Thelma Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Missing Link Lake #51 Fishing: Northern Pike (visible observation)
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #7 Lake Depth: 29 feet
Fire History:
Lake Size: 67 acres
Campsites: None Wildlife Seen on Visit: Loons
Last Visited: July 23, 2016 Lake Elevation: About 1707 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

To Thelma Creek: Walk the 30 rod portage

Thelma Lake

Gunflint Ranger District

This is a fair sized lake accessible from Tuscarora Lake by paddling up a small creek and than portaging over a short but rugged portage. The portage is marked as 30 rods, but is probably more like 15 rods. It will feel like 30 rods though, because the portage is under utilized and overgrown, There was some treefall too. This is a highly recommended side trip if you are camping on Tuscarora Lake and are looking to do a little exploration of the area. There are no campsites on Thelma Lake.

Thelma Lake is fed by a slow moving stream that flows into the lakes southwest corner. This creek originates to the south by Fungus Lake which is in the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area. At least part of this creek is navigable (so maybe explore it a bit?). This may be a possible route to that remote lake (Fungus Lake), but surely not easy or to be done on a whim.

Thelma Lake definitely contains fish as they were seen during the visit to this lake. The Minnesota DNR does not have survey data for this lake on their website. (Thelma) Creek has no natural blockages sufficient to prevent fish from moving between Thelma Lake and Tuscarora Lake that were notable during visit. Tuscarora Lake has northern pike. Thelma Lake is too shallow though to support lake trout.

Besides the fishing, this lake is worth a visit for its scenery and (most likely) solitude. Several islands dot the lake. The lake also has a jagged shoreline with a number of high cliffs and rock outcrops. For whatever reason, there were a lot of loons on this lake too. The lake is large enough that exploring all its nooks and crannies could easily take up the good part of a day.

Exploring Thelma Lake

Routes to locations on Thelma Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Thelma Creek portage, make a loop of the shoreline of Thelma Lake

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Thelma Lake 1
The little bay where Thelma Creek exits Thelma Lake. The portage to Thelma Creek is right behind you. The creek leaves the lake just to your right out of view. It takes a bit of effort to just get your canoe in the water and then to navigate out of this bay, because of fallen trees and submerged boulders.

Thelma Lake 2
Paddling to the south from the small bay where the portage to Thelma Creek is found, you soon come to this cliff on the right and get a better view of the large island to the left. To your right is the lakes west shoreline. From this vantage point, you are looking toward the south.

Thelma Lake 3
This is the southwest corner of Thelma Lake. In the middle of your view is the mouth of the creek that flows into this lake from Fungus Lake. Fungus Lake is about 1.1 miles from your current location. This creek is easily navigable for about the first one-fifth of a mile. Fungus Lake is in the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area.

After getting through the minefield of submerged boulders and logs by the portage, paddle south from the Thelma Creek portage along the lakes west shoreline. Continue this course until you reach the mouth of a creek in the southwest corner of the lake. This creek comes from Fungus Lake and is unofficially referred to as (Fungus) Creek. From there, continue paddling east along the southern shoreline of Thelma Lake, to the southeastern bay of the lake. After a short foray into the bay, turn back to the north and paddle up the channel between the lakes largest island and the eastern shoreline. When you reach the north end of the island, turn west and travel along the north shoreline. Eventually you get back to where you started, which is at the portage that leads to Thelma Creek.

Thelma Lake 4
The small island near the mouth of the creek that flows into the southwest corner of the lake. This is the smallest of the three islands on the lake.

Thelma Lake 5
A look to the north from behind the small island (on the right) which is in the southwest corner of the lake. To the left of center, in the distance, is the bay where the portage back to Thelma Creek is found.

Thelma Lake 6
This observation is from just south of the largest island on the lake. Looking south down the western shoreline of the lake. A loon is visible just slightly left of center.

Thelma Lake 7
Your view is to the south. You are looking through the channel found on the east side of the lakes largest island. To your right is the northern tip of this big island.

Thelma Lake 8
Looking west from the north side of the large island on the east side of the lake. That cliff face on the far right of your view is on the point that is due northeast of the north end of the largest island.
Portage to Thelma Creek -or- Explore Another Route
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Route Connections for Thelma Lake

From Thelma Lake, you can portage to Thelma Creek. You could potentially bushwhack to Fungus Lake in the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area via the small creek that flows into the southwest corner of the lake. This would be a very difficult undertaking.

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PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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