Jackfish Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Mudro Lake #23 Fishing: There are reports of northern pike in this lake
Maps: Fisher F-17, McKenzie #11 Lake Depth: 18 feet; MN DNR Lake Map
Bushwhack Rating: Lake Size: 224 acres
Campsites: Two Wildlife Seen on Visit:
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1290 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Fire History: 1894 and 1822

Jackfish Lake

Have not yet visited this Primitive Management Area lake. The information displayed on this page are notes used for planning a future trip to this area. Use the information on this page at your own risk.

Tick Lake PMA

This is the largest of the lakes that are included in the BWCA Primitive Management Areas. At 224 acres, it is about 43 acres larger than Raven Lake in the Mugwump Lake Primitive Management Area and the only PMA lake exceeding 200 acres in size. To see a list of all PMA lakes sorted by area in acres, check out this page.

Two bushwhacks and a crossing of Wabosons Lake separate Jackfish Lake from Crooked Lake. However, neither of these bushwhacks are reported to be terribly difficult because they receive a fair amount of traffic keeping them open. Jackfish Lake has a reputation of being quite scenic too. Because of its accessibility, Jackfish Lake could make a nice daytrip destination for paddlers camped out on nearby Crooked Lake.

Jackfish Lake is confirmed to have northern pike in its waters. Jackfish is another name used to refer to the northern pike (Esox lucius). Esox lucius is Latin for the "water wolf". The northern "pike" is named for its shape resembling the weapon known as the pike, which was used in medieval times.

Jackfish Lake is where those with a love of bushwhacking would probably begin the approach to Section Sixteen Lake to the south.

The tiny lake just to the south of Jackfish Lake is known as Beavercut Lake on some old maps of this area.

A trail (possibly a winter trail) used to run from the east end of Moosecamp Lake, up past Tick Lake and Webfoot Lake and then northward to pass between Jackfish Lake and Maingan Lake in the marsh. From there, the trail continued almost straight north to reach the south end of Thursday Bay on Crooked Lake.

The fire history of this area includes the 1894 Chad Lake/Cummings Lake/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex. This was one of two large fires that affected the western part of what is now known as the BWCA during that year.

Another fire affected this area way back in 1822. This burn is known as the Hook Lake/Hegman Lake/Crooked Lake complex.

Approach to Jackfish Lake

Jackfish Lake is usually approached from the north through Wabosons Lake by those coming in from Crooked Lake. Jackfish Lake is also accessible, with far more difficulty, coming from the west through Maingan Lake.

Bushwhack to Jackfish Lake

Coming from Wabonsons Lake, Jackfish Lake is only a short 20 rod portage. Yes, a portage. This used to be a maintained portage and it gets enough use still that it is quite easy to follow and travel over.

If you are coming from Maingan Lake, the bushwhack is along a small creek flowing out of the east end of Maingan Lake through a peat bog. This little creek flows east into the western most extent of Jackfish Lake. During times of high water, this creek probably can be floated in the canoe for a good portion of the way. No matter the water level, sections of this 80 rod long creek will require some bushwhacking.

Exploring Jackfish Lake

Jackfish Lake had two campsites that used to be maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. It is fairly easy to access from Crooked Lake, so the lake sees visitors semi-regularly; it is not a guarantee that you'll be the only paddlers here. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has surveyed this lake and provides a map showing the lakes depth contours (see link on this page). Three islands on the lake, but none of the campsites were located on them before. The lake is known to contain a good population of northern pike. Two creeks flowing into the south shore of the lake offer some temptation to seek a route out to Section Sixteen Lake. Bushwhackers would have to explore them to decide which one was the easiest route south towards Section Sixteen Lake. Stringing together several ponds and creeks make reaching that lake a reasonable proposition; at least to unreasonable folks who think bushwhacking is reasonable. Huh?

Finally, there are two benchmarks established by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on this lake near the campsite on the east shore. Both of these benchmarks were placed in trees (instead of embedded in rocks), so that is probably why they put two near each other on the same lake. As noted on the MN DNR lake map (see above), one of these benchmarks is a one foot spike in a "D.B.H" Jack Pine, 12 feet from the waters edge, at the campsite on the east side of the lake. "D.B.H. stands for "Diameter at Breast Height" and is a standard method of expressing the diameter of a standing tree trunk. You can read all about it here. At the time this benchmark was placed, the water survey elevation (W.S.E.) was 5 feet below the spike used for the benchmark. The second benchmark is also a spike in a 10 inch "D.B.H." jack pine, six feet from the waters edge near the east shore campsite. The water survey elevation (W.S.E.) was 3 feet below this benchmark spike.

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
Circle Lake Maingan Lake Sash Lake Tick Lake
Gypo Lake No-see-um Lake Sauna Lake Wabosons Lake (Rabbit)
Jackfish Lake Pakwene Lake Section Sixteen Lake Webfoot Lake
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