Trip Length: 6-8 Days
Permit Required: RABC permit and Boundary Point entry permit
Calling all adventure seekers. Those of you that are experienced in the wilderness and want a bit of a challenge, this is the trip for you. But you better be able to commit 6 days or more to the trip, because this will take you a bit longer. If this sounds like you, read on and see what you’ll encounter on this route.
Just like most other Quetico trips through Seagull Outfitters, you’ll want to utilize our head start tow launch to Hook Island, continue to the Ranger Station in Cache Bay and get your paperwork taken care of and then continue toward Silver Falls. After you come across the Silver Falls portage and enter into Saganagons Lake, you will start paddling northeast. Your first night’s campsite will most likely be one of the many islands toward the north central section of the lake before you head up into some of the more remote areas of the Park.
Your second day you will want to start north to the portage around some rapids that lead into Bitchu Lake. From Bitchu you will want to look toward the northwest part of the lake where the portage into Ross is located. To take it easier on yourself, paddle the creek that is west of the portage. You will be able to paddle the majority of the creek before having to portage the last 30 rods or so into Ross Lake. Once in Ross your next portage will be the longest one of the trip, so strap your boots up and make your way to Cullen Lake via the mile long portage that is well cleared, but just a bit hilly.
Cullen can be your camp for the night if you wish, or you can press on to Mack Lake where the fishing is some of the best in the entire park. If you stay in Cullen, note that there is a great population of lake trout that inhabit these waters. The portage to Mack Lake is on the western most part of the lake and will be a breeze compared to your previous one.
Mack harbors some of the best trophy walleye, bass and pike fishing in the area. If you’re a fisherman, you may want to plan a little extra time here, maybe even a layover day to jig and troll the shorelines, rock piles and reefs on the north central and northeastern part of this lake. The weed bed on the far northeastern part of the lake is productive in the spring when the walleyes are still shallow. Keep that in mind if you’re coming through this way during the early part of the season.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the fishing in Mack your route out of the lake is via Mack Creek on the north central part of the lake. The creek is narrow and will take some time, but once you get to the Wawiag River, things open up a bit more. You will be paddling with the current as you head west toward Kawa Bay. There is only one campsite on the Wawiag, so either plan to camp near the rapids by one of the portages at that campsite, or plan to make it a longer day and push for Kawa Bay where your selection will increase.
Kawa Bay is the eastern most bay of Kawnipi Lake, one of the best walleye fisheries in the Quetico Park. Plan for a walleye dinner this night as even the most amateur of fisherman stand a great chance at hooking into one of these north woods treasures. Like most other lakes, look for the narrows, rocky points and reefs to focus your fishing pressure. There are numerous campsites on this large lake; you will have your pick.
As you travel southeast down the lake you will approach the area known as the falls chain. The first falls you will come to is Kennebas Falls. Use caution as you approach the portages in this area as all of the water is flowing north and you will be paddling into the current, so do pay attention to the current and where the water is flowing. This is a beautiful area without question, but it can be dangerous if not taken seriously.
Kenny Lake is your next destination that leads to Canyon Falls among others. Before you’re out of the falls area, you will have portaged around seven or eight waterfalls depending on the water level. The area was burned by a lightning fire in 1995, but is growing back nicely. The fishing is also superb because of the rapids and running water. Fish are drawn to such places, and this is no exception. Walleye, bass and northern are very common as you pass through.
Once you’ve made it through the falls you find yourself back in Saganagons Lake and you’ll start to recognize the area again after you portage the 70 rod carry known as the Dead Man’s Portage. Your last portage will be the same as your first portage of the trip, Silver Falls.
The itinerary for this trip will vary depending on the group and what their focus is. This is a great option for fisherman as well as those looking to get into some remote country and take photos or see some true wilderness scenery. The trip can be completed in 6 days if you’re moving every day, but it might be more comfortable if you allow for 7 or 8 days.