoe is narrow through this run, so be on the lookout for some rocks. The young river soon opens up as it enters Kawasachong Lake.

Paddling the Kawishiwi River (between Square Lake and Kawasachong Lake)

Here you are walking the portage from Square Lake, 20 rods back into the Kawishiwi River.

Kawishiwi River in the BWCA
Looking downstream at the Kawishiwi River from the end of the 20 rod portage that leads back to Square Lake. The 5 rod (waterfall portage), is vagulely visible just to the right of your center of vision. If another group of paddlers was standing at that portage, it would be evident from this vantage point. The river actually is navigable to your left if you don't want to do the 20 rod portage. You will have to liftover a beaver dam and deal with some mild current if you elect to skip portaging.

A short paddle down the Kawishiwi River and then you lug your gear over a five rod portage. The small portage is around a little waterfall.

Kawishiwi River between Square Lake and Kawasachong Lake BWCA
From the downstream end of the 5 rod portage, you take in a nice view of the waterfall. If you look closely just above the left side of the waterfall, there were actually two bald eagles sitting side by side on the nearly horizontal dead tree that leans out over the waterfall.

Leaving the little waterfall behind, you continue along the Kawishiwi River, downstream. Shortly, as the river bends sharply left, you pass the location where a creek flows into the river. This creek arises out of Short Lake and Wantonwan Lake beyond.

Kawishiwi River BWCA
Continuing downriver, you soon pass the mouth of a small creek that begins out around Short Lake and Wantonwan Lake. Where that small, unnamed creek flows into the Kawishiwi River, the river makes a sharp bend to the left. Shortly after the bend, you paddle by this cliff formation on the left side of the river.

Kawishiwi River Boundary Waters
A short ways downstream from the cliffs, you come to a beaver dam that requires a liftover. There is a good canoe pull out area on the right as you are headed in the downstream direction toward Kawasachong Lake.

Pausing to watch the river flow over the beaver dam.

Kawishiwi River Beaver Dam BWCA
A good place to take a short break before making the final push into Kawasachong Lake.

Pushing your canoe off from the beaver dam, you continue downstream toward Kawasachong Lake.

Reaching Kawasachong Lake after paddling a final short stretch of the Kawishiwi River.

Route Connections for Kawishiwi River (between Square Lake and Kawasachong Lake)

From this section of the Kawishiwi River, you can paddle into Square Lake or Kawasachong Lake.

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