Sterling Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Stuart River or Mudro Lake Fishing: Unknown
Maps: Fisher F-16, F-17; McKenzie #11, #12 Lake Depth: Unknown
Bushwhack Rating: From Bibon Lake: ; From Sterling Creek: Lake Size: 166 acres
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit:
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1296 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1894, 1875, 1864 and 1822

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Sterling Lake

Sundial Lake PMA

By many accounts, Sterling Lake is a beautiful lake. The lakes largest island has been described as a good place to camp with an easy canoe landing on the west end.

Besides the awesome scenery, the fishing on this lake is also reported to be pretty good. Walleyes and northern pike; lots of them.

Sterling Lake is large by PMA standards. The lake has a lot of shoreline because of its many angles and arms. The shoreline runs the gambit from rocky and forested to swampy.

Sterling Creek passes through the lake. This creek enters from the south and exits Sterling Lakes eastern end on its way to the confluence with the Beartrap River. The section of Sterling Creek flowing into the south side of Sterling Lake is mostly navigable by all appearances from analyzing satellite images. There are of course sections that will require some bushwhacking. This part of Sterling Creek heads deep into the interior of the Sundial Lake Primitive Management Area.

The known fires in this region were the 1894 fires (possibly two of them) that are known as the Oriniack/Sioux River/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex and the Chad/Cummings/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex. In 1875 the Mule Creek/Sterling Lake/Sunday Lake/Crooked Lake complex burned much of the area. Eleven years prior to that, in 1864, the Little Indian Sioux River/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex burned here. The oldest fire known to affect the area occurred in 1822 and is referred to as the Hook Lake/Hegman Lake/Crooked Lake complex.


Approach to Sterling Lake

From Bibon Lake: This is the western approach to Sterling Lake. On Bibon Lake, you begin the bushwhack from a prominent rock ledge on the eastern end of that lake. There are usually some rock cairns there too. See the Bibon Lake web page on this website for details.

From the east, the approach is via the Beartrap River and then entering and paddling upstream along Sterling Creek. See the Sterling Creek and Beartrap River pages for details on the approach to Sterling Lake from the east.


Bushwhack to Sterling Lake

From Bibon Lake: Coming from this direction involves a 148 rod bushwhack along what was previously a maintained portage. It is easy to find the start of the bushwhack at Bibon Lake since it is delineated by a rocky ledge on the lakes east end. There are usually a few cairns there to assist you. The bushwhack "trail" is also cairned to help keep you on course. Like the Stuart Lake to Nibin Lake bushwhack, you will want to be attentive taking this route. Do not keep walking if you are not positive you are on the trail. Try to remember landmarks like fallen trees and large rocks as you travel. Finding the bushwhack trail going from Sterling Lake to Bibon Lake is more difficult. There is usually a cairn, but don't count on it.

Sterling Creek: For details on this bushwhack, see the Sterling Creek page. You will be going against a mild current as you travel from the Beartrap River up towards Sterling Lake. If you decide to approach Sterling Lake from this direction, you will have an easier time if your visit is during the spring or early summer when water levels are higher.


Exploring Sterling Lake

A large, gorgeous lake with plenty of shoreline to explore. Consider traveling south, upstream on Sterling Creek. A large peat bog, on the west shore of the north part of Sterling Lake may offer a chance at seeing a moose. The large island has been used as a campsite, as mentioned in several trip reports found on the Internet. The lake contains good numbers of walleye and northern pike.

Some additional information can be found on Sterling Lake in a book by Robert Beymer "The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region".


 
PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
       
Beartrap River Contest Lake Sinneeg Creek Sterling Lake
Bibon Lake Nibin Lake Sinneeg Lake Sunday Lake
Bunggee Creek Parley Lake Spring Creek Sundial Lake
Bunggee Lake Ritual Lake Sterling Creek White Feather Lake
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