Canthook Lake Primitive Management Area
Canthook Lake PMA Map BWCA
Nearest Entry Point: Burntside Lake or Big Lake Number of Lakes in this PMA: 6;
Number of Creeks/Rivers in this PMA: 2
Maps: Fisher F-8, F-9, McKenzie #15, #16 Number of Lakes Visited in this PMA: 0;
Number of Creeks/Rivers Visited in this PMA: 0
Last Visited: Never Number of Zones in PMA: 3

Canthook Lake Primitive Management Area

A difficult PMA to visit. Beginning in Cummings Lake, there is a maintained portage up to Neewin Lake (which is not in the Canthook Lake PMA). From Neewin Lake though, travel becomes very difficult. Assuming you are up for the hearty bushwhack, you can head northwest to Niswi Lake which is about 380 rods away. There used to be a maintained portage from the north shore of the west bay of Neewin Lake to Niswi Lake, but this looks like it would be hard to follow now based on satellite images. The 1999 Independence Day Windstorm heavily impacted this area. If you can reach Niswi Lake, getting to Neesh Lake should be easy since there is a navigable creek connecting the two. Neesh Lake and Bezhik Lake, the next lake to the north on this route, are connected by what appears to be a moderately canoeable creek. There are a few bushwhacks required along its length to keep you honest. Bezhik Creek, flowing out of the southwest corner of Bezhik Lake, could take you even deeper into this PMA and much of this creek looks modestly easy to travel along. Bezhik Creek flows north up toward Serenade Lake and eventually the Echo Trail.

These four lakes (Bezhik Lake, Neesh Lake, Niswi Lake and Neewin Lake) make up the Ojibwe numbered lakes chain (one, two, three and four). They are a bit more challenging than better known Lake One, Lake Two, Lake Three and Lake Four chain.

Triumph Lake and Van Vac Lake are accessible from Bootleg Lake by following Triumph Creek. Going by satellite images, much of this creek looks navigable. Once reaching Triumph Lake (a triumph in itself), a 65 rod bushwhack will also net you Van Vac Lake, which lies to the south of Triumph Lake. How you would get to Canthook Lake is anybody's guess; perhaps from the northeast end of Triumph Lake.

Pauly, Daniel, Exploring the Boundary Waters (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 77.

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
Bezhik Creek Canthook Lake Niswi Lake Triumph Lake
Bezhik Lake Neesh Lake Triumph Creek Van Vac Lake
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