Buck Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northeast, 480 rods, to Cummings
  • Portage Southeast, 80 rods, to Western
  • Portage Northwest, 250 rods, to Chad


  • Fisher F-8, Vermilion, Trout Lake, Vermilion River, Bootleg Lake; F-9, Cummings, Big Moose, Fourtown Lakes
  • McKenzie No. 15, Trout Lake; No. 16, Burntside Lake


Buck Lake
Scale 1:42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square


Buck is a moderate size, relatively shallow lake at the head of Buck Creek in the Trout Lake basin, 24½ miles southeast of Crane Lake and 16½ miles WNW of Ely. Long and narrow in form, with a SW/NE orientation and a bit of a dogleg, Buck stretches for some 2¼ miles, covering 228 acres to a maximum depth of 19'. All but 5 acres of the lake are in the shallow, littoral zone, with a depth of less than 15'. Water clarity has been measured at 6'. From the lake's southwestern end, Buck Creek begins its 2½ miles of westward meandering to Pine Lake.

Of Buck's three portages, that to Western is easily the shortest, an up-and-over carry to the southeast off the bend in the lake. It gains 55' in elevation above Buck before cresting the ridge and dropping back 24' to the northwestern shore of Western. In the Buck's southern end, a 250 rod portage cuts north and west, through a gap in the steep hills of the shoreline, in an up-and-over carry into Chad. The Chad portage climbs 58' above the shores of Buck, then levels off for the crossing of a stretch of boggy ground, gradually descending to the Chad shore. The Cummings portage, at 480 rods (1½ miles) is the most demanding of the three. The trail heads northeast out of the end of Buck, in a series of climbs over low hills intermixed with crossings of boggy westlands, eventually arriving at the southwestern arm of Cummings.

The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 hit Buck with less fury than other areas, the damage at the lake limited to a blowdown along the southern shore at the bend of the dogleg. All three portages into the lake pass through blowdowns. In the trackless region beyond Buck to the northwest the damage is heavier, with the estimate of loss at 68% to 100% of standing timber.


Buck supports one established campsite, along its southeastern shore opposite the Chad portage.

Planning Considerations

Buck is an important junction for this region, connecting the route west to Trout with the Cummings area to the northeast and with the route southeast to Crab, passing as it does, through Western, Glenmore, Schlamn, Lunetta, and Little Crab.

Buck is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 2, 3, 4, and 12.


Buck supports populations of Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), 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