Makwa Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northwest, 5 rods, to Birl
  • Portage North, 100 rods to Hoe
  • Portage Northeast, 45 rods, to Elton
  • Portage South, 65 rods, to pond, 90 rods to Panhandle


  • Fisher F-12, Little Sag, Tuscarora, Temperance Lakes
  • McKenzie 8, Knife, Kekekabic Lake


  • DNR Lake No. 380147
  • Lake Map No. C2273
  • Lake Table No. 8C
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Makwa Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Makwa is a deep, moderate-size lake on the northeastern edge of the Boulder/Kawishiwi Loop, 12¾ miles SSW of Gunflint Trail's End and 36¼ miles ENE of Ely. Over a mile long and up to a quarter mile across, it covers 143 acres and is almost 75' deep. At its northeast end portages lead northwest 100 rods to Hoe, and northeast 60 rods to Elton. From Makwa's southern shore, a 65 rod portage, followed by a pond and then another 90 rod carry, leads to Panhandle and beyond to the Kawishiwi River. To the west lies the backcountry of the Humpback Lake Primitive Management Area. Most of the surrounding forest dates back to the great fire of 1875 which burned north beyond Ogishkemuncie, and west nearly to Kekekabic.


Makwa has three designated campsites, all on the northern shore.

Planning Considerations

Makwa is a link in a chain of lakes running from Little Saganaga south and west to the Kawishiwi River, a chain which is itself a part of the great loop of interior lakes arching up from Makwa over to Boulder, and then back southward through Beaver to return to the slow moving Kawishiwi.


Makwa supports average populations of Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and Burbot (Lota lota), above average populations of White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and below average populations of Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) and Northern (Esox lucius), according to DNR surveys.

Notes and Comments

The name is derived from the Ojibwe makwâ, "bear".

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004