Posted on

Ice Out!

4/17/24 – It’s official, the ice is out on Sawbill Lake! Some persistent ice remains in front of the canoe landing, but from our vantage point more than 90% of the lake is now open water.  Lakes and ponds along the Grade are open as well, including Baker and Crescent. Brule is usually one of the last in the area to go out, so my guess is it will need a few more days before it’s ice free.  Also of note; many of the gravel roads are still quite soft, so proceed with caution as major rutting has been seen on access roads such as the Kawishiwi Lake Road, Baker Lake Road, and Brule Lake Road.

View from the landing around 5:30pm.

We aren’t open quite yet, but are happy to rent canoes by appointment if you’re itching to get out on the water (just give us a call to set something up). This time of year conditions can turn miserable and dangerous quickly, so it’s worth checking the forecast before making the trek up. Here’s a link to the National Weather Services 7-day forecast for Sawbill Lake, which we’ve found to be the most reliable for our area. -Jessica

Posted on

Evening Ice Update

4/16/24 – Todays howling wind has pushed the remaining ice to our side of the lake and open water is increasing by the hour. With rain in the forecast tonight, my bet is we’ll be able to call “ice out” in the morning. Only time will tell…stay tuned! -Jessica

Mostly open water on the other side of Mouse Island as of 6pm.
Some of the very dark floating ice seems to be slush.
Another view point. Can you spot the lost fishing lure?

Posted on

Status Update

4/15/24 – The majority of the lake is still covered in ice, but it doesn’t look long for this world with new pockets of open water starting to reveal themselves away from the shoreline. -Jessica

Obligatory landing photo.
Posted on

Singin’ in the Rain

4/13/24 – Yesterdays wind and this evenings rain continues to do a number on the ice. Dan braved the lake this afternoon, with support crew at the ready, and measured 9 inches of ice. Also of note; rumor has it Kawishiwi Lake is ice free as far as can be seen from the landing.


Sound up for rain drops and happy robins.
Picture taken just before sunset this evening.
Posted on

Ice Update from the Landing

4/12/24 – This morning I headed down to lake with auger and measuring stick in hand. Upon reaching the landing I noticed a human sized hole in the ice not far from shore…I stayed put on dry ground.

The ice hasn’t broken away from shore yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens sometime next week.

For more condition updates head over to our Instagram page. -Jessica

Posted on

USFS Seeks Public Input

4/7/24 – Recently, the USDA Forest Service has indicated that they are looking into updating the management plan for the BWCA Wilderness. Understanding the world of federal agencies and how it affects the public lands we all love is something people spend their whole careers attempting to navigate. It’s a complex world of bureaucracy and we frequently hear confusion about Parks vs Wilderness, DNR vs USFS, National Forest campgrounds vs State Park campgrounds. However, we know that Sawbill customers have a wealth of experience and knowledge about the history and use of the BWCA. We value your opinions and know that there is immense value in sharing that input with the Forest Service.

The Forest Service is charged with managing the Superior National Forest. To do so, they operate under a Forest Plan. Within the Superior National Forest is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Similarly, within the Forest Plan is a management direction for the BWCA Wilderness. The mechanism for updating this management plan is to implement a Forest Plan Amendment, focusing on the BWCA Wilderness management. The last time this was updated was around 30 years ago.

Here is the letter to the public released by the Forest Service:

Here is the link to more information from the letter above:

There will be two open houses – an in person event on Thursday April 11th from 4:30 – 7pm at Superior National Forest Headquarters at 8901 Grand Ave Place in Duluth. A virtual open house will be held on April 18th from 4-6 pm. Send us an email at if you’re interested in attending virtually and we can send you the meeting link.

We will keep you posted as the process carries on. We look forward to chatting with you about your thoughts and ideas when you visit us this summer!


Posted on

Ice Check

4/3/24 – Progress toward ice out has come to a screeching halt as of late. This afternoon the dogs and I ventured out onto the windswept lake to see what was what. We found a very solid 13 inches of ice with about 7 inches of snow on top of that. -Jessica

Ice and snow measurement taken around 2:30pm.
Chile double checking my work.
Posted on

Proper Snow at Last

3/26/24 – How fitting that the first real snowstorm of the “winter” comes after the spring equinox. So far we’ve received 10 inches of snow from this storm, and it’s still coming down. -Jessica

Sawbill Lake as seen from the canoe landing around 1:30pm today.
Posted on

Cold Snap

3/22/24 – Temperatures have remained below freezing this past week with a few lows dipping down to single digits and one morning briefly below zero. The lake has firmed up nicely and back to being quite slick with the sun working it’s Zamboni magic once again. No slushy top inch like we were seeing last week. Even with the cool temps, it seems we lost a little ice since our last report with four test holes revealing 11-1/2 to 13-1/2 inches. -Jessica