Cross Bay to Poplar PinThis Boundary Waters canoe route is a moderately difficult loop that can be done in either direction. Expect to see beautiful scenery and few people as you travel through this isolated area. Start at Cross Bay lake landing just down our driveway and travel through the interior of the BWCAW.  Tuscarora can provide your group shuttle service to or from the Poplar Lake area for an additional fee.

US Forest Service entry permit needed (route can be done in either direction): #50 Cross Bay Lake – or – #47 Lizz & Swamp Lakes

Maps for this route –

  • Fisher Maps – F12 & F13
  • McKenzie Maps – 7 & 4 & 2 – or – T1

(Route lines are an approximation and should not be used for navigation.)

This route starts at the Cross Bay Lake entry point just 300 yards up our driveway on the Cross Creek

  • Portage 50 rods into a small lake
  • Portage 40 rods into Ham Lake– a great lake to fish for walleye on and hang out with 4 campsites
  • Portage 24 rods into Cross Bay Lake – this portage has been moved and is often wrong on maps. Be sure to stop in the office so we can mark it correctly on your map. Cross Bay Lake is typically home to at least one moose every year. It has two campsites it is a great lake to stop and fish for walleye, northern, and bass.
  • Portage 56 rods into Rib Lake– one campsite
  • Portage 37 rods into Lower George Lake
  • Portage 28 rods into Karl Lake – one campsite
  • Paddle or portage into Long Island Lake– with 15 campsites, this beautiful destination lake is a wonderful place to spend some time. It is home to lake trout and northern pike. Fishing can be challenging but the swimming is great!
  • Portage 20 rods into Muskeg Lake – 1 campsite
  • Portage 185 rods into Kiskadinna Lake – 2 campsites
  • Portage 35 rods into Omega Lake – 4 campsites
  • Portage 20 rods into Henson Lake – 5 campsites
  • Portage 80 rods into Gaskin Lake – 10 campsites
  • Portage 102 rods into Horseshoe Lake – 7 campsites
  • Portage 20 rods into Caribou Lake – 8 campsites
  • Portage 73 rods into Lizz Lake
  • Portage 51 rods into Poplar Lake – paddle across to Poplar Haus where we can pick up your group (shuttle fees may apply)

You extend this route by turning sour at Long Island lake.

  • Portage 5 rods into Long Island River
  • Portage 28 rods into Gordon Lake – two campsites
  • Portage 13 rods into Cherokee Lake – a large destination lake with 19 campsites
  • Portage 140 rods into Sitka Lake
  • Portage 105 rods into North Temperance Lake – 3 campsites
  • Portage 55 rods into South Temperance Lake – 4 campsites
  • Portage 10 rods into Brule Lake – a large lake with 30 campsites
  • Portage 30 rods into South Cone Lake – 1 campsite
  • Portage 25 rods into Middle Cone Lake – 1 campsite
  • Portage 5 rods into North Cone Lake
  • Portage 160 rods into Cliff Lake
  • Portage 14 rods into Wanihigan Lake
  • Portage 14 rods into Winchell Lake– 12 campsites on this long and windy lake which usually prevails from the northwest
  • Portage 44 rods into Omega Lake -or- portage 60 rods into Gaskin Lake and rejoin route 2 to end at Poplar Lake

Fishing on the Cross Bay to Poplar Canoe Route

Lake Fish Species Maximum Depth Notes
Ham Burbot, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye 40 ft  
Cross Bay Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye 10 ft  
Karl Burbot, Lake Trout, Northern Pike 70 ft  
Long Island Burbot, Lake Trout, Northern Pike 85 ft  
Kiskadinna Northern Pike 40 ft  
Henson Northern Pike 40 ft  
Gaskin Burbot, Lake Whitefish, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye 82 ft  
Horseshoe Northern pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye 26 ft  
Caribou Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye 26 ft  
Lizz Brook Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye 30 ft Designated trout lake

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