Bootleg Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 60 rods, down the Little Pony
  • Portage West, 200 rods, to the Little Indian Sioux


  • Fisher F-8, Vermilion, Trout Lake, Vermilion River, Bootleg Lake
  • McKenzie No. 15, Trout Lake


  • DNR Lake No. 690452
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 1
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality
Bootleg Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Bootleg is a moderate sized, relatively shallow lake at the head of the Little Pony River in the Little Indian Sioux drainage, 20 miles SSE of Crane Lake and 19¼ miles northwest of Ely. Set among high hills that rise as much as 100' or more above the lakeshore and impound the water in the shape of a boot, Bootleg's 340 acres have a maximum depth of 26', with a measured water clarity of 9'. At the far southern end of the lake is the mouth of Triumph Creek, down from Triumph Lake, while at the far northern end, a rapid marks the origins of the Little Pony River, which leaves Bootleg on a northerly heading for the Little Indian Sioux, some 3 miles downstream.

The forests surrounding Bootleg burned in the big Civil War Era fires of 1863-64; those along the eastern shore burned again in the fire of 1910. The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 did little serious damage at Bootleg..


Bootleg supports two established campsites, one at boot-top and one above the instep.

Planning Considerations

Bootleg, while not on the Little Indian Sioux, has the only established campsites along the 24 miles of that river, from the Echo Trail upstream to its origins at Otter Lake. Fortunately, the Forest Service takes this situation into account in the issuing of entry permits, limiting the Little Indian Sioux South entry point #9 to one permit every other day.

Bootleg is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 13 and 27.


Bootleg supports populations of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Hybrid Sunfish (Lepomis sp.), Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments


Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004