Know before you go: 2022 Fishing Opener Status of fee campgrounds, flooding, ice-covered lakes, and snowy roads variable across the forest

Release Date: May 13, 2022

Contact(s): Joanna Gilkeson, Public Affairs Officer


Duluth, Minnesota, May 12, 2022—Minnesota’s fishing opener is almost here and officials on the Superior National Forest would like to remind anglers and other visitors to recreate responsibly and safely, and plan ahead before traveling to the Forest for the weekend.  It is especially important this year as winter conditions linger, especially in the northeastern portion of the Forest. Some Forest roads, particularly on Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts are covered in mud, slush and snow and may prevent travel to certain areas. Flooding near lakes, rivers and of roads is a concern, especially on the Kawishiwi, Lacroix and Laurentian districts.

News Release: Flooded Campground

Fall Lake Campground flooded as of May 12, 2022. USDA Forest Service photo

Check conditions!:  While fishing opener is here, summer temperatures and clear roads are not. Lakes in northern Minnesota remain cold through spring and can be dangerous, and even lethal if exposed for several minutes. Many of our lakes are still partially or completely frozen; some are open on the edges only. Be careful that you do not get stuck on a lake by the wind blowing ice around and blocking you in bays and other areas. Underwater ice chunks in lakes are another hazard for boaters this year, accidents have already occurred. Learn more cold water safety on the Minnesota DNR website.

If you’re interested in particular lakes or roads, please call ahead to the local District Ranger office to inquire about status. Outfitters and guides are also great resources for local conditions.

Find a fishing spot: The Forest boasts hundreds of lakes and 77 boat accesses. Motorized and non-motorized boating opportunities are available. As a rule, areas listed under motorized boating are lakes or campgrounds with a drive down boat ramp for launching a trailered boat. McDougal boat ramp is open (however the campground is not). These lakes can also be accessed by non-motorized boats; more information can be found on our website, water activities. For general fishing outlooks by region see the Minnesota DNR fishing outlook 2022 (PDF).

Campgrounds:  Campgrounds on the Kawishiwi, LaCroix and Laurentian Districts are open. Most campgrounds on the Torte and Gunflint Districts are closed until May 17, with the following exceptions:

  • Now open - Iron Lake Campground
  • Now open - Trails End Campground is open except for sites 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.  Seagull Lake Nature Trail and the Seagull Lake Canoe Launch are also closed. Boaters/ canoers should plan to put in at Blankenburg Landing
  • Open May 13 - Sawbill Lake, Crescent Lake and Temperance River campgrounds
  • Open May 14 - Flour Lake Campground

Note that water systems in many campgrounds have not been turned on yet. Drinking water will be available later next week. Some outhouses and garbage bins are not available. Please call a Forest district office before your trip for status updates on our campgrounds.

  • Fee campgrounds offer some first come, first served sites and some reservable campsites. Campsites can be reserved at recreation.gov. For a list of amenities at each of these campgrounds, visit our   camping recreation guide (PDF).
  • Rustic campgrounds are free of charge and are first come, first served. They have outhouses, tables and fire rings but no drinking water. Outhouses are open but bring your own toilet paper.
  • Backcountry sites are free of charge and offer a more remote experience while still providing a fire grate and wilderness latrine.  
  • Rustic campgrounds and backcountry sites do not have a garbage service. Please pack your garbage out, and do not bury it or throw it in restrooms/latrines.

Although rustic and backcountry campgrounds are open, they may not be accessible due to road conditions and snow or passable by low clearance vehicles. Alternative  campgrounds can be found on state forests, state parks and county land.

Be bear aware: Bears are out of hibernation and in search of food.  A fed bear is a dead bear! Whether you are on the Forest or in the Wilderness, take all precautions to discourage bears from visiting your site and keep your campsite clean. Here are some bear aware best practices:

  • Dispose of fish remains by traveling at least 200 feet away from campsites, trails, portages and shorelines and pack out live bait.   
  • Never eat or store food in your tent.   
  • Be prepared to securely store your food, toiletries and trash, or anything with a strong or sweet odor in a bear-resistant container, your vehicle or by hanging your food pack.  

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permit holders:

Many lakes remain partially or fully covered in ice and slush. Some BWCAW campgrounds are open but be aware that some campgrounds are still closed, mostly on the east side of the Forest, due to snow and roads being inaccessible due to snow, flooding and mud. BWCAW interior lakes to the north are expected to have ice. Call for conditions before setting out.

Permit holders must pick up permits from the issue station selected when the permit was reserved. Group leaders or alternates must pick up the permit on the day of the trip or one day prior.

Gunflint, Tofte, Kawishiwi and LaCroix Ranger District offices are open seven days a week for BWCAW permit issuance and in-person Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly education. The Laurentian Ranger District and the Supervisor’s Office are operating Monday through Friday only. Please check the Forest website for office hours.

Permit holders need to watch parts 1 and 2 of the BWCAW Leave No Trace video series prior to departing for their trip. To receive credit for watching the videos, click the links in the emails sent to the permit holder to access the videos online (use Chrome to avoid errors). If you have not reviewed parts 1 and 2 before arriving at your issue station, you will need to watch the complete BWCAW Leave no Trace video series before receiving your permit. All permit holders are required to watch part 3 of the video series and review the BWCAW Regulations and Rules at their issue station prior to receiving their permit.;

Thank you for doing your part to help keep the Forest and Wilderness safe, enjoyable, and pristine for all visitors.