Square Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake #37 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Northern Pike, Walleye, Rock Bass
Maps: Fisher F-5; McKenzie #20 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 7 feet
Fire History: 2011, 1875 and 1863-64
Lake Size: 135 acres
Campsites: 2; however 2011 Pagami Creek Fire damaged all of them and many may be closed by the U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Seen on Visit: Snapping Turtle, Bald Eagle
Last Visited: May 25, 2015 Lake Elevation: 1642 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Routes from Square Lake:
To Baskatong Lake: Walk the 69 rod portage
To Kawishiwi River (between Square Lake and Kawasachong Lake): Walk the 20 rod portage and a 5 rod portage
To Kawishiwi River (between Kawishiwi Lake and Square Lake): Paddle In

Square Lake

Tofte Ranger District

Square Lake is the next lake stop along the Kawishiwi River route after you its headwaters at Kawishiwi Lake. It takes an average group about an hour and a half to paddle from Entry Point 37 - Kawishiwi Lake to Square Lake.

Square Lake is at the boundary of the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire. You enter the burned zone just before the Kawishiwi River flows into Square Lake. Here, only some of the forest is scorched. When you enter Square Lake, you can see much better the affects of the gigantic fire. Only the south and southeast shorelines of Square Lake escaped the forest fire.

The northwest corner of Square Lake has the portage leading out to Baskatong Lake. Baskatong is now a dead end lake. However, at one time Baskatong Lake supported a long and difficult portage to the west out to Andek Lake and from there along Maniwaki Creek to Hope Lake. Briar Lake lies a bit west of the long north arm of Baskatong Lake.

The Kawishiwi River enters the southeast corner of Square Lake and enters out the northeast corner. This means you can pass back into the Kawishiwi River quite quickly. There is a 20 rod portage from the northeast corner of Square Lake back into the Kawishiwi River. However, if you go left of the portage, you can avoid portaging by lifting over a beaver dam and then paddling through. The portage is easy whatever you decide.

Exploring Square Lake

Square Lake in the BWCA
In your canoe, you look out at Square Lake from where the Kawishiwi River flows in. This area of the lake is the only part where the forest hasn't been burned by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire.

Paddling from the point where the Kawishiwi River flows into Square Lake over to the northeast bay of the lake.

Huge Snapping Turtle on Square Lake BWCA
A very large snapping turtle basks on a rock outcrop in the shallow bay where you make the 20 rod portage back into the Kawishiwi River. This turtle is over two feet long.

Pagami Creek Fire burn along Square Lake in the BWCA
Paddling close to shore, you can see the density of the trees in the recently burned forest was incredible.

Square Lake BWCA
Looking out on the northeastern bay of Square Lake while you stand at the start of the 20 rod portage back into the Kawishiwi River.

Route Connections for Square Lake

From Square Lake, you can paddle or portage into the Kawishiwi River (which flows through Square Lake) or portage to Baskatong Lake.

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