Baskatong Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake #37 Fishing: MN DNR; Northern Pike
Maps: Fisher F-5; McKenzie #20 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 6 feet
Fire History: 2011, 1875 and 1863-64 Lake Size: 86 acres
Campsites: 2 (1 visited, 1 no longer exists) Wildlife Seen on Visit: Waterfowl, Loons, Turkey Vulture
Last Visited: May 31, 2021 Lake Elevation: About 1650 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

To Square Lake: Walk the 69 rod portage

Baskatong Lake

Tofte Ranger District

Campsite 1: (#2056) - On eastern shoreline
Campsite 2: (#2057) - Campsite is closed/abandoned

This small lake is on a dead end route reachable from Square Lake via a modest portage. The shoreline of Baskatong Lake was completely burned by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire.

There is a beaver dam on the north end of the long arm (or creek) that extends to the north out of the northeast bay of Baskatong Lake. This beaver dam strongly influences the water level of this lake. The water from Baskatong Lake flows out this creek northward, eventually draining into the Kawishiwi River between Kawasachong Lake and Lake Polly. As of the last visit (May 31, 2021), the lakes water level seemed to be off its lows, but well below the high water mark. You can see evidence on some of the large rock faces of how high the water has been in the past (at least three feet higher than was present during this visit).

There was good bird watching here. Lots of waterfowl, loons and many species of songbirds.

The lake has a good population of northern pike.

There used to be two campsites on this lake, but as of last visit, only the campsite on the eastern shoreline is open. This is a very basic campsite.

There used to be a portage from Baskatong Lake to Andek Lake of 320 rods (1 mile). This portage was never easy. Now it is pretty much impassable. Currently the first 20 rods or so of the portage exists (the part that runs through the wetland along the lake) until it reaches the edge of the forest where it completely disappears. The landing for this portage is still there and it is still a nice place to park a canoe.

Exploring Baskatong Lake

Baskatong Lake 1
From a small hill on the east side of Baskatong Lake, looking toward the west at most of the southern half of the lake.

Paddling from the Square Lake portage, up the west shoreline to the northwest part of the lake, where an old portage to Andek Lake used to exist.

Baskatong Lake 2
Looking back toward Baskatong Lake from a short ways up the old Andek Lake portage. This portage is no longer maintained and becomes impassable a short ways past this location. You can see the old tread just to the right of the center of your view running through the marsh grass. Some water (mini creek) now runs down the old path.

Begin paddling from the location of the old portage to Andek Lake. From there, follow Baskatong Lake shoreline in a clockwise direction. Head up the long channel that juts out of the northeast part of the lake. From the mouth of that channel, continue paddling until reaching the campsite on the eastern shoreline of the lake.

Baskatong Lake 3
View from Baskatong Lake's campsite along the east shoreline. Looking off to the northwest.

A short paddle from the campsite to the Square Lake portage which is located on the south end of Baskatong Lake.

Baskatong Lake 4
Baskatong Lake from the Square Lake portage landing.

Route Connections for Baskatong Lake

From Baskatong Lake, you can portage to Square Lake. There used to be a difficult 32s rod portage from Baskatong Lake to Andek Lake (which is now in the Fungus Lake Primitive Management Area). The first 15 to 20 rods of this portage are still visible, as well as the canoe landing for this portage. However the rest of this portage would require a Herculean bushwhacking effort to make it across (or even find).

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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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