White Feather Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Stuart River #19 Fishing: Probably northern pike since they are in the Stuart River
Maps: Fisher F-16, F-17; McKenzie #11, #12 Lake Depth: Less than 10 feet; MN DNR Lake Map
Bushwhack Rating: Piece of Cake during high water; steadily worse as water levels decrease Lake Size: 105 acres
Campsites: One Wildlife Seen on Visit: None
Last Visited: September 6, 2014 Lake Elevation: 1308 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1996, 1894, 1875, 1864 and 1822

White Feather Lake

Sundial Lake PMA

A fairly large, shallow body of water, White Feather Lake is easily accessible from the Stuart River through a short creek during high water. It is much more difficult to access if the water is low however. During low water you would have to circumnavigate the bog between White Feather Lake and the Stuart River. The bog is impassable during low water as the mud was deep and soft enough to embed my entire paddle, but yet there was not enough water to float my nearly empty solo canoe. Because of this, I have not made it into White Feather Lake. I only have distant photos and video of the lake as well as the first part of the bushwhack showing the muddy quagmire that turned me back.

This was the area of the White Feather Fire which occurred in 1996. This fire charred about 4,750 acres and was started by a lightning strike on the east side of the Stuart River. Evidence of this fire can still be seen in the area and is particularly evident along the ridgeline up behind White Feather Lake that is visible when paddling along the Stuart River.

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 White Feather Lake

Location on Stuart River where creek from White Feather Lake flows in - BWCA
The mouth of the tiny creek (middle of photo) as viewed from the Stuart River where it flows out of White Feather Lake, through this marsh.

Paddling downstream along the Stuart River in late summer to the mouth of the small creek that flows out of White Feather Lake. Blink and you could paddle right by it.

Bushwhack to White Feather Lake

White Feather Lake in the BWCA Sundial Lake PMA
In low water, like you see here, this marsh is not passable in even an empty canoe. To get into White Feather Lake during low water, you would need to bushwhack along that tree line starting at the left, and follow it all the way to the point which is right of center in the photo. Note that the left side of the photo is not where the trees/bushwhack begins, it is actually a good ways out of the left of the photo so it is much farther than it appears here. The easy way into White Feather Lake is to go in the spring and this marsh should be floatable all the way to the open water on the lake. In the middle of the photo, in the copse of trees, is a decent camping place. Hard to make out that fact in the photo because of the distance.

A failed bushwhack across the marsh. The small creek connecting the Stuart River and White Feather Lake quickly disappears and you are left with 2 inches of water over paddle-length deep mud. Forget about trying to walk in it.

Exploring White Feather Lake

Low water in late summer prevented a successful transverse of the bog between the Stuart River and White Feather Lake.

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
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