Tornado Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Lake One Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey
Maps: Fisher F-4, F-5, F-11; McKenzie #19, #20 Lake Depth: 7 feet; MN DNR Lake Map
Bushwhack Rating: Lake Size: 25 acres; MN DNR Lake Map
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit: Never visited
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1515 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 2011 and 1863-64

Tornado Lake

Fungus Lake PMA

A dead end lake accessible by a fairly long paddle and bushwhack up a creek from Lake Insula. The entire route is through an area scorched by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire.

There used to be a logging road that came right up to the south shore of Tornado Lake. This information comes from the Minnesota DNR Lake Map. This map was copyrighted in 1983 and is based on aerial photographs from 1961. Perhaps some exploration of this area could turn up remnants of this old road.

An old Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fish survey indicates that Tornado Lake contains northern pike. Doubt that they have seen many lures since this survey, so maybe you can fool them easily.

This area was scorched by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire that burned much of the southwestern part of the BWCA and was the largest fire in recorded history at about 100,000 acres (almost 10% of the entire BWCA).

There was a large fire in this area around 1863-1864. This fire is known as the North Kawishiwi River/Alice Lake/Cypress Lake/Saganaga Lake Complex. This burn began south of the current BWCAW's southern boundary near the town of Isabella, Minnesota.

Approach to Tornado Lake

From Lake Insula, head upstream towards the south along an unnamed creek.

Bushwhack to Tornado Lake

A small stream gives you a good navigation reference. The stream from Tornado Lake to Lake Insula is a tad under a mile in length. About a quarter mile into this bushwhack, you will reach a good sized pond. Up to this point, the creek appears to be quite wide and passable. The unnamed creek from Tornado Lake enters the southeast side of this pond. Enter the creek again. From this point on, the creek is less friendly to intrepid paddlers. The stream quickly narrows after you leave the pond and you will likely be carrying your canoe most of the rest of the way. Continue along the creek as it continues south through a couple of large peat bogs. The creek widens again when you get close to Tornado Lake.

Exploring Tornado Lake

Tornado Lake has no established campsites, but it must have been visited at least semi-frequently in the past. This hypothesis is founded on the fact that an old logging road provided access to Tornado Lakes south shore. Also, the Minnesota DNR has completed fish surveys and mapping for this small lake. There are two islands in the lake, but neither escaped the wrath of the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire. The lake contains northern pike. Several small creeks flow into the lake from various compass directions, but none of them lead anywhere.

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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