Smoke Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Sawbill Lake #38 Fishing: Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #21 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 20 feet
Fire History:
Lake Size: 158 acres
Campsites: 4 (2 visited);
Campsite 1, Campsite 2
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Beaver, Various Ducks, Loons
Last Visited: May 21, 2020;
Previous Visit(s): May 27, 2016
Lake Elevation: 1788 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

ROUTES/PORTAGES FROM SMOKE LAKE:
To Burnt Lake: Walk the 90 rod portage
To Sawbill Lake: Walk the 100 rod portage

Smoke Lake

Tofte Ranger District

SMOKE LAKE CAMPSITES:
Campsite 1: Campsite in the northeast corner of lake behind the island
Campsite 2: Southern most campsite on the east shoreline

Smoke Lake is one of the three lakes east of Sawbill Lake with a name related to fire. These are the "fire" lakes.

Smoke Lake is a relatively shallow lake bordered by marsh along good stretches of its shoreline.

Since it is the first lake off of Sawbill Lake and very close to the entry point for this area, the four campsites on Smoke Lake can fill up quick. Burnt Lake over the next portage can be similarly busy. Beyond Burnt Lake, you must traverse a long portage of 230 rods to reach Kelly Lake. Therefore, find a campsite early if you don't plan on going further this day.

Smoke Lake has no tributaries other than runoff from the surrounding land. Much of the area around Smoke Lake is boggy and low. The water from Smoke Lake flows out the northern tip of the lake through a slow moving creek. This creek flows for about a mile through lowland to the north before emptying into Sawbill Lake. If you are up for a little exploration, try paddling this creek to Sawbill Lake from Smoke Lake. It is flat water and the creek only loses a single foot of elevation over a mile on its way to Sawbill Lake. There are probably a few beaver dams to hurdle and muck and other obstructions to navigate.

Exploring Smoke Lake

Routes to locations on Smoke Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Burnt Lake portage to the Sawbill Lake portage
Paddling from the Sawbill Lake portage to the to the lakes northeast campsite behind the island
Paddling from Campsite in northeast part of lake behind island to Campsite in middle of east shoreline
Paddling from Campsite in middle of east shoreline to the Burnt Lake portage

Click on the photos below to see the full resolution image - Use your browsers back button to close photo and return to this page.

PADDLING FROM THE BURNT LAKE PORTAGE TO THE SAWBILL LAKE PORTAGE

Smoke Lake 1
Smoke Lake near sunset during a light rain not far from the Burnt Lake portage. Looking off to the northwest.



Smoke Lake map1A clear sunny day with a bit of a breeze blowing. The voyage begins from the Burnt Lake portage and follows the south shoreline. As you round the point to the west, strike out across the lake to the northwest until reaching the northwest shoreline, just west of the campsite on the point. Follow the marshy shoreline to the west until arriving at the Smoke Lake portage (May 2020).


(Older video footage following roughly the same paddling route as above.) As evening quickly approaches and the rain moves out of the area, you paddle from the Burnt Lake portage over to the Sawbill Lake portage. This portage begins at the end of a wooden dock built out into the marsh (May 2016).


Smoke Lake 2
Peat bog shoreline which is found along much of Smoke Lake, especially the western bay (May 2016).


Smoke Lake 3
Almost the same view as above, but about four years later (May 2020).


Smoke Lake 4
View of Smoke Lake from the portage landing for Sawbill Lake. There is a wooden boardwalk structure that extends out into Smoke Lake through the peat bog. You are currently standing on it. Note the peat bog just left of center which is right at the end of the boardwalk at your feet. Don't be tempted to take a step onto it, as it is floating peat bog and may not support you.
Portage to Sawbill Lake -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM THE SAWBILL LAKE PORTAGE TO THE LAKES NORTHEAST CAMPSITE BEHIND THE ISLAND

Smoke Lake 7
Nearing the point on the west side of the lake as you come out of the southwest bay. That point has a campsite on it. The west shore of the lake has a lot of low lying marsh terrain.



A small island about midway up the west shoreline. View is toward the south.



Smoke Lake map2After leaving the dock at the Sawbill Lake portage, paddle along the north shoreline and around the point, past the campsite that is located there. Head up into the north end of the lake, staying near the west shoreline. Meander around a few of the islands at the north end of the lake and then turn southward. You paddle until you reach the south end of the largest island in the lake. Finally, make an abrupt turn to the north and head for the campsite located in this part of the lake. Probably the best campsite on the lake.
Visit the Campsite -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM LAKES NORTHEAST CAMPSITE BEHIND ISLAND TO CAMPSITE IN MIDDLE OF EAST SHORELINE

Smoke Lake 6
Coming up to the campsite on the east shoreline. The peninsula of rock makes it easy to find.



Starting at the campsite behind the island in the northeast part of the lake, paddle further down the east shoreline to another campsite.
Visit the Campsite -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM CAMPSITE IN MIDDLE OF EASTERN SHORELINE TO THE BURNT LAKE PORTAGE


Smoke Lake map3Pull away from the nice landing this campsite provides and head south and then southeast to the Burnt Lake portage. The portage offers a decent landing too.

Portage to Burnt Lake -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************

Route Connections for Smoke Lake

From Smoke Lake, you can portage to Burnt Lake or Sawbill Lake.

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