Lake Polly
» Display Polly Lake Map
» Display scrollable USGS Topo Map of Polly Lake
» Show Simple Polly Lake Map
Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake #37 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Northern Pike, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Rock Bass, Pumpkinseed Sunfish
Maps: Fisher F-5; McKenzie #20 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 21 feet
Fire History: 2011, 1875 and 1863-64
Lake Size: 541 acres
Campsites: 9 Wildlife Seen on Visit: Loons, Bald Eagle, Seagulls, Ducks
Last Visited: May 25, 2015 Lake Elevation: 1587 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

To Phoebe River: Walk the 97 rod portage
To Townline Lake: Walk the 95 rod portage
To Koma Lake: Walk the 19 rod portage, then the 48 rod portage and the 127 rod portage along Kawishiwi River

Lake Polly

Tofte Ranger District

None visited yet.

Lake Polly, which is the western most of the "Lady Chain of Lakes" gets it's name from one of Ed Mulligan's female family members (probably a sister). Ed was a U.S. Forest Service ranger in the 1930's (Hansen, 2007). The rest of the lakes in the "Lady Chain" were also named after his family members.

Only the very south end of Lake Polly was affected by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire. The lake is quite pretty and has many islands, particularly in the north end of the lake. The lake is popular with campers.

Lake Polly is not known for great fishing. It does hold walleye, northern pike and some smallmouth bass though.

This lake is on a busy north/south route between the Kawishiwi Lake Entry Point and Malberg Lake. Another route does become available at Lake Polly. This route heads to the east along the Phoebe River out towards Phoebe Lake. The route begins with a 97 rod portage from the south end of the east bay of Lake Polly into a navigable section of the Phoebe River. You can make a large loop following the Phoebe River eastward and taking the Louse River back to the west to Malberg Lake and then south to Polly Lake. This loop extends eastward to Alton Lake and up to Wine Lake. The loop will take you through some beautiful and remote parts of the BWCA.

The Kawishiwi River enters Lake Polly in the south end of the long western arm. The Phoebe River pours into the south end of the eastern bay. The water from both these rivers is then forced north through the Kawishiwi River flowing towards Malberg Lake. Note that the Kawishiwi River is not navigable from Kawasachong Lake to Lake Polly. You must take the two portages from Kawasachong Lake to Townline Lake to Polly Lake.

There was a large timber blowdown near Polly Lake in 1949. This blowdown was partially used to justify logging in this area by the Tomahawk Timber Company. The area toward the south of Lake Polly was already facing extensive logging as a result of the Tomahawk Timber Sale of 1945 (Heinselman, 1999).

Beymer, Robert, Boundary Waters Canoe Area – Volume 2 – Eastern Region (Berkeley: Wilderness Press, 2006), 47, 50, 52, 55, 63, 71, 140, 150.
Hansen, Mary Alice, Sawbill: History and Tales (Tofte: Sawbill Press, 2007), 36.
Heinselman, Miron, The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 116, 200, 279.
Pauly, Daniel, Exploring the Boundary Waters (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 236, 238, 239, 247.

Exploring Lake Polly

Routes to locations on Polly Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Townline Lake portage to the Kawishiwi River portage

Click on the photos below to see the full resolution image - Use your browsers back button to close photo and return to this page.


Polly Lake 2
After coming across the 95 rod portage from Townline Lake, this is your first view of Lake Polly. Here you are looking due north.

Polly Lake 1
Peering at the southwest shoreline in the very south end of Lake Polly near the portage leading back to Townline Lake. This is one of the few areas of the lake affected by the 2011 Pagami Creek Fire.

Paddling north across Lake Polly starting at the Townline Lake portage. It is a calm evening under a hazy sky as you pull up to the Kawishiwi River portage on the north side of Polly Lake.

Polly Lake 3
The islands and channel in the north end of Lake Polly near where the Kawishiwi River leaves the lake.

Route Connections for Lake Polly

From Lake Polly, you can portage to the Kawishiwi River (toward Koma Lake), Phoebe River, or Townline Lake.

Return to Top of Page

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
- - All Rights Reserved.
All images, videos and text property of - No reuse without permission.