Square Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake #37 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Northern Pike, Walleye, Rock Bass
Maps: Fisher F-5; McKenzie #20 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 7 feet
Fire History: 2011, 1875 and 1863-64
Lake Size: 135 acres
Campsites: 2 (2 visited) Wildlife Seen on Visit: Snapping Turtle, Bald Eagle, Canadian Geese (hundreds), huge American Toad
Last Visited: May 31, 2021;
Previous Visit(s): May 25, 2015
Lake Elevation: 1642 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR ROUTES/PORTAGES FROM SQUARE LAKE:
To Baskatong Lake: Walk the 69 rod portage
To Kawishiwi River: Walk the 20 rod portage
To Kawishiwi River (between Kawishiwi Lake and Square Lake): Paddle In

Square Lake

Tofte Ranger District

SQUARE LAKE CAMPSITES:
Campsite 1 (#1014): East most campsite on the south shore of lake.
Campsite 2 (#1015): West most campsite on the south shore of lake.

Square Lake is the next lake stop along the Kawishiwi River route after you its headwaters at Kawishiwi Lake. It takes an average group about an hour and a half to paddle from Entry Point 37 - Kawishiwi Lake to Square Lake.

Square Lake is at the boundary of the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire. You enter the burned zone just before the Kawishiwi River flows into Square Lake. Here, only some of the forest is scorched. When you enter Square Lake, you can see much better the affects of the gigantic fire. Only the south and southeast shorelines of Square Lake escaped the forest fire. The lakes two campsites are along the south shore and are mostly intact having been right on the edge of the fire line.

The northwest corner of Square Lake has the portage leading out to Baskatong Lake. Baskatong is now a dead end lake. However, at one time Baskatong Lake supported a long and difficult portage to the west out to Andek Lake and from there along Maniwaki Creek to Hope Lake. Briar Lake lies a bit west of the long north arm of Baskatong Lake and there isn't a reasonably passable route to this lake from here.

The Kawishiwi River enters the southeast corner of Square Lake and exits out the northeast corner. There is a 20 rod portage from the northeast corner of Square Lake back into the Kawishiwi River. However, if you go left of the portage, you can avoid portaging by lifting over a beaver dam and then paddling through. The portage is probably easiest, whatever you decide.

Exploring Square Lake

Routes to locations on Square Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Kawishiwi River to BWCA Campsite 1015 on south end of lake
Paddling from BWCA Campsite 1015 on south end of lake to the Baskatong Lake portage
Paddling from the Baskatong Lake portage to the Kawishiwi River portage
Paddling from the Kawishiwi River portage to the Kawishiwi River (upstream)
Paddling from the Kawishiwi River to the Kawishiwi River portage (downstream)

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 KAWISHIWI RIVER TO BWCA CAMPSITE 1015 ON SOUTH END OF LAKE

Square Lake 1
From your canoe you look out at Square Lake at the location where the Kawishiwi River flows in. This is the only area of Square Lake where the forest hasn't been burned by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire (May 25, 2015).


Square Lake 8
View from Campsite 1014, which is the eastern most of the two campsites located along the south shore of this lake. View is toward the northwest.



Paddling Square Lake from the Kawishiwi River (where it flows into the lake), along the south shoreline until reaching the western most campsite on the lake. This is BWCA Campsite 1015. Also make a short stop along the way at Square Lakes other campsite, BWCA Campsite 1014.


Square Lake 9
Square Lake as seen from Campsite 1015. This campsite is on the south end of the lake.
Visit the Campsite -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM BWCA CAMPSITE 1015 ON SOUTH END OF LAKE TO THE BASKATONG LAKE PORTAGE


Paddling clockwise around the perimeter of Square Lake from BWCA Campsite 1015 to the Baskatong Lake portage. The portage to Baskatong Lake is a little hard to find, but this is helped by the placement of a metal bar planted into the ground that is easily visible from the water.


Square Lake 10
Looking east across Square Lake from the Baskatong Lake portage.
Portage to Baskatong Lake -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM THE BASKATONG LAKE PORTAGE TO THE KAWISHIWI RIVER PORTAGE

Square Lake 2
The northeastern shoreline of Square Lake.


Square Lake 3
A good-sized snapping turtle basking on a rock in the northeast bay of the lake.



Continuing the clockwise paddle around Square Lake. This stretch is from the Baskatong Lake portage to the 20 rod Kawishiwi River portage.


Square Lake 4
Close up of the "snapper". This snapping turtle probably weighed around 30 pounds.


Square Lake 5
Effects of the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire along the shore of Square Lake. This is in the northeast bay of Square Lake where the Kawishiwi River flows out.


Square Lake 6
Paddling close to shore, see up close how the fire burned out this forest growing in this boggy lowland along the northeast shoreline of the lake.
Portage to the Kawishiwi River -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM THE KAWISHIWI RIVER PORTAGE TO THE KAWISHIWI RIVER (UPSTREAM)


A brief paddle through Square Lake along the Kawishiwi River route.
Paddle into the Kawishiwi River (coming soon) -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************


PADDLING FROM THE KAWISHIWI RIVER TO THE KAWISHIWI RIVER PORTAGE (DOWNSTREAM)


Paddling from the point where the Kawishiwi River flows into Square Lake, over to the northeast bay of the lake. This is where you'll find the 20 rod portage from Square Lake to the Kawishiwi River.


Square Lake 12
Looking out on the northeastern bay of Square Lake. You stand at the start of the 20 rod portage that takes you back into the Kawishiwi River (heading downstream) (May 31, 2021).

Square Lake 7
Similar to view above, but several years earlier (May 25, 2015).
Portage to the Kawishiwi River -or- Explore Another Route
***********************************************END OF ROUTE***********************************************

Route Connections for Square Lake

From Square Lake, you can paddle or portage into the Kawishiwi River (which flows through Square Lake) or portage to Baskatong Lake.

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