Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma 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: 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: Moose signs along portages, 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/PORTAGES FROM THE KAWISHIWI RIVER (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake):
To Lake Polly to Koma Lake: Walk the 127 rod portage, then a 48 rod portage and finally a 19 rod portage along the Kawishiwi River
To Koma Lake to Lake Polly: Walk the 19 rod portage, then a 48 rod portage and finally a 127 rod portage along the Kawishiwi River

Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake)

Tofte Ranger District

This section of the Kawishiwi River between Lake Polly and Koma Lake contains three portages and several short pools that must be paddled across. The portages allow passage around some stretches of fast water and rapids. The portages are well worn and easily traveled through this area. This area, with your travel always staying close to the river, is quite scenic.

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

Moose signs were seen along both the 19 rod and 48 rod portages during the last visit here. No moose were seen though.

Just before entering Koma Lake after the 127 rod portage, there may be a beaver dam that will require a quick liftover.

Past Lake Polly, the number of other paddlers you are likely to see drops substantially. Long portages have a tendency to diminish the crowds.

Traveling the Kawishiwi River between Lake Polly and Koma Lake (downstream)

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Kawishiwi River 1
From Lake Polly, you land your canoe on this nice gravel beach to begin the short 19 rod portage into the Kawishiwi River.



Flat portage that has seen the tread of countless boots.


Kawishiwi River 2
At the end of the 19 rod portage, you are once again back on the Kawishiwi River.



Brief paddle from the downstream end of the 19 rod portage to the upstream end of the 48 rod portage. The 48 rod portage is the middle of the three portages between Lake Polly and Koma Lake.


Kawishiwi River 3
The start of the 48 rod portage. You are looking in the downstream direction here, as if you were heading in the direction of Koma Lake.



Another flat portage. This is the middle portage along this stretch of the Kawishiwi River between Lake Polly and Koma Lake.


Kawishiwi River 4
There are definitely moose in this area. A 'pile of pellets' near the middle of the 48 rod portage.


Kawishiwi River 5
After traversing the 48 rod portage, you now look out over another pool of flat water. The 127 rod portage lies across the stretch of river before you.



Paddling from the 48 rod portage downstream to the 127 rod portage.


Kawishiwi River 6
Start of the 127 rod portage. Last portage heading downstream before the final stretch to Koma Lake.



This is the longest of the three portages between Koma Lake and Lake Polly. It is just as flat as the other two shorter portages. There is a muddy spot or two along this portage. Most folks are getting rather tired of portaging at this point.


Kawishiwi River 7
View from the north end of the 127 rod portage. Just flat water ahead, no more portages for a while. Around the bend in the distance is where the Kawishiwi River flows into Koma Lake. There may be a beaver dam that requires a liftover, just as you enter Koma Lake. A bald eagle soars over the river in the distance (just left of center).



Final stretch of river before reaching Koma Lake. Late evening and the spring frogs are starting to ramp it up.

Route Connections for Kawishiwi River (between Lake Polly and Koma Lake)

From this section of the Kawishiwi River, you can paddle/portage into Koma Lake or Lake Polly.

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