Bibon Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Stuart River #19 Fishing: Fish finder detected lots of fish; Numerous otters in the lake
Maps: Fisher F-16, F-17; McKenzie #11, #12 Lake Depth: At least 22 feet measured by fish finder
Bushwhack Rating: From Nibin Lake: Piece of Cake; From Sterling Lake: Unknown Lake Size: 27 acres
Campsites: PMA - No designated campsites Wildlife Seen on Visit: Half dozen otters, Loons
Last Visited: September 6, 2014 Lake Elevation: 1295 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1904, 1894, 1875, 1864 and 1822

Bibon Lake

Sundial Lake PMA

Bibon is one of several PMA lakes with a name taken from the Ojibwe language. Bibon means "winter". Bibon Lake is a mostly hard bottomed, consisting of rock and sand. Some vegetation is present in the shallow shoreline areas. There were several otters and loons visiting the lake and the fish finder was picking up quite a few fish, so there is likely something worth dropping a line for. Fish were also visible in the shallows.

While Bibon is outshone by its neighbor to the east (Sterling Lake), it is a fine little lake nonetheless. There are several good places to put up a tent along its shoreline. The north shore of the lake is rocky with cliffs rising up back into the woods.

If you are heading to Sterling Lake from Bibon Lake, the eastern end of the lake has a large rocky shelf. This is where the bushwhack to Sterling Lake begins. There is usually a cairn of rocks piled up here to help identify the spot. The 148 rod portage/bushwhack to Sterling Lake is difficult as it climbs over a hill (Beymer, 2006).

In 1904, the Mule Lake/Stuart Lake/Bibon Lake/Stuart River Complex fire, a relatively small burn, scorched a small part of this area which is now part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The known fires in this region were the 1894 blaze(s) (possibly two of them) that are known as the Oriniack/Sioux River/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake Complex and the Chad/Cummings/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake Complex. In 1875 the Mule Creek/Sterling Lake/Sunday Lake/Crooked Lake Complex burned much of the area. Eleven years prior to that, in 1864, the Little Indian Sioux River/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake Complex charred this area. The oldest fire known to have affected the area occurred in 1822 and is referred to as the Hook Lake/Hegman Lake/Crooked Lake Complex. A more recent fire in 1996 burned about 4,750 acres of the Sundial Lake Primitive Management Area (Beymer, 2006).

Beymer, Robert, Boundary Waters Canoe Area – Volume 1 – Western Region (Berkeley: Wilderness Press, 2006), 121, 124, 145.

Pauly, Daniel, Exploring the Boundary Waters (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 125, 139.

What is a Primitive Management Area (PMA)?

Approach to Bibon Lake

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The approach to Bibon Lake from the west is through Nibin Lake via a short creek that is usually passable as long as there hasn't been a drought. In 2014 there was a very old beaver dam blocking the creek that was a simple liftover. From the east, Bibon Lake is accessed by a fairly long bushwhack along a faint portage trail from Sterling Lake that was once maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. The bushwhack from Sterling Lake is about 150 rods.

Bibon Lake 11
This is the start of the creek that leads from Nibin Lake to Bibon Lake.

Bushwhack to Bibon Lake

Paddling through small creek connecting Bibon Lake and Nibin Lake. A small beaver dam may neccessitate getting out of the canoe.

Exploring Bibon Lake

Routes to locations on Bibon Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Nibin Lake bushwhack to the Sterling Lake bushwhack
Paddling from the Sterling Lake bushwhack to the Nibin Lake bushwhack


Bibon Lake 1
This is the view that will greet you as you exit the small creek from Nibin Lake. You are looking east at Bibon Lakes south shoreline.

Bibon Lake 2
Bibon Lake looking east from near the creek to Nibin Lake.

Bibon Lake. Beginning from the small creek that leads back to Nibin Lake, paddle along the south shoreline. A group of three otters is momentarily visible around the 2:10 mark of the video. Reach the rock shelf which is the location of the starting point of the bushwhack to Sterling Lake.

Bibon Lake 3
The view of Bibon from the east end of the lake, at the location you can find the bushwhack trail leading to Sterling Lake. This rocky shelf is what you are looking for to locate the bushwhack starting point.

Bibon Lake 4
Large boulders on a rock ledge on the eastern end of Bibon Lake.

Bibon Lake 5
A split in the rock ledge creates this interesting crevass feature.


Bibon Lake 6
Rock cairn marking the location of the beginning of the bushwhack to Sterling Lake (just left of the center of your view). If you were coming from Sterling Lake, this is generally the first view you would see of Bibon Lake.

Continuation of the counterclockwise paddle around Bibon Lake. From the Sterling Lake bushwhack, paddle toward the west along the north shore. Evetually you arrive back at the entrance to the small creek that leads to Nibin Lake.

Bibon Lake 7
There are some rock ledges along the north shoreline of Bibon Lake.

Bibon Lake 8
North shore near the west end of Bibon Lake. Looking towards the east. This spot would make a reasonable campsite.

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
Beartrap River Contest Lake Sinneeg Creek Sterling Lake
Bibon Lake Nibin Lake Sinneeg Lake Sunday Lake
Bunggee Creek Parley Lake Spring Creek Sundial Lake
Bunggee Lake Ritual Lake Sterling Creek White Feather Lake
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