We have a July 15 entry permit for Agnes Lake (Quetico)via Prairie Portage (7 day loop). Fishing Kawnipi is our ultimate goal but are debating whether to run Agnes straight up or to reach Kawnipi via Louisa, Glacier and McEwen. Can anyone provide input regarding the relative merits of the two options? What is the condition and/or difficulty of portages along L-G-Mc route? Is wind a major factor on Agnes L.? If it matters- we are experienced paddlers of Boundary Waters and Wabikimi, ages 20 - 50, first time to Quetico. Portaging is not a problem per se, but would rather battle difficult fish than difficult geography. Thanks in advance for your help.
I have been to Kawnipi, but not by those routes, we went by Kashapiwi. However from all I've read, I would get to Kawnipi by the most direct route is a long way from Prairie Portage, and if you want fishing and layover days, I'd take the most direct way!
Last year we took a similar rout.
Prarie Portage to the far end of Louisa on day one.
The portage to Louisa... is eather not where we went, or very difficult (up the falls). On Louisa we ate lakers for dinner.
From there we headed through Arp-noname-Star-Fauquir-Dumas-Rod-Fidge-noname-Turu-Glacier-McEwen and fished for smallies and pike. The fishing was occasionally fantastic! McEwen has one of the nicest campsites I've ever been too. McEwen treated us to another laketrout dinner.
Then we headed the falls chain into Kawnipi. Didn't do too much fishing till we were setting up camp on Kawnipi. That is a fantastic Walleye lake.
More info? See my trip report for last year on this site for day's 1 through 3.
Hey hexnymph - did you use artificial lure and spoons or did you bring in live bait? I have been to Louisa before but I was pretty young. I remember staying at the first big island campsite you come to from the south. It had steps built into the ground from the beach upto the campsite. I was told it was an old float plane landing. It was really a nice site. I would like to go there next year with my son. Thanks in advance.
Lousia-Glacier-McEwen to Kawnipi is a wonderful trip that I have done many times. I have had great fishing (Rod Lake is a best-kept secret, good campsite, but the only one, and I have caught smallie after smallie there on occasion) and have not run into a lot of people. Portaging is easily managed and the paddling is relaxed. Glacier is beautiful and even the fire-burned area at McEwan is a lovely sight when you think of how wonderful fire is for a forest ecosystem.
Going up Agnes is also a wonderful trip. Yes, wind can be a factor, but you will just have to time your travel accordingly as wind can be worse in the afternoon (but can also start out in the morning). [As a side note, if wind is bad on Agnes, you can almost bet it'll be bad on McEwen as well!] I was there in mid-August when it was still burning, so I can't comment on aesthetics in the lower part of the lake (left shore) but the northern part of Agnes has been really terrific for lake trout in past years. There are many, many campsites in and around the points and islands in the north-east part of the lake that are unmarked and deep trolling to the east of the island chain there is nice fishing. I've had dinners entirely of trout thanks to Agnes. Travel to Kawnipi is easily accomplished from here, even for the novice paddler, and you even get the chance to see some pictographs along the way. Just be warned that island camping on Kawnipi, like everywhere, is not bear-free. I've seen the fellows swimming from shore :)