Exploration of Trout Lake
and its neighbors
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- #1 Trout Lake
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
A great option for capable canoeists, this route takes you in to the big waters of Trout Lake, where there is ample opportunity to explore and 35 designated campsites. There are multiple side trips into one of the five neighboring lakes just one or two portages away. Trout Lake is one of the few lakes remaining in the Boundary Waters to permit motors, so be aware. Due to the large waves and stretches of open water, this route is not a good choice for inexperienced paddlers.
Detailed Route Info
Paddle from the Lake Vermillion landing up to Trout Lake and across an easy 42 rod portage at the end of the narrow bay north of Pine Island.
Trout Lake is a big and feisty Boundary Waters jewel, with bays, peninsulas, and islands that all beg to be explored. You can also wet a line for walleye or northern pike, and, of course, lake trout. If you want more, consider one of the following short excursions out of Trout Lake:
Little Trout Lake and Gowan Lake – A journey northeast up to Little Trout Lake then to Gowan Lake is accessible by a small creek that requires little more than a short pull over in dry conditions. If you head up to Gowan you will have to take a seldom-used 275 rod portage. Gowan has a maximum depth of 13 feet but does contain walleye and northern pike. A single campsite is located on the south shore.
Merritt Lake – If you find Trout Lake to be a bit too busy for your liking, a journey over to Merritt Lake is a good remedy. The 185-rod portage is not heavily used, so it is prone to being a bit overgrown Merritt is a uniformly shallow lake, with its greatest depth being just 8 feet.
Oriniack Lake – An excellent excursion out of Trout Lake takes you up over a 190 rod portage to Oriniack Lake, which has four campsites along its shore. This area is not heavily traveled and provides nice solitude. The lake is shallow, with a maximum depth of 17 feet in the northeast corner. Northern pike and walleye are both present.
*Route information provided courtesy of Dan Pauly, and have been modified from his book, Exploring the Boundary Waters: A Trip Planner and Guide to the BWCAW. University of Minnesota Press, 2004
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