Karl Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 30 rods, to Lower George
  • Portage West, 35 rods, to Long Island
  • Paddle South, into Long Island


  • Fisher F-12, Little Sag, Tuscarora, Temperance Lakes; F-13, No. Gunflint Trail, Gunflint, Bearskin Lakes
  • McKenzie 4, Gunflint Lake; 7, Tuscarora


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


Karl is a small companion lake to the sprawling and much larger Long Island to which it is connected by both a 35 rod portage out of its northwest end and an open channel in the south. About a mile long and just over 100 acres in size, Karl has a maximum depth of 70', though most of the lake is less than 15' deep. Out of the lake's north end, a 30 rod portage connects with Lower George and the Cross Bay Lake route out to the Ham Lake entry. A channel out of the north end opens into small Doe and beyond, to the even smaller Fawn.


Karl supports a single established campsite, in the north end near the portage to Long Island and just opposite the portage north into Lower George. Because of the companion lake's popularity, this site can fill early during peak summer travel times.

Planning Considerations

Karl is connected with the Cross Bay Route, running north from Long Island through Karl, Lower George, Rib, and Cross Bay Lake to the Ham Lake entry. Through its companion lake Long Island, Karl has several additional route options. The Long Island River route to the south provides access to Cherokee and that lake's connections out to Brule and the Temperance River. To the east, the Kiskadinna/Horseshoe route runs east from Long Island through Muskeg, Kiskadinna, Omega, Henson, Pillsbery, and Allen to Horseshoe. To the northeast, the Banadad/Rush route runs up from Long Island through Cave, Ross, Sebeka, Banadad, Rush, Little Rush, and Skipper with terminal connections to the entry points at One Island and Skipper off the Gunflint Trail. Because its companion is both a destination in itself and a hub linking several routes through this region of the BWCAW, it is very popular. If you prefer solitude to crowds, plan on paddling through Karl and Long Island, camping elsewhere.

With all of its established routes, nearby Long Island also provides several bushwhacking opportunities, including the Juniper Lake loop to the west, Finn and Banadad Creeks to the east, and Ferret, Fun, and Ash Lakes to the South. We are especially interested in the creek up to Ash and the short stream which connects it to Jay because from Jay there are established portages south through Cleft, Gunstock, and Cash to Town. Is this an alternate route from Long Island to Cherokee? And while we're at it, does anyone know if Finn Creek is passable all the way up to Finn Lake? Does anyone else even care?


Karl supports populations of Burbot (Lota lota), Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), and White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni).

Notes and Comments

Karl? Karl who? Not a clue.....

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004